The Shackles That Hold Us (The Magi Accounts 2) by Michele Notaro | Book Review

As if crushin’ on a shifter wasn’t bad enough, I had to go and date one.

A mage and a shifter walk into a bar… No, that’s the whole joke.

Magi and shifters don’t mix, and yet I find myself in a relationship with Cosmo, a lion shifter. And on top of that, Cosmo, and all his pride members, consider my brothers and me to be a part of their pride. Three magi in a shifter pride. Who would’ve ever thought?

Navigating our connection while trying to figure out what’s going on in the world isn’t easy. Trusting that Cosmo means forever when he says it? Even harder. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since meeting the Ono-Nais, it’s that taking a risk with my heart will be worth it to be a part of their lives.

The Shackles That Hold Us is a 113K novel and the second book in the MM urban fantasy series, The Magi Accounts. It’s recommended to read the series in order because it has an ongoing storyline. The first book in the series is The Scars That Bind Us.

How was it?

This book series started off heavy, The Scars That Bind Us introduced us to this world and its brutal history in the treatment of Magi and to a lesser extent Shifters. Madeo and Cosmo’s relationship came as a soothing balm in that book, and A Kiss to Revive Me gave Cosmo his due while pushing to story forward.

I was waiting for the story to go deeper into the bond Cos and Madeo share, hoping for some cool side effects other than “I can feel his emotions,” which I like but it’s not unheard of, and this book kind of does that. A trend seems to be forming with these books, it may have been talked about I don’t know but it looks like the books are heavily focused on Madeo’s pov and the novella on Cosmo’s. The following novella A Date to Impress Him: The Magi Accounts 2.5 follows that trend.

However, in this book Cosmo melted my heart. Whenever I think that he doesn’t understand the level of oppression and struggle that Madeo always had to deal with, Cos surprises me with how much effort he puts in to make Madeo, Jude, and Logan feel included. That sets the tone for the whole book for me, it’s a bit sappy and borderline cheesy but it works. Every time the angst, that often goes hand in hand with a sappy love story, was approaching my limit the author dials it back enough to make it bearable for me. It also helps that the darkness that permeates the story counterbalances these moments providing a varied emotional ride. If there’s one thing that’s missing is a little more action, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of action in this book but it is often cut with run-of-the-mill scenes that sometimes are jarring and feel misplaced.

The overarching plot in the series gets more and more interesting and it can get frustrating that it seems to be moving at an almost glacial pace but I’m along for the ride.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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