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Reclamation

Pillars of Magic: Dominion Chapter

by Lissa Kasey

Reclamation - Lissa Kasey - Pillars of Magic: Dominion Chapter
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition
Pages: 208
Paperback: $ 12.99
ISBN: 978-1512376456
Size: 5.25 x 8.00 in
Pages: 206

Trauma can make or break a witch.

Skyrocketed to infamy, Seiran is having a hard time finding his footing in his new role among the Dominion. His goal is to graduate college, and find a menial job to please his mother and to keep him out of the spotlight.

Except being the only male with powerful magic has put a target on his back. His days are filled with constant hate mail, harassing messages, and even physical attacks. Gabe is the only one who can provide him solace in a storm of rising insanity.

Finding himself betrayed and manipulated by a voice from the past, Seiran is once again faced with a life or death choice; either destroy everything he loves, or give himself up to a madman.

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Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

The cold crackled through the forest like glass shattering, rendering all else silent in the dark. The trees stretched skyward, their barren branches a testament of their will to survive even the most brutal temperatures. Everything else hid away seeking safety.

Find shelter. Get warm.

My paws froze and stung, turning numb from the bitter chill. Even my heavy coat couldn’t keep the cold from freezing me to the core. I staggered but kept running. The forest had changed. It was not the sanctuary I’d bonded with these past few years. Gone was the soft embrace I’d come to crave and the gentle, welcoming touch of Mother Earth’s power.

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Yet I kept moving with no direction to my flight. Just an onward movement that meant distance. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t outrun the past or the pain.

Confusing memories from a different life swirled inside my head. Bloody flashes and the expression on his face—betrayal?— refused to let the earth steal humanity from me. I wanted to lose myself in the animal and forget that I’d ever been human.

Find shelter. Get warm, the voice in my head persisted.

His heart had stopped beating under my hands. Blood had heated my skin and stained me with something that could never be removed. Breathing had become almost impossible when his eyes had clouded over. His death, my madness.

How many days had I wandered, teetering between this life and the animal nature I sought to alleviate the grief? Every once in a while I could hear the howl of the dogs pursuing me, scent them in the distance as they were ready to rip me limb from limb as penance for my crime. The Dominion, Tri-Mega, the Ascen‐ dance, and probably the humans too, all seeking my death.

I deserved it, having killed everything I loved. I prayed for death. That would stop the pain, right?

Find shelter. Get warm.

A dark farmhouse in the distance beckoned as a possible break from the bitter cold. It was shelter. Might not be warm, but my gut wanted me to obey the voice. Hopefully no one was home else I’d be forced to hurt people again just to escape. I trotted around the house and discovered the scent of humans was old. If any had been there, it had been weeks, maybe even months earlier. I carefully slipped inside and forced myself to shift back to human flesh.

My skin ached like cold fire burning through my extremities. Fur was warmer, the lynx more prepared for the cold, and though this form was bigger, it felt small, compact. Too small to hold everything I had been and keep the pain from leaking through. Emotions rained down like golf-ball-sized hail. There was no stopping the tide this time. A human brain had far too much capacity for thinking, blame, anger, and self-loathing.

I cowered in the corner, curled around myself, crying, freez‐ ing, unable to find the motivation to keep going. My heart ached with accusations of murder.

Get warm. Find food. The voice’s demand changed. Was I hungry? I was still cold, but that was only fair, right? He would be forever cold, alone. I’d hated to leave him.

The farmhouse was silent but mostly clean. The water ran, and the thermostat sat at an even sixty degrees. The fridge was barren, but a heavily loaded stand freezer and well-stocked pantry proved this was more of a vacation home. I pried open the tab on a can of peaches and wolfed the fruit down. My stomach growled like I’d swallowed my lynx instead of just changed shape.

When had I last eaten? Days ago, probably. Without him, none of the mundane things mattered. The thought of him brought a rise of nausea and the memory of his last moments. I shoved the can aside and found my way to the only bathroom, and had to fight my rebelling stomach when it wanted to force up the fruit. I gagged and refused to let go of the food I ate.

You need to eat, the voice in my head told me, but I couldn’t.

A scalding shower washed away some of the dirt but none of the grief. Wet footprints followed me like his ghost had latched on to me as I searched the house for warmth and comfort— neither of which I deserved. A chest in the upper bedroom held flannel shirts that I could wear like an old-style nightdress. They smelled a little musty, but heat was more important. Would the shivering ever stop?

There was a vague memory in the back of my brain that reminded me I’d had the shakes before this. From cold? Did that mean I was always cold?

The reflection in a dusty old mirror was not kind. My hair was shorn close to my scalp, eyes shadowed in deep black hollows with the lack of sleep only days could bring. My weight had dropped, giving me more of a sallow complexion and a gaunt stretch to my face. Gone was the beauty he’d spent years covet‐ ing. He likely would have turned me away now anyway. Better that he was gone, right?

I sobbed. Was this what I’d become? Some kind of fugitive?

Earth Pillar. I laughed bitterly through the tears. That hadn’t changed anything. Love didn’t conquer all. Gabe was dead. Jamie probably was, too, since I’d shot him. If I had any sense of justice at all, I’d pull the rifle out of the closet—I smelled the gunpowder —and off myself right now. Maybe it would lessen the pain, but then, I didn’t really have a right to stop my suffering after what I’d done to them.

My hands shook so hard my fingers were numb. I couldn’t find the strength to reach for the end, despite the tears, the memories, and the loneliness. Rest. Things will be better when you wake. I curled up in the foreign bed and cried myself to sleep, wishing for the chance to just feel his arms around me one more time.

I love you. Sleep.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Kristen on Amazon wrote:

This book was quite a punch of emotion. I felt terrible for Seiran throughout the whole thing. He already had anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD, and the guilt and trauma from what happened at the end of Book 1 only made his mental health even worse. The author did an amazing job of *showing* Seiran's slide into depression and his worsening mental health in his thoughts and actions and feelings. It was heartbreaking to see and feel how much he was struggling. I knew that what Seiran was worried about---that Gabe was going to get tired of him and leave him because of all his mental struggles and because he couldn't have sex---wouldn't actually happen, so the emotion wasn't that I was worried about the relationship, it was simply that I felt for Seiran. It was also awful finding out the backstory about Matthew and what he did to Seiran. It's no wonder Seiran has some issues. It probably sounds terrible to say this was the book in which I finally warmed up to him (I had a hard time liking him in Book 1), but I think it was just that I finally saw him with his shields down and finally got to understand why he acted the way he did in the past.

Gabe, on the other hand, was super perfect again. But, even though I normally like when characters are more realistically flawed, I couldn't help but love Gabe. I want a Gabe in my life. And a Jamie, for that matter. Maybe even a Kelly. Seiran really had some amazing people in his life who cared about him, worried about him, comforted him, supported him, and did their absolute best to help him. So even though there was some downer emotion from the struggles, there was a lot of sweetness in the book too.

Unfortunately, I was frustrated that I still didn't get anything that really showed me why Gabe and Seiran love each other. As I mentioned in my first review, it's clear that they do love each other, but all that was ever shown in Book 1 was Seiran having (or trying to have) sex with Gabe any time he was around him, and in this book it was only ever sex or Gabe comforting Seiran and telling him how much he loved him and how he wouldn't leave. The flashback that explained how Gabe and Seiran met would've been the perfect time to show something more, but even then it was literally just Seiran trying to get in Gabe's pants and Gabe already being protective and perfect and caring, despite having just met. I just wanted to see more of the non-sexual connection between them, something to show their compatibility or to explain why they fell in love in the first place.

As for the plot, it was mostly about Seiran's emotional struggles and how he felt it was impacting his relationship, but I didn't mind or get bored because I love character-driven books. The story did pick around 70% or so though with more actual stuff happening. Terrible stuff, of course, because poor Seiran just can't catch a break.

So overall, despite the relationship issue I had, I enjoyed this book, even more so than the first one. I felt more connected to and invested in the characters, I thought the mental illness aspect was well-written, I really felt for Seiran, and I definitely wanted to continue the series upon finishing!

Rating: 4 Stars

sjmina on Amazon wrote:

As always, the author writes characters that really grab you. I loved the evolution of not only the main characters, but the supporting characters, and the well drawn relationships between them. A great second book and I couldn't wait to read the next one!
Helpful

Inked Rainbow Reviews on Amazon wrote:

**I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review from Inked Rainbow Reads**
4 stars
This book moves much more slowly than the first story. Until the end, there is limited action and all the drama is in Seiran’s head. The first book built Seiran’s world and in the second book Seiran has to learn to live with himself -and his past- in his world.
I like the way Seiran’s relationships are more real in this story. Seiran is no longer a cocky, androgynous playboy. He is needy, withdrawn and pretty difficult to live with. And this is when his relationships prove themselves to be solid and genuine. Readers get to see and understand the love Gabe and Jamie have for Seiran even before Seiran truly understands their commitment to him.
This is Lissa Kasey - her observations of human behaviours, interactions and relationships are as perfect as ever. As always, her characters are intricately drawn. But I missed the action of the first book. I like my heroes to kick butt - and the damaged Seiran in this story needs others to protect him. I like my fantasy to be exciting, and while Matthew haunted Seiran, this was a slow read for me.
I’ve grown too attached to Seiran to let the series go, but I’d like to see Seiran kick some ass in the next installment.
Sarah
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3 stars
I started this book less than an hour after finishing book one in the series and found the beginning easy to pick up and follow. However, within several chapters I found myself rolling my eyes and putting it down to go do other things. The maturing and growth the main character showed in the first book, as small of a step as it was, seemed to have vanished completely and several of the first few chapters seemed to be a rehash of his own self doubting and confusion with minor mentions of plot moving content. The severity of his neurosis was so distracting and over the top that I found it hard to really care what happened to him or the characters around him. I actually spent a good part of the first half of the book wishing he would stop whining like a middle school kid and deal with his issues. While some of the issues dealt with were severe and seemed to need the hangups, I feel the author may have gone a little overboard on his specific issues without giving him any true movement toward overcoming them for too long.

I managed to force my way through the first half of the book and was happy to find the second half much better than the first. Thankfully, some of the hangups were finally dealt with and worked through and progress was made which made him less irritating and made me want to connect with him again. With any luck, these growth points and progressions will hold through the rest of the series and he won't be back-sliding too severely. Thankfully the minor spelling issues and grammatical mistakes found in the first seemed to be dealt with more intently in this book and it flowed better, despite the whining of the main character. If you can push through the rampant self-loathing of the first half of the book, the second half is well worth it. If book three continues the forward progress, I could see recommending this simply to allow for the rest of the series to be read.
~Rhayne


About the Author

Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. Her specialty is in-depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTQA+ spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.