Witches, summoning and a cross-country trip. An ARC-review for ‘How not to Summon your True Love’ by Sasha Miller

How not to summon your true love Book Cover How not to summon your true love
Sasha Miller
Urban Fantasy
Less than Three Press
March 16, 2016
144
A copy was provided through Netgalley

Though it doesn't really come as a surprise, Cy is still crushed when he's dumped. His relationship with Alex had lasted longer than all previous attempts, and started promising when Alex had proclaimed he was perfectly okay with Cy being asexual.

On impulse, convinced no one will ever really see him as worthy relationship material, Cy turns to a book that belonged to his late mother, a grimoire of magic spells that obviously won't work. It's a stupid idea, and even if magic was real there's no way a true love summoning spell would work for him.


How not to Summon your True Love
is a new line by Less than Three Press involving several books around asexual, pan-romantic etc. characters. Something which I think is a nice as it is an understated element in romance. So when I saw this book, my curiosity was piqued.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Cy’s bad day just got worse. His lover breaks up with him, for the (to Cy very familiar) reason that Alex thinks they are not right for each other. It did leave me wondering why Cy didn’t date someone who is also asexual or demi-sexual, because I’m of the belief that love doesn’t conquer all, but that is just me.

His day gets worse when he actually summons his supposed true love from other side of the country in a bored “let’s prove magic doesn’t exist” mood and he has an interesting message for Cy and with Dig also comes potential danger.

Most of this book is spent on the road, with a surprising amount of gas stops. At the same time we get a good insight into Cy and bonding time between Dig and Cy.

How not to Summon your True Love is not very long, but it is cute and sweet. Cy is a bit of a cynical character who needs to look on the bright side of life more often. He is also smart, which means he’s luckily not one of those ‘too stupid to live’ characters. He’s let down by a few lovers, though according to him he has a thriving social live, but we never get to see it in the book. We get less insight into Dig, throughout the story he is a bit of mystery. The reader gets bits and pieces as he connects and bonds with Cy on the road.

The bonding between Cy and Dig is the strength of the book. We see them grow closer even though they don’t see each other as potential love interests (but it does niggle in the back of Cy’s mind).

The world created in How not to Summon your True Loveis very interesting. It is focused on witches and territories, but it’s largely left unexplored. It would be fun to see more of it.

The unexplored world-building is at the same time the weakness of the story. As said, most of this book is spend on the road and focused on Cy and Dig. While there is bonding, not much happens. This left the story a bit flat. It would have been nice to see more of what Cy becomes and how Cy and Dig continue, instead of a few comments in the last chapter. It would have given the story more balance and given the romance a more rounded feeling as we only saw the budding first stage.

How not to Summon your True Love is certainly not a bad story, but it feels more like the start of a story than the story as a whole.

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