Author: Terra Laurent
Length: Novella (83pgs)
Publisher: Siren-BookStrand Publishing (13th July 2012)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Ian Sheldon has come to Whitehaven Hall to undergo the trial that will initiate him into the brutal world of mage adepts, where slaughter is the reward for weakness and power alike. Ian knows the reality of the ranks he seeks to enter—his father was murdered by another mage.
Aodh Graeme is a surly but sensuously handsome demon with fiery hair and copper eyes—and a violent need for blood. Aodh is Ian’s servant and guide for the trials, magically bound to Ian for the duration of his test. This bond flows their magic between them, heightening the fierce attraction Ian already feels for the laconic demon. But, the alternate reality hosting the trials shows Ian his intimidating guide may not be trustworthy.
As Ian progresses towards the lurid horizon that houses his ultimate goal, he must decide if he will surrender to Aodh’s sensual pull—and possibly become the next victim of the mages.
Purchase Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/trial-by-fire
Review: Ian has to undergo a trial to prove himself worthy of being a mage adept. His assigned guide is a red cap demon called Aodh and they have a perilous journey before them. However, Ian has another motive for going through with the trial and he might have found an unexpected ally in Aodh. But, first they must come out of the trial alive and Ian fights his attraction to Aodh when he is shown that Aodh just might turn on him.
An interesting premise of how strict the magical world is with only the strongest being allowed to become mage adepts/sorcerers, well as long as they aren’t too strong. This is a well written story that gives us some background on the magic users and how they are treated by those who have stronger magic. Ian has to complete the trial well enough to become a sorcerer, but not so enough that he could be seen as a threat. Either way the threat of death lingers over him. Aodh has no choice but to help Ian during the trial, but Ian surprises him and gives him a glimmer of hope. Now, they just have to get past Taylent (sorcerer in charge of the trial).
I will be honest and say that we don’t see that much of a romance; it is more of a passionate coming together and trust built during the trial and putting their lives in each other’s hands. It happens over a very short amount of time, but it does feel longer with everything that they deal with during the trial. The descriptions that we get from the pocket of space that the trial is held in are very impressive and kinda icky. I was impressed with the twist that emerged during the trial and I really liked Ian’s attitude regarding the current set up of the sorcerer’s ranks.
We don’t get to know that much about Aodh, which I thought was a shame, but he seems to suit Ian well when he realizes that Ian isn’t like the others that have come before him. The sex between them is very hot, but it isn’t sweet and gentle, it is very passionate and intense. The epilogue was cool and I really hope that we will get a sequel.
So, I recommend this to those who love magic, shaking up a system, revenge, vengeance, a hot demon and a hot mage and a happy ending (when they aren’t battling other sorcerer’s).