Buy Link: Other Side of Night: Bastian and Riley
Authors: S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: Novella

Rating: 4

Bastian Rossi has known something is off in him ever since a bad night at a fraternity party last semester.  His newfound sensitivity to the sun and his desire for blood are making it impossible to deny that something in him has changed since that terrible night when he was attacked by the guy who was his casual hook up.

When Bastian meets Riley Lynch, he is instantly drawn to him, and the two men slowly start building a relationship.  Riley has had a really bad experience in his past (cheating, abusive boyfriend) and has uprooted his life to start in a new school and new city.  So although he has strong feelings for Bastian, Riley is incredibly cautious about trusting anyone new and wary about getting into a physical relationship.

As time passes and the trust between them builds, both men are ready to take the next steps.  Riley is finally ready for a more physical relationship.  And Bastian gets up the courage to tell Riley that he is a vampire.  Although things are going well between them, the men face lingering problems related to feeding. They learn that what Bastian really needs is human blood, and although Riley offers his, Bastian worries about the potential harm it may cause Riley.  And then the men face an even bigger problem as a life-threatening accident means they may potentially lose each other for good.

The book is told in shifting point of view between the sections, giving us some insight into each of the men as the story goes on. The first section is probably about a third of the book, and covers from when Riley and Bastian first meet until they reach that point of trust and sharing where they talk about the abuse, Bastian being a vampire, etc.  A lot of issues are brought up early on without a lot of detail, such as Riley’s abusive boyfriend and Bastian’s turning. We learn more about these things later in the book, but without that information some of their behavior just seemed strange to me early on.

One of the issues was with the progress of their physical relationship.  It takes about 9 months before Riley is ready for any kind of real physical contact beyond kissing and some clothes on, non-erogenous zone making out.  It seemed so extreme that it kept pulling me out of the story.  Once we learn the extent of Riley’s abuse, it all totally makes sense, but it threw me off a bit for the first part of the book.  Other things seemed odd but were never really well explained, like why Bastian didn’t want to meet Riley’s friends for so long.

After this, things moved along much more smoothly and swiftly as they guys deal with moving in together, the issues of feeding, their developing relationship, etc.  Although I do think Riley accepts Bastian as a vampire pretty quickly considering all his trust issues.  Things do get quite exciting with the accident and the aftermath.  I also liked learning a bit more about the vampire lore, as Bastian finally meets some other vampires.  I will say the coda did throw me a lot.  Totally didn’t see it coming, and it felt too much out of left field for me, although I think it will make for an interesting continuation of the series.

Even though things felt a little uneven for me, especially in the beginning, I did enjoy the book quite a bit.  I think it is an unusual vampire story, which is nice given how many there are out there.  I found the characters likeable with good chemistry between them.  The issue of trust was a central theme and I thought it was well explored.