Galen's Destiny by Edward KendrickRating: 4.75 stars
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Length: Novel

Galen has always felt different and not only because he is gay or has been raised by a single mother, his father’s identity unknown. This is until Galen turns eighteen and is approached by a man called Luc. Luc reveals that Galen is a dhampir: half-human, half-vampire, and his purpose is to sharpen his natural dhampir skills and become a rogue vampire hunter.

Seven years later, Galen has gained his college degree and is living in New Orleans, working for a software company by day and patrolling the city for vampires by night. In the past few years, Galen and other dhampir have noticed a large increase in rogue vampires and to discover the reason why, Galen begins working with police detective and loup-garou, Marc. They soon realize that it is someone’s aim to reveal the existence of vampires to the human race and, joining forces with an ancient vampire and elves, they battle to defeat this individual before the enemy’s endgame can be completed.

Galen’s Destiny is unlike recent novels I have read in that it is the action that drives Edward Kendrick’s story. This is not to say that his characters are shallow – they aren’t – but in the case of Galen, Kendrick does not spend chapters following the young man throughout college and his further dhampir training. The seven year jump in Galen’s life is instead filled in briefly by Kendrick and I accepted this, knowing the author had taken me to a point of time necessary for the story’s development.

Galen is not a complicated character and this is an angst-free novel. Up to his eighteenth birthday, Galen has lived an ordinary life, which is why I found his relatively easy acceptance of his dhampir identity questionable. However, I also think that this reveals some things about Galen’s character and Kendrick proves to his reader time and time again that Galen is brave, unwavering, and levelheaded.

Though the title of the book puts Galen at the center of the story, I really enjoyed Kendrick’s focus on the different relationships between the characters and the depth this brings to Galen’s Destiny. Initially, there is Galen’s relationship with his mother, which is stronger because she has raised him single-handedly. Galen’s mother does not have a huge part in the story, but she feels like the linchpin, which is particularly illustrated in the final few chapters.

Then there is Galen’s relationship with Marc. This is uneasy at first, partly because Marc is a loup-garou, which he explains is different from a werewolf: “when we shift into our wolf form we stand erect, the way humans do, rather than being on all fours – even though our bodies are covered with fur.” Kendrick chooses not to base Galen and Marc’s relationship on attraction, which is unusual and refreshing. Theirs is mutually beneficial, helping each other discover the reason for the rise of rogue vampires in the city. The development of their romance is secondary to the action and gives the reader a focus away from the tension of the fights that the group undertake.

Next is Galen’s relationship with his father, who unexpectedly enters his life. When Galen makes his revelation to Renald, we wait with baited breath to see whether the two-thousand-year-old vampire will choose to kill his son. Instead, Kendrick depicts an emotional connection between the father and son, which is touching and grounding, despite the paranormal nature of the story. Renald and Galen quickly bond and though theirs is not a traditional parent-child relationship, the way that Kendrick brings them together communicates feelings of trust and permanency which is comforting.

The other relationships come as a union between dhampirs, shifters, vampires, and elves is formed. The different species have very separate characteristics and I was especially entertained by the elves and their pretensions. Ian and Marc share particularly antagonistic moments because of Marc’s jealousy, though their banter quickly becomes playful and provides light-heartedness.

The way in which Kendrick develops his plot means that the names of significant characters and their roles can become confused, but I enjoyed the fact that Galen’s Destiny is not about a war between humans and paranormal beings, but one amongst themselves. Kendrick’s battle scenes are involved and draw the reader into the action, building tension and our interest in the lives of the characters we have grown to care about.

Galen’s Destiny is a must read for any fans of paranormal gay romance and though this is the first story I have read by Kendrick, I would not hesitate to read more.

kirsty sig