I am a big fan of Ari McKay’s Asheville Arcana series and was thrilled to see the third installment, Quenched in Blood, had been released. Once again, we get to visit with Eli and Arden, Harlan and Whimsy, and, the grumpy yet intriguing, Julian. I am rather sad that this is the final chapter in this series, but was not disappointed by the unending action and the discovery of a new demon hunter—one destined to be Julian’s undoing.
For those who have not read the first two novels in this series, there will be ample spoilers in this review, so do yourself a favor and go back to read those before forging ahead. When we last left this intrepid group, Micah—seemingly the last demon hunter–had been ambushed and killed on his way to help Julian. The group was still searching for the cauldron, which promised whoever possessed it the ability to become reborn and made it a deadly prize between the good guys and the demons that seemed to be constantly surfacing. For Julian and the others, Micah’s death meant they had very little hope of defeating the mega demon that they knew had been unleashed from the bowels of hell. It also added to the burden of guilt Julian carried with him for this was not the first demon hunter who had fallen coming to his aid.
When the group is finally able to get onto Micah’s farm in the hopes of discovering something that could help them fight, they are shocked to see a young man living there. Thomas had been kept on the farm in isolation, unaware of his abilities for all his life—twenty long years. His shock at seeing a vampire and other magical beings he never even knew existed is quickly replaced with anger at his grandfather, Micah, for having hidden him away and keeping his legacy as a demon hunter from him as well. Now Julian must train the young man and hope that his skills will be enough to help them defeat the strong demon they know is waiting for them. But first they must find the cauldron and risk their lives doing so. Unfortunately, that task dims in comparison to the fact that Julian is falling for Thomas. But how could Thomas possibly have feelings for an old, grumpy vampire who may have also been responsible for the deaths of everyone Thomas held dear?
This was, in many ways, the best story of the three for me. I really like Julian and for him to finally have met someone who made him want to be a better person, to take a chance on love, really felt as though the story had come full circle. Thomas, was strong—strong enough to endure Julian’s moodiness and understand it was not focused on him—they were really perfect for each other despite the fact that unlike the other characters in the story, demon hunters and vamps did not really have mates. Still, the story authors Ari McKay wove convinced me immediately that these two were destined for each other.
The plot was strong, the action intense, and the demon who finally made himself known was pure evil. I think my only reservation was the ending and that was simply because I wanted it to be somehow a bit more dramatic then it was. After all the fighting and nail-biting drama preceding it, the last few pages felt just a bit anticlimactic. However, that was really minor in comparison to how fantastic it was to watch Julian and Thomas grow close and develop feelings for each other. I truly enjoyed this novel and was not disappointed with how McKay opted to close out this series. Fans will be smitten with Julian and Thomas and cheer on this group once again. There were some really heart in throat moments as well that added to the overall enjoyment of the book for me. Quenched in Blood was well worth the wait.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.