A year ago, firefighter Mason James learned that he was a Romanus, that he had gargoyle blood. He also found Luc Toussaint, a warrior gargoyle, and began a relationship. But even though the time has passed, he’s no closer to knowing what a Romanus is supposed to do or be. And he’s also no closer to admitting his true feelings for Luc, thinking he still needs time. When an accident at work has Mason realizing just how stupid he’s being, he’s ready to go all in with Luc. But just as he’s come to that decision, his life turns upside down.
Mason always knew he was adopted, and the leader of his Chasse—gargoyle clan—has been reaching out to find his lineage. It turns out that Mason comes from one of the most prestigious families and he must travel to meet them. But they immediately look down on Luc. A warrior’s class is so far below that of a Romanus they shouldn’t associate. Secure in his love for Luc, Mason takes a stand. And together they travel to France to find out the truth about what he is, and what happened to his mother.
But nothing is easy, and even though Mason can quickly prove he is a Romanus, he’s tested again and again. Not to mention he doesn’t bow to the whims or outdated customs of his people. He knows what a well-run Chasse should be, and there’s no doubt in his mind that he wants to go home. When he gets the answers he’s seeking, Mason knows what he should and can be. But when the comte goes a step too far, Mason is done. He’s going to live his life as he wants, with Luc by his side.
Four years ago, I read Romanus for the first time. And when I’d finished it, I thought it would be an awesome series. It felt like a series to me, and I went looking for more, needing to read the next story. So I was disappointed when I learned that it was a standalone, and that there were no sequels. But that has changed now and I’m so happy it did. When the first book was rereleased, I wondered why. But when Chevalier crossed my radar, I was thrilled. Finally, I could see what happened next for Mason and Luc.
This story definitely works best after having read the first, as it’s a direct continuation. And it flows seamlessly from the Romanus. When last we left Mason and Luc, they were just starting out and just finding their way together. Mason had just learned what he was. Seeing them now, a year later, was pretty rewarding. Mason is introspective to start, ruminating on his newfound status and how he doesn’t know what to do with it. He doesn’t understand what he’s supposed to do. I felt his frustration as he was relating the emotions, but I felt a little removed from it. I would have liked to see a few instances of this instead of just being told. But it is described well, and pretty soon, the story jumps into the action.
First, there is the lovely revelation of Mason’s feelings for Luc. Having known the character from the first book, it was perfect. Mason definitely had some reservations, and he had good reason too. So seeing him embrace his love was rewarding. I always loved how Luc acts toward and reacts to Mason. The moment these guys are together on page, there is no doubt of their deep love and abiding affection. Their bond is strong, and gets stronger as the story progresses and I found that very satisfying.
Along with the love story, the other plotline is so wonderfully entwined. Mason is finding out about his history, the history of the goji (gargoyles), and what his place should be. I found the lore of gargoyles particularly well done here, and appreciated the world building. I loved watching him learn about it all, but seeing him remain resolutely true to himself in the process. Other men would have been lured by the power and wealth before him, but Mason isn’t swayed. And it actually is exactly perfect. Mason just isn’t that guy, and it’s believable that he would walk away from it if it didn’t jibe with his personal moral compass.
This story was long awaited, and it didn’t disappoint. There were a few moments where things got a little choppy for me, or where the explanations didn’t quite mesh with the greater world. But overall, it was well done. The story continues beautifully, we get to see Mason and Luc as they forge even a deeper bond, and we get a bit of mystery and mythology all tied in. I continue to really like the interesting twist on shifters that inhabit this world, and really enjoyed this story.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.