There will always be a Hammer and an Air...
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 aka Hammer and Eirn grew up in an orphanage together. On the first day Eirn was there Hammer stood up for him on the playground and they’d been together and best friends ever since. They shared their treasures, as small as they were, and their bed. Eirn worked at the printers and Hammer at the smithy’s. They realize when they get older that they've both been having the same feelings towards each other but hadn't acted on them. They finally figure out that all they want is to be together and lead a quiet life. When Eirn’s print master sells his business the new master believes he can take Eirn’s submission for granted things get a bit crazy. After the master strikes Eirn, Hammer takes matters into his own hands and kills the man.
Hammer and Eirn take off but they soon discover that the posters around each town are for the arrest of both of them. They take to the forest for cover, heading to the western kingdoms. After a run in with a cougar Hammer is hurt and feverish and Eirn tries everything to help heal him. They eventually start to travel again but Hammer is still not out of the woods health wise and winter is starting to set in. They stumble upon a cottage that’s in the middle of nowhere. It has a bed, running water and eventually they realize, it’s magical. The cottage helps heal Hammer by giving Eirn the supplies and food he needs to help his friend and lover recover.
When they are there, staying the winter, a large bear comes to visit. They are frightened but then they figure that since the cottage is enchanted why wouldn’t the bear be as well? The bear did knock, after all. They let him in and he just hangs out a while. After a time the bear starts to turn into a man every morning and he wants Eirn to service him. Now Hammer being who he is thinks that he is not good enough for Eirn and he wants Eirn to have options so he semi-encourages Eirn to take the man/bear up on his offer.
The boys make plans during their time at the cottage to build a home just like the one they’re in. During the winter season they shovel snow, read fairy tales from the books that the cottage provides and become closer emotionally day by day. Eventually they decide that it’s time for them to go. But the bear wants Eirn for himself and he’s not ready to let him go with Hammer. The Bear/Man finally realizes that though he thought that he was there at the cottage to get and keep Eirn he was there for a different reason entirely.
This is an amazing story. Hammer and Eirn’s love for each other and their thoughtfulness with each other was so moving. Eirn would always think that they needed better words to express themselves but they always managed to do it just fine in the words they had and the deeds done for the other, imho.But when they do find the words it's beautiful:
You're mine. I couldn't love you if you weren't bigger than princes and braver than knights. You're perfect. You're my Hammer, forever and ever and ever….”
*sigh* Just good stuff! The story was incredibly moving. The cottage – omg I never thought I would cry over a cottage as if it were a living being but that’s how Amy Lane wrote it. I found myself in tears at how it cared for the two boys. The story was about both of the boys coming to realize who they were and what they wanted in life as well as the deepening of their love through trial and tribulation. The very first line of this post says it all.
There will always be a Hammer and an Air...
I can’t say enough good things about this book but it’s one I will be re-reading time and again.
Rating: 5 out of 5