Our Radiant Embers by Zarah Detand

Zarah Detand sets the stage with a magical universe set in modern times, with a bit of historical Romeo and Juliet vibes thrown in. Liam and Adam will make you laugh with all the snark, while also breaking your heart for them in the process.

From the Our Radiant Embers blurb:

Their rivalry? Explosive. Their chemistry? Magical. 

When a regrettable drunken hookup becomes your partner in a high-stakes magical project, sparks are bound to fly—just not the kind Liam Morgan was hoping for. Teaming up with Adam Harrington, the golden boy of a legendary magical lineage, was not on his to-do list.

Adam, the epitome of tailored perfection, has accepted the need to lock his true self in the closet. Liam, on the other hand, wears his nonconformity like a badge of honour, challenging the elite’s silken norms with every step he takes.

Tasked with revolutionising urban development in an eco-friendly manner, their forced collaboration is marked by snark, resentment, and a magnetic undercurrent of attraction. But as their reluctant partnership turns into a bond that’s hard to deny, a plot for power simmers, threatening to unleash chaos that could sweep the city into a maelstrom of uncontrolled magic.

This contemporary magical realism MM romance interweaves snappy banter, enemies to lovers, and political intrigue with a slow-burn kind of love that can save a city.

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's review:

"ɪ ᴋɴᴇᴡ ɪ'ᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴛᴏ ʟᴇᴛ ʜɪᴍ ɢᴏ ᴇᴠᴇɴᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ. ʙᴜᴛ ꜰᴏʀ ɴᴏᴡ, ɪ ꜱᴍɪʟᴇᴅ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴀɴᴅ ᴋᴇᴘᴛ ʜᴏʟᴅɪɴɢ ᴏɴᴛᴏ ʜɪᴍ, ᴛᴏ ᴛʜɪꜱ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛ."

Let me start by saying this is my first book by Zatah Detand and after finishing I can honestly say I will be exploring their backlist in the future. I love me some enemies to lovers. Throw in some magic and I am here for it! I really enjoyed the evolution of Adam and Liam's relationship. They started off hating each other based on quite a few assumptions without actually knowing each other at all. Every time they were in a room together the snark flew. To be fair, that wasn't something that changed when they became a couple. The snark just got a bit more sexually charged. Which again, I am here for!

The more time they spent together working on a project, the easier it was for them to see how wrong about one another they were. And that would be all well and good, if what they started to feel for each other was just a good friendship. Yes, the magical community would still have given serious side eye that Adam, one of the most powerful magic users in London, was friends with Liam. Liam, who came from a "lower class" magical family. But the biggest issue is that Liam is an out gay man, which is a big deal in a magical community still rooted in bigotry. These two were doomed from the get go and that's not even counting the fact that Adam has a very public girlfriend.

"ɪ'ᴍ ᴡᴇʟʟ ᴀᴡᴀʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪꜰ ɪᴛ ᴄᴏᴍᴇꜱ ᴅᴏᴡɴ ᴛᴏ ᴀ ᴄʜᴏɪᴄᴇ, ɪᴛ ᴡᴏɴ'ᴛ ʙᴇ ᴍᴇ."

Adam's situation really hurt my heart. I had my doubts whether or not he was going to break free from his familial chains, so to speak. These two were just so good together. I was rooting for them the entire time so when it came time for their inevitable HEA I was pretty damn happy with how it all turned out. I hope this author continues writing in this magical universe and if so I will definitely be reading them. Especially if a certain french man gets a book!

SNik's review:

Standalone. Paranormal. Adversaries to lovers. Impossible relationship. Slow burn. Dual POV. 

Everyone loves an underdog, and Liam is working to make his family accepted to the upper echelons of magical society, even if he has to go head to head with his old crush but current nemesis Adam Harrington. Forced to work with Liam on a large and revolutionary project, Adam can’t forget their one-time hookup, but protecting his family and their reputation is his responsibility. In a world where magical power dictates political and societal prestige, Adam and Liam can never be a couple. 

I enjoyed every scene where Adam and Liam are on page together, the UST, the banter, the slow building of respect and friendship, the steamy interactions, and the swoony feelings they end up sharing. The world build is interesting and the underlying intrigue and machinations made the story more intense and high stakes for the main characters. The supportive secondary characters of family and friends never failed them, and Adam and Liam fight to create something forever together. Sometimes slow, but overall pretty entertaining.

Rogue's Review:

- urban fantasy
- antagonists to lovers
- closeted
- found family

This is a new to me author, and I would definitely look for more as I really enjoyed this. Adam and Liam start off the book completely antagonising each other, and with totally the wrong impression of each other. Adam is more than a little entitled, and Liam sure has a massive chip on his shoulder. There's a healthy amount of snark and enough unresolved romantic tension to set your kindle on fire. That's no pun intended as Adam is the strongest fire mage in his generation.

I really liked the world set up in this story, it's well thought out and while it's modern day London, the author weaves magic into our world like it could actually be possible, it was very cleverly done. The heart of this story though, is Adam and Liam and it's a slow burn (again, no pun intended 😂) but it's very well crafted and moves along nicely. Adam's family sure are the villains of the piece though, in more ways than one, and it was lovely to see Adam accepted so seamlessly into Liam's family. The supporting characters are good, Cassandra, George, Liam's whole family, and Gale too. It's a richly realised world that I wouldn't mind revisiting at some point.

I really enjoyed this.

Our Radiant Embers is currently available as an e-book