Jason Thorpe is doing some carpentry work at a remote home when he stumbles upon a horrifying scene of violence. Jason doesn’t really understand what he is seeing, but he knows he has to help the injured young man. Soon after, Jason leaves that confusion behind as he moves to New Orleans to the house/shop left to him by his best friend. Jason settles into the city, finding a sense of belonging he hasn’t felt in a long time.
Jason thought he had put that strange night behind him, until he learns about the world of vampyrs he never knew existed. As it turns out, the man Jason saved is part of this world, and now the prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, has come to town and he wants to meet Jason to thank him. Jason finds himself accepting the existence of vampyrs fairly easily, but he has no real interest in meeting Varic, especially when their first encounter doesn’t go so well. But Varic is persistent and when the men meet again, it is clear they are meant to be together.
Jason never expected to be drawn into this world, nor to end up being such an important part of it. But from the moment he and Varic really connect, he knows that Varic is the one for him and Varic feels the same. The men have fallen hard and fast, but there are those who are no so happy about Varic’s relationship with Jason. Not only that, but vampyr politics are dangerous in New Orleans and Jason may be getting caught up in the trouble. Now that Varic and Jason have found each other, they need to stay out of danger and focus on bringing their two different lives together.
I read a lot of paranormal so I am always looking for books that bring a fresh take on common supernatural elements. In the case of His Consort, I really enjoyed Mary Calmes’ world building and the way she takes some traditional lore and twists it around to create her take on vampires. I found the politics and the history and the general world building to be really engaging here. It builds to an exciting climax as danger threatens and the paranormal elements really pulled together well for me. I also think Calmes does a nice job of incorporating the setting of New Orleans into the story. The city really feels so much a part of the book and there are lots of details that about the shops and atmosphere and culture that add a lot to the story.
The area where things didn’t work quite as well for me was on the relationship end. The guys don’t meet until almost halfway through the book. The early part of the story focuses on what happens that night in Washington, as well as Jason settling into his new life and business in New Orleans. He also meets some vampires who familiarize him with their world, and there is a lot of info dump here about vampire lore and politics. I found it interesting, so it mostly worked for me, but it is lot of exposition under a guise of conversation between Jason and his new friends.
So it takes quite a while for Jason and Varic to connect, and once they do, it is like a lightning bolt of mating and love and desire to be together forever. Jason is just overwhelmed with the need to be with Varic after barely even meeting him and Varic seems to feel the same way. There is no relationship development here; these guys just are in love from essentially the moment they meet. Now if you are a regular Calmes reader, you are probably familiar with this style and if you can go with it, then I think this book will work fine for you. It is sweeping and romantic and intense and all the yummy things you get from Calmes. And so it mostly worked for me, but I did find myself wishing we had more time to see these guys build any kind of connection, rather than just immediately being obsessed with one another.
I’ll also note that Jason is a pretty typical Calmes character — charming, pretty much universally loved, and totally unaware of his own appeal. He has a military background, so he can hold his own, which I appreciated. So while he is sometimes in over his head in this new world, he is not someone who needs constant protection.
I think for me the world building and the storyline here were more than enough to carry this for me despite the somewhat short shrift on the romance end. So overall I enjoyed this story and would love to see more set in this world (there is a side couple I’d love to see get their own book).
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.