Title: In This Iron Ground
Series: Natural Magic 01
Author: Marina Vivancos
Length: Novel (322pgs)
Publisher: Marina Vivancos (September 3, 2018)
Heat Level: Low – Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.75 Hearts
Blurb: Damien is nine years old when his parents die. What should have been the worst moment of his life begins a journey shadowed by loneliness and pain. The night of a full moon, four years and seven foster homes later, Damien flees to the forest, desperate to escape everything.
Instead, he finds the Salgado pack, and the earth beneath his feet shifts. Damien has seen the Salgado children in his school: Koko, who is in his class, and Hakan, two years older and infinitely unreachable. Damien is suddenly introduced into a world that had only ever existed in his imagination, where there is magic in the forest and the moon. He meets creatures that look like monsters, but Damien knows that monsters have the same face as anybody else.
Over the years, Damien and Hakan grow closer. First, just as friends and foster brothers in the Salgado house, and then into something heated and breathless when Damien joins Hakan at college. Despite what he may yearn for in the darkest part of the night, Damien knows, deep down in that bruised and mealy part of his core, that he’s not good enough to be part of the Salgado family, their pack. He’s not worthy of calling Hakan his home.
Even though he knows in the end it’ll hurt him, he’ll hold onto this for as long as he can.
CONTENT WARNING: This book contains themes of emotional and (nonsexual) physical child abuse and the subsequent emotional, cognitive, and behavioural impacts.
This story contains sexually explicit scenes between consenting adults and is meant for an adult audience.
Review: This is a story about a young man overcoming abuse and other issues due to the way he has been treated. I loved how Damien blossomed under the care of the Salgado pack after he runs away to the forest. I was happy he seemed to be accepted and learned that yes he is someone.
Hakan for his part was confused by his feelings and it showed when the two young men did not get together until near the end of the book. At times there seemed to be a poetry to the writing by the author which threw me a little as I’m not into poetry myself. But it seemed to work for the story.
I loved that there was no real pack dynamic like in most shifter stories. There was no ‘well you’re an omega so you are at the bottom of the pack’. Everyone was treated equally to an extent. It made me happy that Damien flourished and grew in his new surroundings.