Title : The Flame
Author : Skylar Jaye
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY IT HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary, Fantasy
Length : 162 pages (e-book)
Published : July 3, 2013
Despite the stigma against magiks other than the four elemental types, Jeremy Ashe works hard toward a degree in runic studies, navigating his way through family disproval and school clique politics while trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. What he never figured on is The Flame, Samuin College’s fire mage prodigy, Marcus Smith. Sparks strike and threaten to raze Jeremy’s plans to the ground. When strange fires begin to burn all over campus, clues point to Marcus. Suddenly life isn’t just complicated, it’s dangerous.
Jeremy Ashe just wants to study his runes. Runic magik isn’t exactly the most respected. Elemental magik is where it’s at. Jeremy’s roommate, Aidan, is majoring in fire magik at Samuin College. He asks Jeremy to turn a paper in for him with his TA, Marcus Smith. Marcus is a magikal prodigy and gorgeous. Okay, that he’s gorgeous has nothing to do with his magik and being around a powerful fire mage isn’t really what Jeremy wants for himself given his somewhat contentious relationship with his family that is comprised mainly of some of the most powerful fire magi in the country. Marcus, however, has decided he wants Jeremy and finally convinces him to go out on a date. Jeremy has a lot of reservations about dating Marcus, he’s popular and well known, he’s even earned the nickname The Flame. Jeremy wanted to be his own person, not known for his famous family nor his famous boyfriend. He finds himself the victim of pranks and even the target of a crazy wind user. Spending time with Marcus makes everything worth it and Jeremy suddenly begins to fear the biggest threat from his relationship is going to be a broken heart at the end of the school year when Marcus is graduated and Jeremy has to return for two more years of schooling.
While Jeremy and Marcus have slowly been falling in love with each other there have been a series of arsons on the campus of Samuin College. Thankfully there has only been property damage. Jeremy and Marcus must navigate their personal relationship drama as their friends narrowly escape burning dormitories. One such personal drama is a direct result of Jeremy’s misunderstanding and low self-esteem. He has a really hard time believing The Flame would be at all interested in a nobody. The kicker is the whole time he’s hiding his own family history from Marcus. After another particularly vicious fire that almost kills Jeremy’s roommate, Aidan, Marcus is arrested on suspicion of being the arsonist. Jeremy wastes no time in going to all the people from whom he expects the least help to not only save his boyfriend but protect the campus and the students from the real arsonist.
There is a great sense of fate controlling our lives despite our wishes in this story. It’s almost Grecian. Jeremy does his best to run from powerful fire magi only to run into the arms of one. In addition to that Jeremy learned a lot about his family history. We were given a look at what Jeremy’s life could have been under different situations. Despite great family pressure Jeremy was allowed to study as he chose. Not everyone from his clan was so lucky.
There was some interesting social commentary in this book. Jeremy was running from his family name and prestige. He was desperate to make his own way. Marcus was from a non-magikal family trying to make a name for himself in the magikal world. Each had what the other wanted yet didn’t want for themselves. There was also prejudice against non-elemental magik users, as though those who perform a necessary function for society could be deemed less worthy than those that performed a more glamorous function. All in all it made for interesting and original world building.
Rated 3.5 stars by Faye