Beyond the Realm: Remember, Book 1
“There’s no time. Remember Rueberry Orchard.”
A beautiful man in strange clothing starts invading my dreams, and even though I know he isn’t real, the dreams—mind-links, according to him—are so vivid it’s hard to imagine this man doesn’t exist. After a few of these nightly visits, I start looking forward to meeting him and listening to his smooth voice as he tries to convince me to go to Rueberry Orchard.
To my surprise, the place really exists, but I know it would be crazy to go there when it’s ten hours away… right?
the visits don’t stop, some deep desire inside me knows I have to
listen to this dream man, even if it’s absolutely insane. I follow his
instructions to Rueberry Orchard, and nothing in this world could’ve
prepared me for what I find. Or for the wild adventure I’m about to
3.5 out of 5 stars
Rueberry Orchard by Michele Notaro is part of the ‘Beyond the Realm: Remember’ series and centers on Rhile Lore, who starts being haunted by a man in his dreams who is urging him to travel to someplace named Rueberry Orchard. Accompanied by his best friend, Rhile embarks on a fantastical journey that introduces him to a world he could never have dreamed of…or could he have?
This adult gay fantasy romance introduces a world that has fascinating beings such as elves, dwarves, lacunae, and fae, as well as a dysfunctional family that has a remarkable influence on the world. There are multiple tropes, including amnesia, mate bonds, a central source of magic, and an evil, power-hungry villain who is willing to destroy any number of things in a quest for supremacy.
The story is told in alternating points of view between the main characters, with some shifts between past and present. I was a bit frustrated by the personalities of the focal couple, since their relationship vacillated between an intense attraction and either rejection or fear of rejection. Rhile’s mate is recovering from some horrible experiences, but his emotional outbursts and overprotective actions sometimes made me wonder about how equal the partnership was, despite the purported capabilities of Rhile and his best friend.
The erratic training, constant fleeing, and vague allusions to the ruling arrangements and enforcements made me less than convinced of the eliteness of this group and their superiority to others. I think this story has great potential, but it has a lot of dangling threads, so I hope there are additional stories in the work to explore some of the other interesting secondary characters and to flesh out elements of this world.
A copy of this title was provided for review