Review: The Dominion (Seven Leagues #1) by Gayleen Froese

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The Pacific Northwest border town of the Dominion is soaked in magic. Full moons are a bloody spectacle, local restaurants have unicorn on the menu, and a dragon once burned down City Hall. The excitement makes the Dominion a beacon to tourists… but many of them never make it home.

Travel writer Innis Stuart and his photographer, Karsten Roth, are visiting the Dominion to explore its dangers and offer a warning to overconfident tourists. Unfortunately, they may be among that number.

Their local guide is an old friend to Innis, but he’s not acting like himself. Why does he seem to be working with the biggest crime boss in town? And why did both Innis and Karsten feel such a strong compulsion to enter the Dominion in the first place?

It turns out that what they don’t know about the Dominion can hurt them, but it’s not as dangerous as what they don’t know about themselves.

Come along for a tour of the city known as “the most magical place on Earth”… and don’t forget to buy travel insurance.


I really enjoyed the books from your ‘Ben Ames files’ and for that reason I went to see if you had anything else published. And you did! And this book promised a story about a magical city and two guys trying to capture on paper and on camera what kind of city they were visiting (and maybe falling in love along the way, but believe me, throw me in the magical setting and I can become a very happy reader whether love story is present or not). For the most part of this book I was a very irritated reader though and only in the last quarter did the story became somewhat interesting for me.

While I appreciate the somewhat different format of the story, a fictional travel log IMO has a danger of dumping a lot of information on the reader and this book was no exception.

I was not invested in Dominion yet, so I would rather *have seen* things happening than reading the pages of how it came to be. I am not trying to evaluate a different story here than the one on page, I am just trying to figure out what would have saved me from early boredom galore.

And the pages of Dominion history, legal system, and something else which I do not quite recall were popping up throughout the story. If the goal was to make me remember a lot of imaginary facts that would shed light on the resolution, it did not work.

Moreover, bits and pieces of Magic, various creatures that live in this place and some very dark things happening kept popping up and I remember thinking something along the lines, oh interesting, surely this would be developed later and it never did. There was one magical being whom we meet early enough in the story and who ends up being quite important at the end, but thats about it.

I just could not figure out what I was supposed to understand about Dominion and its people. A couple of times the author hinted about its being sentient power (the city that is), but was there any to that effect at the end? Not really I would say.

One thing I know for sure, I really would not want to set my foot in that city ever. My first thought was that it was supposed to be a refuge for many magical beings, but man, “preventive self defense” alone does not really support the refuge argument in my opinion. Did you know that during the full moon in Dominion you can murder a werewolf sleeping in bed and nothing happens to you? And this was just a throwaway comment.

Beware that in my opinion the ending of this book has a very strong horror element. Granted, I do not read the horror genre and am easily scared, so when I am scared of the horror element in the fantasy story that usually means nothing, but I still cannot forget this episode, it was quite descriptive.

The “human” story that unfolds (what was actually wrong with Innis’ friend) has a definite ending and while we know that something *was* wrong maybe starting from the second half of the story, the details were a little surprising to me. Also, I saw that the second book is coming out. I am highly unlikely to read it, but hopefully the development of the relationship between Innis and Karsten is coming up, too. There is no real relationship in this book, but in the last third or quarter they seem to realize that they actually like each other and maybe in the last quarter I saw a little bit of chemistry between them because for the most part, them being together on page bored me a great deal.

The book is written in switching POV between both men, but except for the author marking when another one started talking, I saw absolutely no difference in their narration. I don’t mind switching POV but why we needed it here I am not sure.


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