REVIEW: The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe

The Official Description: Hatred is a spell only true love can break.

Ángel Cruz is a dedicated session musician, until loyalty to his estranged family forces him to work for Oberon: the feared and hated envoy from the Otherworld. Overnight, Ángel is taken from his life, his friends, his work, and trapped in a hideous mansion in the middle of nowhere, under constant surveillance, and with only the frightening fae for company.

Oberon’s poor understanding of humans combined with Ángel’s resentment and loneliness threaten to cause real harm to the pair. Then a long winter together in the mansion unites them in their love of music. Slowly, Ángel’s anger thaws, and he begins to realize that Oberon feels alone too.

Gradually, these two souls from different worlds form a connection like none other. But hate and prejudice are powerful things, and it’ll take all the magic of their love to stop the wider world from forcing them apart.

Just the facts: M/M Romance, contemporary, fantasy, story retelling, gay main character, fae main character

My thoughts bit: This was a lovely and interesting re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast”. Let me be clear, it’s not the same plot… Ángel Cruz is a musician who is coerced by his family to enter into a contractual agreement with a being from the Otherworld… nicknamed Oberon. What Oberon wants is company in exchange for excusing Ángel’s father of a crime. He’s a different species, alone and he’s been sent to our world to learn about humans… music in particular. And let’s face it – unless you’re living under a rock – you can imagine how badly that would work out for someone like Oberon.

In true human fashion, there is a lot of resistance and fear regarding Oberon’s presence. Rather than living freely as he did in his own world, he is often confined to his mansion and his every move is governed by his security team. An attempt on his life means that he spends much of his time alone and this is killing him.

I loved the author’s attention to detail regarding the Fae society. Oberon perceives everything quite differently from humans. His language has more in common with music than speech, he is unaccustomed to the concepts of privacy or shame and his face reveals little of his emotions. To Oberon, emotions are something to be absorbed from the Fae around him, almost as though the emotional highs and lows of multiple people would equalize things for everyone. Alone, Oberon has been growing ill and is likely to die. This was a great concept, very original and allows the reader a glimpse into the Otherworld.

While Ángel is human, as his fear of Oberon lessons, he finds himself more willing to attempt to understand the way Oberon feels things. Touch is something that is of vital importance to Oberon, but an initial misunderstanding with the humans he first encountered has left him reluctant to touch Ángel.

This is a character-driven story. Much of the plot unfolds at Oberon’s mansion, but it’s not at all uneventful. The conversations the two engage in are interesting and genuine and I really enjoyed getting to know them. Keefe hasn’t just created two sensual, vibrant characters, but a new language of touch, scent, and emotion. Bravo!

I’ve only read two of Keefe’s books but I would definitely call myself a fan. The depth of emotion and wonderful dialogue make these books very enjoyable.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: homophobia, bigotry (directed at species), cultural insensitivity, a character is tasered, character kidnapped, violence.

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel

I received an ARC of The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe from Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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