Author: Nathan Burgoine
Publisher: Bold Strokes Publishing
Cover Artist: Jeanine Henning
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/01/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Alternate Universe/Alternate World, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Menage/Poly, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
The law of three is unbroken: three vampires form a coterie, three demons make a pack, and three wizards are a coven. That is how it has always been, and how it was always to be.
But Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—have cheated tradition. Their bond is not coterie, pack, or coven, but something else. Thrust into the supernatural politics ruling Ottawa from behind the shadows, they face Renard, a powerful vampire who harbors deadly secrets of his own and wishes to end their threat. The enemy they know conjures fire and death at every turn. The enemies they don’t know are worse.
Blood, soul, and magic gave them freedom. Now they need to survive it.
What an entertaining opening sequence we get here. It introduced some of the dangers and asked some of the questions about this world, a contemporary alternate version of our own, and these characters and their personalities. Right away I had an idea about each of our three leads. Anders is cheeky and speaks his mind and doesn’t have much of a filter, and he’s our demon. Like recognizes like, mmm hmmm. Curtis is thoughtful, eager, and intelligent. He cares about Anders and Luc and he both shows and voices it with regularity, like a good Wizard does. And Luc, he’s wise, sly, and not at all afraid of what he wants or how to make sure it happens, including protecting Anders and Curtis from the supernatural evils that surround them 24-7. He’s also not one to pretend he knows something when he doesn’t, despite being a long-lived Vampire. He knows a lot about his own kind, more than either Curtis or Anders know about theirs, but he’s not in a position of power when this story begins, and he therefore doesn’t possess some of the information vital to the survival of this triad they’ve formed.
And let me tell you, most of the other supernatural beings in and around Ottawa don’t like that they’ve become a triad bound by blood, as is the way with this world.
Early on, this author has Luc often referencing Curtis by the term “young man”. A lot. Like three times on one page a lot. This might be how Luc thinks but the continuous repetition throughout the story was a distraction. Thankfully, it’s pretty much the only one.
On the flip side, there’s a wonderful ease to the storytelling. Nothing was rushed. The writing did feel a little loose in the beginning before settling down soon after, becoming much tighter as we got deeper into the magic and the mystery of this story. By chapter four, I’d found myself sinking in and loving my time in this AU Ottawa.
There’s some moral ambiguity going on here, at least from a human perspective. From the perspective of a Vampire like Luc, or even a Demon like Anders, not so much. If there is a moral compass, Curtis would be it. The author portrays each of these beings in realistic terms in that they accept themselves for what and who they are, including the not so peaceful parts.
We sort of kind of get each of these characters perspectives throughout the story. Sometimes it was difficult to tell if it had indeed switched from one to another, or if it was just a pivot in the story. Each of Anders, Curtis, and Luc have their own branches of the main story and have scenes with other characters away from the other two. Each of these branches is woven into the larger story quite well and made for some surprises towards the end.
One thing that wasn’t a surprise was the baddie and his fate. Though, this honestly didn’t impact the story in a huge way. Why? Because this is much more about the journeys of these characters than an ultimate destination in the form of attempting to vanquish the bane of everyone’s paranormal existence. The changing relationships between the three main characters, the way they work together to deal with all of the conflict and shade thrown their way, and how they’re learning right along with me as the reader when it comes to their powers, both individually and what happens when they combine them. There isn’t a lot of sex and less romance and it worked, it was right for this story and the lives of these characters and what they’re dealing with here.
The supporting characters are well thought out and utilized. I was intrigued by David especially. And the others had me wanting to learn more about them, which is always a plus. There be some rich land to mine there for future stories, that’s fo sho.
This world is well built, especially in sense of place and context. We learn some of the history of the conflicts between the different types of beings in this world, what’s changed and what hasn’t, what many of them want to change, and all the while Curtis, Luc and Anders are navigating it all while trying to keep themselves alive, despite the best efforts of some. There were a couple of plot points that would have benefitted from additional explanation but, otherwise, I so enjoyed my time inside this book.
It would be fun to get to spend more time with these guys, watching them figure out how to live together and work through their various feelings and viewpoints about this triad they’ve formed. It’s not just about survival anymore…
Oh, and I would totally read more by this author, too. 🙂
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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