Rating: 4.25 stars
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Wesley has been dragged along on a camping trip, but he isn’t a nature lover and not so thrilled to be there. Even less so when an accident in his canoe sends him through a portal to another world. At first Wesley isn’t really sure what happened. But when he sees the dual moons in the sky and witnesses a sudden attack by what can only be dragons, he realizes he has somehow ended up far from home. And when a band of warriors rescue Wesley from the vicious dragons, he is just relieved to make it to safety. But as Wesley learns more about Pavarus, the world where he has found himself, he finds it even more different from his home than he thought. In some ways it is like Earth in the middle ages. But as he learns about the existence of dragons and witches, and discovers the warriors who have aided him are actually vampires, Wesley finds that the only thing he really wants to do is go home.
Remus is the head warrior of his vampire clan and part of the group that finds Wesley. Remus knows that he should bring him to the human village (where he wrongly assumes Wes has come from). But Wesley begs to stay with Remus, the only person he knows in this strange world. And Remus feels drawn to Wesley, even though he has never been attracted to men, and even if he was, he certainly doesn’t want a mate. But as these men spend more time together, they realize that they are really meant to be with one another. But Wesley still wants to return home, and Remus will do whatever it takes to help the man he has grown to love, even if it means losing him for good.
I picked this one up a while back in part of my attempt to broaden my reading horizons beyond so much contemporary. And I am really glad I did because I found it an interesting twist on both the fantasy and paranormal genre, and almost a combination of the two. There is definitely a fantasy feel to Pavarus, with the dragons and the witches and the medieval vibe to the setting and the villages. At the same time, there is the inclusion of the vampires, an interesting twist that I don’t usually see in this setting. I think Wright does a nice job here with the world building, showing the different factions on Pavarus and the animosity between the dragons and the vampires. Here the vampires are mostly good, while the dragons are violent and dangerous and seek to harm the vampires. I found myself drawn into the setting and think the world building is nicely done.
I also liked the relationship between Wesley and Remus. Although it is pretty clear these two will end up together, I think Wright gives them some interesting challenges. Remus is not initially interested in mating, nor is he interested in men. I liked that despite the fact that this is technically an OFY story, there is really no issue for Remus at all when he recognizes his attraction for Wesley (and same sex partnerships are totally accepted). I am always a sucker for the big strong protector character and I loved how Remus dotes on his smaller and more fragile mate. But I also appreciated that Wesley is a fighter and there is a lot of spirit in him as well. I was a little frustrated by the lack of communication between them, especially as both start to realize they want more from each other and aren’t willing to say so. This leads to a lot of the typical romance land miscommunication about what the MCs truly want. But I also get that Remus doesn’t want Wesley to feel obligated to stay in Pavarus, while Wesley doesn’t want to force himself on Remus if he is not wanted.
The story incorporates some other side characters fairly prominently, something that I think works well with some small issues. We meet several of Remus’ friends and fellow warriors and learn about their relationships. Some of them are very interesting, like his friend Aliam and his mate, who have been together for years. And his friends Zane and Larken, who are attracted to one another but haven’t figured out how to really admit it yet. So I really enjoyed hearing these side stories and thought it brought some nice depth to the story. But we also find ourselves in these guys heads for part of the book and at times it was distracting from the main relationship between Wesley and Remus. This is especially true early on before the MCs really have developed a relationship together and we spend a lot of time with these other guys instead. Maybe just a little too much head hopping between them all. I also didn’t really see the point of Damien’s feud with Zane, as nothing really happens and basically we just hear Damien complain about how much he hates Zane. So I think this could have been tightened up a little, but I did enjoy these secondary folks and hope we see more of them as the series continues. (I am especially interested in the relationship between Zane and Larken!)
I also think the ending could have been a bit more solid. There were some things that felt a bit muddled to me as they reach the climax, especially in relation to the head vampire Keddrick and his role in everything. But overall I really enjoyed this one and found it a lot of fun. I was totally engrossed and once I started I didn’t want to put it down. I definitely am looking forward to more from this series. So if you are looking for a fantasy with a bit of a paranormal twist, Pavarus is definitely worth checking out.
P.S. Just wanted to mention that there are some scenes of violence here, including an attempted rape. These are isolated incidents and it is not a violent book, but just wanted to put it out there.
Cover Review: Hmm, I am not sure what is happening here. I think they were attempting to make Remus look sort of pale (though he is not described that way). But yikes, a little overboard here on the color contrast.