The Kayan’s Mage and Riley’s Vampire Prince by Jess Buffett ~ Book Review by Ulysses

Jess-Buffet Title: The Kayan’s Mage and Riley’s Vampire Prince

Author: Jess Buffett

Publisher: Siren

Cover Artist:

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

The Kayan’s Mage

[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, M/M, werewolves, HEA] Sawyer McLeod lost his family and his entire Guild, except his twin, seven years ago. Now almost twenty-one, he is coming to the age to receive his abilities as a Mage. Unfortunately there are others who will stop at nothing to see the brothers don’t survive that long. When Jake Hunter, Kayan for a Clan of Wolf Shifters living in Australia, finally finds his true-mate, he doesn’t expect it to be in the midst of a brutal attack. Through omissions of truth, misunderstandings, and fear, Jake struggles to prove to Sawyer that he can trust him. When Sawyer is finally willing to give Jake a chance, a ghost from the past returns to destroy everything they have built together. Will they be able to overcome the foe long thought gone, or will it be the end for the Kayan’s Mage? ** A Siren Erotic Romance

 

Riley’s Vampire Prince

[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, M/M, vampires, public exhibition, spanking, HEA] Riley McLeod has never gotten over the loss of his family to murderous Vampires, and often hides behind his sarcasm and carefree attitude. So imagine his shock when he discovers he is not only mated to one, but his mate is the Prince of the Vaucluse Coven. When Caleb Vaucluse arrived at the Hunter Clan, he never expected to meet his mate. His joy soon turns to devastation when he learns that Riley fears him. Caleb struggles to get past Riley’s defenses and prove that they are meant to be. Unfortunately just as they come together, pride and old wounds prove hard to overcome for the pair, and threaten to tear them apart for good. As an enemy is revealed and more questions are raised, Caleb and Riley have a choice to make. Do they keep their pride and stand alone, or stand together and embrace the love fate gave to them? ** A Siren Erotic Romance

My View:

The first two books in the “Hunter’s Clan” series, these supernatural romances are set in the author’s native Australia. The modern-day plot is set against the backdrop of an ancient supernatural cult bent on destroying one of the supernatural races, out of fear and prejudice.

I really like this subgenre—the creation of a normal world in which supernatural beings live and work and love (R. Cooper, Some Kind of Magic, A Boy and His Dragon. I also like romances set in Australia, because it’s like a parallel universe, that sounds both British and American at the same time.

Jess Buffett’s books are classic romances in format. They are not about complex, thought-provoking plots or exquisite literary style. They are action-driven and devoted to steamy interactions between their main characters. The Hunter’s Clan series starts with the story of identical twin mages—a kind of supernatural being that seems to run small, pretty and gay, but, like the characters in the television animated series Avatar, attain the powers of different elements when they hit maturity.

I also love that, in this kind of literature, all the supernatural creatures have normal human names—because they all live as humans, even if they aren’t. The young mages of this series are Sawyer and Riley, orphaned by a horrific tragedy that leaves them homeless and on the run. Rescued by a clan of werewolves named Hunter, the boys learn to embrace a new life, and in each of the books, one of the twins finds his life-mate. Sawyer, in book one, discovers that he is the mate of the Kayan, or leader, of the Hunter wolf clan; while in book two, Riley finds, to his dismay, that the prince of the Vaucluse vampire coven is his mate.

What makes these books fun to read for me is the exploration of the emotional workings of the twins and the men who find themselves mated to them. This is another constant theme in paranormal gay romances, and there is something about the idea of an unavoidable mate—the one chosen for you without your knowledge or consent, and yet irresistible to you. Both twins have to deal with damage caused by their tragic circumstances, as well as being mated to creatures alien to them.

These books, I have to admit, are very much in the mode of classic “early” m/m in that they are replete with the tropes of books written by women for women (which is not to say that gay men like me can’t love them, too). Some might roll their eyes at the “delicate little fey man loved by the big butch man” trope as yet another “chicks with dicks” dodge—but I need to take a stand dismissing that.

Plenty of gay men fantasize about being overwhelmed and protected by a bigger, older man—and vice versa. It is the classic “daddy and twink” scenario of gay porn, and thus must indeed have deep resonance in the romantic heart for gay men as much as for their straight female allies.

Although I am not so needful of lots of sex in my romance novels these days, I realize that it is an important element for many readers, and Buffett’s big man/little man pairings give us marvelous examples of this. Both Sawyer and Riley, for all their twink stature and pretty features, are strong-willed and independent men, unwilling to be forced into unequal partnerships just because their mates are large and powerful. I particularly liked this aspect of Buffett’s narrative development. The flip side of this is that she gives us big tough vampires and werewolves who can weep and regret and beg forgiveness (and that totally turns me on).

I look forward to Buffett’s next in the series, which involves yet another pretty young mage—one with red hair no less. The overarching story arc or the re-emergence of the genocidal cult within the supernatural community is perhaps a thin fabric holding together the romantic storylines, but I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next.

Buy Links

Siren
Amazon US
Amazon UK



I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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