Author: S.J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
When Carl Anderson’s actions endanger the life of his vampire lover, Egill Dalgaard, he must decide whether to to walk deeper into vampire society, or turn his back on the only man who’s ever made him feel secure.
A single soft kiss, just a gentle brush of lips…but was it meant as a beginning, or a good-bye? Every day, Carl Anderson wondered if the man…the vampire…who gave him that kiss would appear in his life again. In that time, he’s worked to come to terms with the existence of vampires, and the dangers they and their enemies pose. Always looking over his shoulder for a vampire or hunter stalking behind him, Carl wishes he could feel safe again, like he did when Egill was at his side. As a Viking warrior and member of vampire society’s ruling body, the Tribunal, Egill Dalgaard is used to being in control of all things. But months ago, he did something that started to unravel his orderly life. He gave a kiss to a man who he was drawn to, who he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about. He has his reasons for keeping his distance, but when he sees Carl again, all logical thoughts begin to fade. When Carl’s actions inadvertently put Egill’s immortal life in danger, Carl must decide which path to take; whether to walk deeper into vampire society, or turn his back on the only man who’s ever made him feel secure.
So I have said this before but it bears repeating. I love the world this author has created. These vampires are great and I am enjoying the various looks into historical cultures. We’ve had samurai, Roman generals, and now vikings. It makes these stories very interesting. We also get some descriptions of various countries and the animals native to them; Norway, Japan, America, etc. I like that this series is so diverse.
I also love that this author has established that it is perfectly acceptable to be rough on the outside, and gooey on the inside. These vampires really are some of the most romantic beings I have encountered in a while.
However, I have a few issues with this series and unfortunately this book only served to highlight them. The conflicts in this series are just resolved too easily and the overall romances are very repetitive. I made note of the ease of resolution in the last book and it shows up again here. Carl is supposedly struggling to come to terms with vampires, but is instantly soothed in Egill’s presence. He has had nothing but horrible experiences with vampires and hunters, but he instantly trusts Egill. He is super afraid of giving up his blood, but one negative implication from a wiater and Carl is eager to show Egill his commitment. Egill wants to be an eternal bachelor, but never once stops the progression of his romance with Carl. There was just no conflict that wasn’t perfectly and instantly resolved. Even Carl’s so called betrayal never really amounts to more than a temper tantrum.
The romance follows a very repetitive mold with only small details changing from couple to couple. The author even admits to things being very similar in the book itself
“We’ve been there too, having lived for another and experienced love that when lost, no amount of time can make you forget. And really, none of us want to. I never want to forget Yoshitake. Cal never wants to forget Quintus. And we know you never want to forget Galinn.”
While I appreciate that the plot that threads through this series keeps things moving, and I appreciate the historical value and world building, the repetitive nature and often sugary sweetness of the romances is starting to get to be too much for me.
As far as Carl and Egill’s relationship is concerned, I found I was not really as connected to these men as I was to the previous couples. I think that is because they were only small players in the previous novels and this story feels like it was just an addition to keep this series going. So when they appeared in this novel as MCs, they were at a disadvantage. And then it did not help that their personalities were not my favorite. Carl was overly insecure and could never make up his mind. He describes himself as
“the type that no matter how much good is said about me, I always focus on the bad.”
I got annoyed quite frequently at his lack of confidence and honestly don’t know what Egill saw in him. As for Egill, he was outwardly such a strong presence that his reactions to Carl’s supposed betrayal felt out of character. His history was not described well enough to explain his actions. Finally, I just did not understand the connection between these men. I understood the attraction, but never quite grasped why it turned to eternal love. I felt like I missed something.
I still enjoyed this book because it was part of this series, however it was not my favorite. As I have said before, the author is great at giving us romance and culture, but this one felt forced.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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,
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