So if you read my review of the first volume of Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series, you know that I am totally crazy about these books. I reviewed the first three books in the season yesterday and today am finishing up with the final three in season one. I had intended to space things out, but once I started these books I could not put them down and read straight through all six with barely a stop for breath!
If you have not read my first review, I would definitely start there as this is an interconnected set of six books and these three do not stand alone. Also, given the nature of these stories, this review may spoil books earlier in the season. So go back and check that out first (or better yet just go buy them! Here are the buy links for the six-book set: Amazon | All Romance), But if you are all caught up on books 1-3, here is my review for books 4-6.
Eater of Lives
Amazon | All Romance
Even as they need to move forward on separating Gray and Caleb, yet another case comes up that requires John and Caleb’s attention. This time they face dead bodies that appear to be eaten, and all signs point to a woman possessed by a wendigo, an incredibly dangerous and cannibalistic demon. It is clear that the woman is already possessed, but they don’t know how long it has been, and if she reaches 40 days with the demon, the resulting destruction could be enormous.
As they deal with tracking down the demon, the guys are also dealing with personal issues. John’s ex-boyfriend is back in town and seems to want John back. And John’s best friend Sean agrees that being with Will is a much better (and safer) option for John, going so far as to encourage Caleb to step back and let Will have him. Caleb and Gray are starting to become even more merged emotionally, and as much as he still wants to be separated, Caleb also can’t bear the idea of Gray being destroyed when he is removed from Caleb. But he is sure that his “by the book” boyfriend would never agree to let Gray go. He can also tell that Gray is starting to have feelings of his own for John, but he is sure John could never return Gray’s feelings. On top of everything else, the RD group that had started to poke around has taken an even bigger interest in Caleb, something that definitely seems worrisome. And when Caleb’s drakul side gets exposed to the public, the danger to Caleb and Gray becomes even bigger.
Destroyer of Worlds
Amazon | All Romance
With the drakul exposed to the public, Caleb is taken away by SPECTR RD, supposedly for “tests,” but in reality he is locked up tight. They promise to exorcise him after they finish the testing, but Caleb isn’t sure he believes them. Or at this point that he even wants them to. If they succeed in the exorcism, Gray will be killed. If they fail, he is stuck with Gray forever with both of them likely locked up for good. When the strange group with the moth symbol contacts Caleb offering to exorcise him and let Gray free, he begins to think it is a good idea, even though he is sure John would be furious.
Something is definitely up in the RD division, something much more dangerous than anyone has believed. Caleb knows he needs to get out of there, but his every move is monitored and he knows he and the drakul are a prized possession for the folks who are up to no good. The more he learns about the larger plan, the more horrifying things become. Now Caleb has to find a way to notify John and try to get out of the facility before it is too late for him and many other lives are a risk as well. Not to mention that time is running out to separate Caleb and Gray, and they may have to make some hard choices about their future.
Summoner of Storms
Amazon | All Romance
Although both John and Caleb have managed to get away from the RD facility, danger is still looming. They know that there is a larger plan, and with the help of the Vigilant, they begin to uncover the horrors that the renegade SPECTR folks plan to unleash. With their numbers decimated from the past battles, they don’t have much of an army left to take on the monster that SPECTR plans to create. But they know that only Gray has the power to really stop the impending disaster, and the men are determined to do everything they can to fight back and save innocent lives. It will be a colossal battle, one that will require Gray to channel his deepest self. They must hope that they can not only defeat the evil that threatens, but that when it is all over, that Gray and Caleb can have enough control to return to John and find a future with the man they love.
So wow, these last three books are a thrill ride. I could barely tell you a tenth of what happens here for fear of giving too much away, but these stories are a non-stop adventure and totally heart pounding. As the men learn more about what is really going on at the RD facility, it becomes increasingly horrifying and incredibly dangerous. It is so hard to know who on the side of good and who is part of the bad guys, and no one knows who to trust. Book 4 is more of the individual mystery style of the first three stories, but by the time that one ends, we go full throttle into the larger story of figuring out what the bad guys are up to and how to stop them. I so wish I could tell you all the things that happen here, because I am not sure my descriptions can even begin to convey the excitement, the horror, and the incredible intensity of what goes on. Seriously gasp inducing moments. But I want you all to get to experience it for yourself, so I am being super vague here. Just trust me, it is amazing.
In addition to the larger suspense plot, things also really move forward on the relationship end. Caleb and John have been pretty solid for a while now, but in these later stories Gray gets more into the mix. It is clear he has strong feelings for John, but both Gray and Caleb assume John could never be interested. And John is growing to love and care for Gray, but worries what Caleb will think. John, in particular, struggles with what he will do if he manages to exorcise Caleb. He knows he can’t destroy Gray, but he also knows he will likely lose his job, and maybe even Caleb as well. Hawk manages to build the tension here really nicely, while at the same time not dragging out the conflict for too long. It culminates in some lovely scenes where we get to see what these three men (or two men and a vampire) have come to mean to one another. I continue to love the interplay between the three of them, and the way Caleb and Gray are both integrated, but also still individuals. I particularly loved when we see John and Gray together as Caleb steps back and lets Gray experience love making with John first hand. Gray is adorably uncertain of how to behave and it is both sweet and amusing to see him try to navigate sex. But let me tell you, this book is incredibly hot and Hawk writes amazingly intense and steamy sex scenes for all these guys.
So here is my only small quibble here. There is a point at which John realizes he is in love with Gray (in addition to Caleb), and I had some trouble really feeling their connection at that point in the story. Virtually all of their interaction up to that point was through Caleb, and the only time Gray really was in the forefront was in times of fighting and crisis. So I had trouble seeing how John could have feelings for Gray as they never really interacted with one another directly. It is clear that John is attracted to Gray. With his long black hair flying and his long black leather jacket, Gray at full power is a sight to behold. So I can get the lust for sure. And once they express their feelings, Gray comes to the forefront much more often and they interact all the time. From that point forward, I could totally buy the love. But when we first get the declarations, I just didn’t feel we had enough of them together to really understand where these feelings were coming from, and given how important John’s declarations of love are to the story and the characters, I needed a little more here.
Ok, so you may be asking if I had this quibble, why I still gave this volume five stars. And the answer is because these books were just so good that I was left with that total bliss you get when you read an amazing story. The book hangover. The inability to stop thinking about what you just read. So even though it seemed like a small imperfection to me, overall these books were so wonderful I just was left with a feeling of a truly 5-star read.
So clearly you guys can tell that I loved these. I read the six books straight through and loved ever minute of it. I am so excited to see that the first book of the next season is out, though I have no idea how I am going to hold off after that until more come out. I really think Hawk has created something special here, with great characters, fabulous world building, lots of thrills, and wonderful romance. I absolutely adored these books and very highly recommend them.
P.S. I would definitely recommend buying the whole series here because I really think once you read the first book, you will want them all. But they are also available individually (check out all the assorted buy links above).