Title: The Hunt of the Cold Moon
Author: Beth Wirth
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 22,000 words
Genre: m/m, Fantasy, Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Fairy Tale, Kidnapping/Abduction, The Bestiary, Short Story, Unusual Creatures, HEA
Rating: Really Liked It
Reviewed by Nikyta
Home for winter break, Terry is reluctantly caught up in an old tradition, a hunt for a forest spirit that he has never understood. When he unexpectedly wins the hunt and finds himself bound to the spirit, he has no idea what to do with it. The advice he is given, however, is dubious at best and if he does not act soon his father will take matters into his own hands …
This was an interesting story and one I’m not quite sure how to explain. It starts with a brief look into the forest spirit, Isi, then turns to Terry, a college student home for the holidays and getting caught up in the hunt of the Cold Moon. He’s confused and, frankly, uncomfortable with everything the old tradition entails. Catching forest spirits is not something he’s ever wanted to do but being forced into the hunt for the first time, he gets lucky and catches one of the rare creatures.
While Terry might have been victorious on the hunt, he has no idea what to do with the magnificent creature he ended up capturing. Enlisting his brother, Alex’s, help, Terry tries to figure out what to do with Isi even if it means talking to the craziest person in town. Terry can’t seem to find the answers he wants but he eventually learns why, exactly, he was the one to capture the spirit and why Isi is so complacent with him but not with others. The real question is what Terry does with the knowledge he finds out about the spirit and what he does with the rare gift he was given.
This was a very intriguing story. From the beginning, I was caught up in the suspense of the hunt and Terry’s journey into getting some answers regarding Isi, a usdi, or forest, spirit. While this isn’t a traditional romance (not until later in the story, at least), it was interesting to see the connection Terry and Isi develop while Isi is kept bound to Terry.
One thing I really enjoyed about the story was Isi’s appearance. Being captured during the hunt, Terry and his family were able to bind Isi in his usdi form. In this form, Isi had similar traits to a stag, including the rack of antlers, but still maintained that human-looking form. It was fascinating the detail put into him and how he was able to disappear into wood and such to make himself almost invisible.
Another great part of the story was Terry’s brother, Alex. Bound to a wheelchair from an accident years before, he’s a genius and social butterfly but sheltered. Not only does Terry blossom within the story but so does Alex. They have such a great relationship so it was a real treat to see him such a big part of the story. It made my heart clench a few times to see just how far Terry would go for his brother and what he’d give up to give Alex the life he deserves.
My biggest reservation about the story is the length. Being short, I felt like the ending was too abrupt and fast. As I said, there’s not much romance to the story but in the end, that’s when we see the connection between Terry and Isi actually develop into something more. I wished there had been more of them and their new life together because it would have been fascinating to see how Isi and Terry get along in a less hostile setting. Beyond that, I wished there had been more details about Terry’s family and Alex’s accident since I kept wondering how or why it happened.
Overall, this was a very entertaining read. I’m really glad I read it and I know I’ll be rereading this again one day. I’m hoping there’s a sequel in the future because I’d love to see Terry and Isi again, as well as, seeing Alex find someone special. Definitely recommended.