*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
I was a bit disappointed in the romance, but the story was overall enjoyable.
I didn’t really feel the romantic feelings between Remy and the other two. It seemed to be mostly based on physical attraction and the little bit they knew of each other through fighting together or against each other. Which works for initial feelings, but they jumped straight into being all-in and wanting to commit. To be fair, it’s not hard to understand why Remy, or anyone, would want Zidan. He was smart, a skilled fighter, poised, kind, supportive, sexy, and a broody vampire, to boot. But even that isn’t quite enough for me to actually feel the romantic chemistry between two characters.
I did feel some of the sexual attraction between them, at least. More so with Zidan. But even that quickly turned into… Zidan: “I want to have sex with you.” Xiaodan: “I also want to have sex with you.” Both: “We both want to have sex with you, together.” Other characters: “They want to have sex with you, why haven’t you fucked them yet?” And then, there was so much talk of sex and wanting sex and the sex they’d had and how horny and insatiable everyone was, but not really any actual sex scenes. There were explicit moments, but they were basically a few sentences each, summaries mostly. I don’t think I’ve ever complained before about a book not having sex scenes, it’s not a requirement for me, but this felt like being teased that we were going to get sex scenes, and all the while the author had no intention of giving them. The best was the one when *SPOILER* Remy wasn’t even involved but Zidan held eye contact with him while Xiaodan was drinking from him. *SPOILER*
So the romance and sex elements were not necessarily bad, just lacking depth. There was some sexy vampire biting though! I always appreciate that.
Remy didn’t seem to have a ton of personality, other than being self-sacrificing and blaming himself for everything bad. Xiaodan was cute, bubbly, compassionate, and enjoyed a good fight against baddies; she was likeable, but also little flat. I already talked about Zidan some, but he was smart, a skilled fighter, kind at heart, though he could be prickly and angry if he didn’t like or didn’t trust someone yet, though apparently that was also his tell that he was interested in someone. He was an old vampire with some walls built up. But, as cliche as it may be, I am a sucker for an intense, broody hot guy vampire, and I found him the most interesting of the bunch. There were also some likeable side characters.
Outside the romance, there was a good story. There was a strange mystery about something affecting vampires, causing them to be basically unkillable and mutate into horrifying monsters. There were some other sort of connected mysteries about who was involved and what different people were up to. There was action and fighting and danger. There was Remy’s past and how he was viewed and treated by his fellow reapers and townspeople. The description says the book is full of court intrigue, but I would not say that. Perhaps in future books.
This was all set in a high fantasy world with different vampire courts, which is cool, though you don’t get to see or learn too much about the courts. Also perhaps in future books.
I liked the “again” thing in that chapter of the book. Which I know is not helpful for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, but it was just a fun little writing thing.
As of the time of this review, I can’t find anything about a series, but the way this ended makes it clear this is not meant to be a standalone. No cliffhanger, but loose threads and setup for the next book.
I know it sounds like I have more complaints than compliments, but I feel fairly neutral about this one. I think there’s potential for certain things to be explored more or become more interesting in future books. And though I never felt the strength of the romance, I enjoyed the mystery and overall story in this vampire-filled high fantasy world.
Anyone who likes high fantasy, vampires, fight scenes, and throuple romance.