It’s been eight years since Sawyer has been living across the street from Draco, it’s been eight months since the new mansion on the street has been under construction, and it’s eight days until Sawyer finishes graduate school. At first, Sawyer doesn’t connect the significance of the number eight. In all that time, however, Sawyer has been in love with Draco. But Draco has a secret; a secret made up that has scales and wings and breathes fire. Sawyer’s world is about to be turned upside down.
When three men move into the new mansion, Sawyer is drawn to all of them and goes all in to a world he never knew existed, a world filled with creatures he thought were born of legend. It doesn’t take long for Sawyer to uncover more truths, that Draco and the men are guardians of The Chosen One. But Sawyer fits in with all the men and the attraction they all have for each other fills Sawyer with a sense of belonging he never thought he’d ever have. But, The Chosen One will be revealed soon, and then the guardians may have to leave Sawyer behind.
The best way to describe All or Nothing is simply that it’s fun. We are first introduced to Sawyer, who appears to be your everyday, average boy next door (Clue #1? I will let you decide). He’s in love with his best friend and neighbor, Draco. Draco has made a name for himself online and the fascination with Draco is widespread. Sawyer thinks that all he will ever have is friendship with Draco, but Sawyer has no idea Draco thinks of Sawyer as his mate.
The plot then moves along quickly as we meet, Henry, Eduard, and Andvari. We also learn quickly what they all are, but it is fun in the moment to learn about them. All of the men, except for Sawyer, are guardians for The Chosen One. They have all had a role to fill for many years preparing for when The Chosen One will be revealed to them. Sawyer immediately becomes invested with all of the men, learns that his closest friend is really a dragon, and takes all of the paranormal happenings completely in stride. His acceptance may have been a little too easy.
One of the biggest issues I had with this book it that it seemed to have an identity crisis. It is marketed as a “harem” book and while all of the men had a vested interest in Sawyer, the relationship came off as more polyamorous. A large portion of the book is the relationship that Sawyer develops with all of the men, separately and together, and they all fall into a relationship together. That worked great as the scenes between the men were h-o-t as they all bring something unique to the bedroom and the book has an erotic side to it as well. But, the men also develop relationships of their own outside of Sawyer and, by definition, it wasn’t quite a harem to me.
The book also lacked in world building. We have different fantastical creatures living and working together, but there was barely any background on them or on the world they inhabited. The story of The Chosen One was meant to be taken at face value and just the name alone, The Chosen One, was meant to carry a lot of weight. It also was not a surprise who The Chosen One was revealed to be (if it was supposed to be a surprise reveal it missed the mark completely for me).
I will point out that one of the characters was a griffin shifter, which was unique on its own. Yet, this character kept referring to its “lion side.” While a griffin is part lion and part eagle in looks, I have never heard it referred to individually like this. It certainly never referenced its “eagle” side and for an interesting character, it threw me off many times with its descriptors. There is also some daddy kink that gets added in almost out of nowhere, and from my view, the book struggled with too many different areas competing with each other rather than complementing each other. When certain revelations are made, Sawyer even states it sounds “cheesy,” and certain areas of the larger plot did come off as trite to me.
The characters here were the main draw and certainly held my attention. This was the author’s debut novel and I will look into seeing how the series progresses along with the author’s craft.