Six months ago, Danny Reynolds broke up with his boyfriend, Kieran McCade, when he learned Kier was a vampire. As much as he loved Kier, Danny just couldn’t stay with him after learning the truth. But when Danny is attacked by a rogue vampire and begins to exhibit strange symptoms, he has no one to turn to other than Kier for help.
Kier is still not over losing Danny, but that doesn’t mean he is pleased to see him walk back into his life. Still, Kier can’t bear to let Danny suffer on his own, especially when it becomes clear that something is really wrong. Danny isn’t fully changing into a vampire, but at the same time, his body is going through something that is causing him all kinds of problems. Kier is determined to take care of Danny, bringing him to a vampire doctor and taking him home with him to recuperate.
Dealing with Danny’s partial change isn’t their only problem however. Danny’s attack also put him on the radar of Purity, an organization that works to protect people from rogue vampires. However, their stated mission covers for the doctor who is doing crazy experiments in an attempt to find a cure for vampirism. And even worse, for an agent who has no interest in seeing vampires cured; she wants them eradicated. Even with some help from someone on the inside, Danny and Kier must stay one step ahead of Purity, while at the same time trying to keep Danny alive.
Twice Bitten was a fun story and a nice take on the vampire trope. I liked the way the lover reunited element was worked in, with Danny and Kier breaking up when Danny learned Kier is a vampire. The reasons for Danny’s response, as well as for Kier keeping it hidden, made sense. It added an interesting layer of conflict to the story, and I appreciated that these guys end up really talking through the issue and working things out on the personal end early enough on in the book to let them then work together well against the bad guys later. The partial change aspect of the story was also engaging, adding a little bit of a spin on things and giving us a nice way to get more of the vampire lore. I found it a little confusing that the vampire who bit Danny had blood that was both too potent and not potent enough at the same time, but overall I found this a compelling storyline.
I also think it is was interesting how the story brought in a third major character in Rogan, one of the security guys at Purity. We get Rogan’s POV quite a bit in the book, which was somewhat unusual, but I think it worked well by letting us get more of a sense of what is really going on at Purity.
I do think the world building could have used a little more fleshing out in some places, however. While I think the general vampire lore is well conveyed, the information about Purity was somewhat confusing. I was never clear who was behind this organization. It didn’t seem to be government, and at one point the people working there are described as “little more than a neighborhood watch run amok,” which makes it sound kind of low key, but that is definitely not how things are portrayed as they also have guns and operate like military. Somehow these guys must also have a kajillion dollar budget because they have this high tech lab facility (plus another secret lab as well). But there is no clarity as to who is funding this organization, or even who is running it. The head scientist is feuding with the main security person, but it is unclear who is actually in charge, if either of them. The public knows about Purity and there is mention about how they are patrolling the streets, etc. So they aren’t a shadow organization or anything. But when Purity is clearly involved with big bad things (forced experimentation, kidnapping), no one thinks to go to the police about it either. It just all seemed very confusing.
I also think the story needed to settle a little more clearly on what is going on with the vampires. There is a lot of focus on the fact that not all vampires are bad, that they have an unfairly bad reputation, etc. This is one of the issues between Kier and Danny when they break up and something that gets brought up a lot. But at the same time, things are bad enough that Purity exists at all. We are told people don’t go out after dark because vampire attacks are so rampant. And we learn about at least three significant vampire attacks that affect main or side characters in the story. So that also felt like it needed some clarity and to settle a little more one way or the other.
I’ll also toss out that the villains, especially the security leader, were a little over the top evil here. I also think the ending is a little too unresolved. I can not find any information to indicate that there is a sequel coming, but if not, there is not a really clear resolution to the danger these guys are facing. But I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt here that there is more to come. And if there is, I’ll definitely be interested in checking it out.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.