Cross posted on Pants Off Reviews
Title: Holly and Oak by J.L. O'Faolain
Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal
Published December 1st 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Length: 28 pages
Rating: 2 Stars
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Twice each year, during the solstice, the Holly King battles the Oak King as Nature takes its course. This year, however, Holly concedes defeat far too easily. Curious about his brother's haste, Oak nags his brother into revealing his secret: a new relationship with a human. While loving a mortal is not taboo, Oak fears his brother's love may run too deep. But despite knowing he risks his heart, Holly is determined to share warmth with his Sergio for as long as the world will allow, if not beyond.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package "Heartwarming".
Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4495
2.5 Stars rounded to 2
Oak and Holly begins their twice a year fight to bring on the changing of the seasons. Nothing has changed between these two brothers, except that Holly seems to be in a rush this year. Later, it's revealed that Holly has a human lover and he hastens to be reunited with him.
I love the world building and discovering how Holly and Oak's relationship withstands the biannual battles. Holly and Oak's parents are briefly mentioned and it's interesting to think about how these immortal beings came to be. A lot of time is spent on the battle between Holly and Oak and it's fascinating to read about their powers waxing and waning with the seasons.
The downfall of the story is the length. There's too much scenes that need more depth and connections within these short pages that the entire story seem incomplete. The story doesn't have a proper sense of closure. The ending itself feels like the beginning of something new and exciting for Holly and his human lover. However, I'm not convinced of their relationship and Holly hasn't even revealed his true immortal nature to his lover yet.
Overall, it story seems like the first chapter to a novel instead of a complete short story. I still loved the story for its world building and light tone despite the shortness and incompleteness. I would definitely look forward to a more fleshed out version of the book, if there will be one.
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