Book Reviews

The Firebird and Other Stories (Being(s) in Love 5) by R. Cooper

Genre Gay / Urban Fantasy / Elves/Fairies/Sidhe / Magic / Mythological Creatures / Shifters / Wizards & Witches / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 03-April-2020

Book Blurb

Magical creatures known as beings emerged from hiding amid the destruction of the First World War. Since then they’ve lived on the margins of the human world as misunderstood objects of fear and desire. Some are beautiful, others fearsome and powerful. Yet for all their magic and strength, they are as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to matters of the heart.

A firebird in 1930s Paris is drawn to a writer with a haunted past. Upon returning from fighting in the Pacific, a jaguar shifter finds a third-gender human on his doorstep. Early rock ’n’ roll DJ Hyacinth the fairy shocks his listeners with his admiration for his quiet assistant. During the AIDS crisis, a gruff, leather-wearing troll dreams of a settled life with a mixed-species elf across the bar. An imp, who remembers only too well how cruel the world can be, tells himself he’s content to stay behind the scenes—if only his chaotic, impish magic would stop getting in the way. And a shy human tending his poisonous and carnivorous plants is convinced no one will ever want him, certainly not the handsome werewolf grieving for a lost mate. Human or being, all must overcome fear to reach for love.

 

 

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2015.

 

Book Review

As anyone who follows my reviews knows, I absolutely adore the ‘Being(s) In Love’ series. I was hoping for another full-length novel, but when this collection of short stories popped up on my radar, I was quite excited. For one thing, they tell parts of the history of this world, which answered some of the questions I had from reading the first four books in the series. For another, they introduced me to a whole range of magical and mystical beings that have so far not appeared in the books, or have only been mentioned without further details. In short, this is a great addition to the series and I loved reading all of the stories so much that – guess what – now I want more!

The Firebird is set in 1934 Paris, and tells a story from Kazimir’s long life. As a firebird he is not only close to immortal, as he knows from having had many owners, but insanely attractive. Kazimir is lonely, has never met another firebird, and is mystically linked to the humans around him. He is clearly burdened, and this story holds more than a touch of bittersweet and tragedy. But it is beautifully written, and when Kazimir finally finds what he has been looking for, the man who completes him, I breathed more than one sigh of relief! Tantalizingly tragic with a happy ending.

The Warrior’s Sacrifice is set in 1947 Mexico. A powerful jaguar shifter rescues Teo, who has been beaten for being gay, then left out as a sacrifice to appease the mighty jaguar – still seen as a god by many of Teo’s village’s inhabitants. The jaguar is not at all who Teo believed him to be, and as they gradually got to know each other, it becomes clear that they will make their own destiny. I loved the mysteriousness of the jaguar shifter, the raw power he exudes, and how timid Teo gradually begins to understand that he might not die after all. Mysteriously powerful and quietly seductive.

Hyacinth on the Air takes place in 1961, and stars Hyacinth the fairy who makes a living as a DJ. His world, how he sees things is quite different from the way a human perceives reality. His observations and thoughts were fascinating, and really pulled me into the fairy world. He has trouble with some of the human conventions, and some of his thoughts about those issues were really funny. Hyacinth has set his eyes on a human coworker, Walter, but they have more than one misunderstanding to clarify before they can figure out how they fit together. A sweet and funny story that made me smile.


A Giant Among Men happens in 1982, during the AIDS crisis, and features a leather-wearing troll named Tank who wants to share his life with Simon, an elf of indeterminate heritage. Tank is very protective of Simon, and when several attacks in the area of the bar end up bringing them closer, things heat up considerably. Fierce, intense, and very hot.

The Imp and Mr. Sunshine is set in 2005, and stars an imp who heroically tries to control his chaotic, impish magic. Rennet tries to behave, he really does. Well, most of the time. He works with the police and city hall, so he’s mostly a good guy. But he IS an imp, so stuff happens and the inadvertent damage can be rather annoying. I thought some of it was hilarious, but then, I’m not the one who had to clean up some of his messes. Rennet clearly “has a thing” for John, the human mayor, but nether of them will admit it. It takes them quite a while to figure it out, and I loved every second. Seductively hilarious.
 
The Wolf in the Garden takes place in 2014, and has Miki, a human who loves working with poisonous and carnivorous plants that he tends until they’re sold in a magic shop, pining for a werewolf who has lost his mate. Diego is a quiet observer, and clearly fascinated by Miki’s tour of the garden and explanations of all the plants around them. His roommate Kazimir (now alone because his human lover died) gives him some perspective, and it encourages Miki not to give up too soon. His romance with Diego develops slowly, but was beautiful to watch. A quietly passionate story with lots of thoughtful reflections.

The Dragon’s Egg, dated “present”, took me back into the world of ‘A Boy and His Dragon’. Bertie, the dragon, has been away for a month and can’t wait to be with Arthur again. Arthur is about to finish his dissertation, and Bertie is afraid he will lose him. But then a magically appearing dragon’s egg changes everything, and both Arthur and Bertie have to adjust to the fact that they will soon be fathers. I loved all the details about the dragon reproductive cycle and the blossoming of parental love. Sweetly romantic and utterly charming!

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Collection/ 7 short stories, 371 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 03-April-2020
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Firebird-Other-Stories-Being-Love-ebook/dp/B084VW88LB