Hammer and Air
by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Hammer (Graeme), Air (Eirn)
POV: 1st person
Setting: An Enchanted Forest
Genre: Erotic Fairy Tale/Fantasy
Cover Rating: 4
Graeme and Eirn have no words for what they are to each other. Children clinging together in a crowded orphanage; friends battling back to back in a school yard; and bedmates finally bridging the gap between sleeping next to a body and allowing it to touch you in the night—all of these roles are summed up by just their names: Hammer and Air.
The innocent exploration of their newest roles is brutally marred when a violent, ill-tempered master threatens Eirn, and Eirn’s “Hammer” kills the man in a fair fight. The two run off into the wide world with only each other for safety. It’s difficult to forge a good life with only a blacksmith’s hammer and a printer’s cleverness, but together, Hammer and Eirn will learn to negotiate the dangers of magic and motion, of sex, obsession, and tenderness, and of the word that can make sense of it all—one word they must earn for themselves
Graeme and Eirn have been bedmates at their orphanage for twelve years—nearly all of their lives spent sleeping next to each other, yet never bridging the small gap of personal space afforded them in their narrow bed. It is, Eirn says, a skill perfected to grant Graeme the “dignity of those inches.”
Graeme has long been Eirn’s Hammer: his protector, his strength, the one steady presence in his life. Their relationship is one that has ever gone undefined, as neither boy possesses the ability to put his feelings into words. As orphans they don’t belong to anyone, save for to each other; the language that defines how they feel and who they are is not a part of their lexicon; they are alone but together against the dangers of the world. It is as they come of age and begin to explore the boundaries of their bond that evil destroys what little security they can claim, sending them out into the world in search of a place to call their own.
After Eirn is threatened by his new master at the print shop where he apprentices, his Hammer defends his honor, killing the man who would dare to touch what Hammer has claimed as “Mine”. It begins the journey that will transform the boys to men, the paupers to princes. An enchanted cabin in an enchanted forest becomes the sanctuary where dreams are dreamt, where needs and desires are fulfilled, where an enchanted creature learns that simply because he covets does not mean he is entitled and puts to the test the strength of faith and of an unnamed bond. The creature will ultimately help Hammer and Eirn to discover the single word that encompasses what it means to willingly sacrifice life, body, soul, and dreams all for the happiness of another. They will eventually discover a single word that is its own enchantment, filled with infinite possibilities.
Hammer and Air is an erotic fantasy: part coming-of-age story, part fairy tale romance. Vengeance sets the boys over the threshold toward the unknown; magic guides and sustains them, and true love reveals its mysterious power, proving it has the strength to overcome all. The tale’s descriptive and expressive language is romantic and sensual; it draws the reader into a realm where desires are limited only by one’s ability to imagine. It is a passionate, poignant, and mythical world where happy-ever-after thrives.
Reviewed By: Lisa