Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell

The Druid Next Door
(Fae Out of Water #2)
E.J. Russell
Release: August 21, 2017
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Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree-hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.

Oh! The Druid Next Door! Let me count the ways that I loved thee!

I loved the first book with David and Alun but I absolutely adored Mal and Bryce's story. I read it all in one sitting and I was so sad when I ran out of pages. I love the mystery, the characters, and the romance! Thanks to all the worldbuilding in the first book, the plot in this one was able to be much more complex while still being a fun read. I loved learning more about the history of the Fae and how society is made up in both the Seelie and Unseelie worlds. I will say that I only figured out part of the mystery which was nice. I hate when romance books have overly predictable villains.

I wanted Mal's book from the moment he showed up in Cutie and the Beast and it didn't disappoint! He's a confident playboy who has had to adjust to the new circumstances he found himself in after being cursed at the end of the last book. And he's struggling with it. His whole sense of self was tied into being the Queen's Enforcer and he is struggling to learn how to live outside of Faerie. Mal gets himself involved in a questionable quest in an attempt to reverse his curse without meeting the conditions to do so. He learns that there's more to himself than even he thought there was and I loved being along for the ride.

While I loved Mal, I absolutely adored his love interest! Bryce is my kind of guy. He's a nerdy, introverted professor on sabbatical from teaching at the local university. He's the one who designed and helps maintain the environmentally sustainable wetlands habitat that's adjacent to the green neighborhood where him and Mal live. I love that he is SO dang proud of his home that has such a small carbon footprint. Finding out he's an actual druid was outrageous and hard for him but it made sense all at the same time. Like many introverts, he is a little bit insecure and doesn’t really have a lot of romantic experience. It was adorable and painful to watch him trying to navigate through what was developing between him and Mal.

Watching Mal and Bryce grow and change, both individually and as a couple, was awesome and one of the things I loved the most about this book. The bonds between these two are strong both metaphorically and literally. I loved seeing Mal accept the parts of himself that needed to be explored. Watching him accept that Bryce was his everything and seeing Bryce grow from slightly awkward professor into a take charge druid was just beautiful. I also loved that this book was much, much steamier than book one.

Overall, I adored this book! I'd highly recommend this series if you're looking for a fun paranormal m/m romance. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book about Gareth!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  4.5 / 5 Stars


My reviews of other books in this series:
Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell

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