BloodguiltyRating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Brightgate is a true city of monsters and Casimir has come with a mission. But he doesn’t know much about a city where the monsters don’t hide, and Casimir is attacked as soon as he arrives. He’s saved by Mikki, a young man who is a guardian angel of sorts, and Mikki also points Casimir to where he can get some blood.  Casimir is a vampire, turned against his will, but one of the monsters nonetheless.

When Casimir’s ex-lover Jared starts to make trouble for Casimir, and those he’s associated with since he arrived, Casimir knows he’s going to have to take Jared out. Mikki has been a reluctant help since Casimir first arrived, but as the two men spend a little more time together, Mikki sees into Casimir’s heart. Mikki knows that Casimir is just trying to do the right thing, and together they work to take out the bad guys because that’s the only way Brightgate will be safe.

I can’t call this story a romance, though it has romantic elements. But that’s not what this story is at all. Instead, we have a tale woven around a vampire who has a heart of gold, but has to exact vengeance on those wanting to bring him down. So really, this book is a paranormal tale, and while there is affection between Casimir and Mikki, and the potential for something more, we only scratch the surface of what could be between them. If you read this short novella, do it for the paranormal elements alone.

Penemue does a great job with the world building. Seventy years ago, the veil came down and monsters now live in this world. It’s an alternate reality from what we know and an interesting mix of old world and the future. The monsters have wreaked havoc, and that has caused the ruin of cities, buildings, and the way of life.  I was put in mind of the Old West and the outlaw feeling of it all. But there is also hints of advanced technology, with everyone having datapads and credit card readers to complete transactions. I found myself immersed in the details, and loving each little thing as it was revealed. So as far as the world went, I thought it was done really well and served the story perfectly.

Plotwise, it was a story we all know and, to be honest, most of us love. Casimir made a mistake, the bad guys blame him for it, but Casimir is not that guy and it’s clear from his actions that he is inherently good. This is Casimir’s story, as he finally destroys that which is hunting him, and he can begin to make a new life. I didn’t have the heart pounding adrenaline as I read along that I maybe should have, but I found the story to be well written. I liked the little twists that the author threw in as the story went along, and I liked that they didn’t feel contrived or unnecessary. Who Mikki was, and how he came to be who he is now, was wonderfully done and added to the story.

So this is a solid, quick read.  Nothing overwhelming or surprising, but still really well done. If paranormal is your thing, with a healthy dose of dystopia, then I recommend you pick this one up.

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