This book was quite a punch of emotion. I felt terrible for Seiran throughout the whole thing. He already had anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD, and the guilt and trauma from what happened at the end of Book 1 only made his mental health even worse. The author did an amazing job of showing Seiran’s slide into depression and his worsening mental health in his thoughts and actions and feelings. It was heartbreaking to see and feel how much he was struggling. I knew that what Seiran was worried about—that Gabe was going to get tired of him and leave him because of all his mental struggles and because he couldn’t have sex—wouldn’t actually happen, so the emotion wasn’t that I was worried about the relationship, it was simply that I felt for Seiran. It was also awful finding out the backstory about Matthew and what he did to Seiran. It’s no wonder Seiran has some issues. It probably sounds terrible to say this was the book in which I finally warmed up to him (I had a hard time liking him in Book 1), but I think it was just that I finally saw him with his shields down and finally got to understand why he acted the way he did in the past.
Gabe, on the other hand, was super perfect again. But, even though I normally like when characters are more realistically flawed, I couldn’t help but love Gabe. I want a Gabe in my life. And a Jamie, for that matter. Maybe even a Kelly. Seiran really had some amazing people in his life who cared about him, worried about him, comforted him, supported him, and did their absolute best to help him. So even though there was some downer emotion from the struggles, there was a lot of sweetness in the book too.
Unfortunately, I was frustrated that I still didn’t get anything that really showed me why Gabe and Seiran love each other. As I mentioned in my first review, it’s clear that they do love each other, but all that was ever shown in Book 1 was Seiran having (or trying to have) sex with Gabe any time he was around him, and in this book it was only ever sex or Gabe comforting Seiran and telling him how much he loved him and how he wouldn’t leave. The flashback that explained how Gabe and Seiran met would’ve been the perfect time to show something more, but even then it was literally just Seiran trying to get in Gabe’s pants and Gabe already being protective and perfect and caring, despite having just met. I just wanted to see more of the non-sexual connection between them, something to show their compatibility or to explain why they fell in love in the first place.
As for the plot, it was mostly about Seiran’s emotional struggles and how he felt it was impacting his relationship, but I didn’t mind or get bored because I love character-driven books. The story did pick around 70% or so though with more actual stuff happening. Terrible stuff, of course, because poor Seiran just can’t catch a break.
So overall, despite the relationship issue I had, I enjoyed this book, even more so than the first one. I felt more connected to and invested in the characters, I thought the mental illness aspect was well-written, I really felt for Seiran, and I definitely wanted to continue the series upon finishing!
Fans of Book 1 in Lissa Kasey's Dominion Series. Fans of character-focused m/m urban fantasy with witches and vampires. Anyone who likes books with struggles and/or mental illness but also lots of positivity and support, plus a bit of fluffiness, to balance it out.