Having met and lost his one true mate, hawk-shifter and warrior Tailor is confused and in denial over his feelings towards leopard-shifter Dhani. Despite Dhani’s attempts to befriend Tailor, Tailor rejects the young man time and again. Not until a tragic battle between good and evil sends Dhani into a realm beyond anyone’s reach does Tailor realize what a fool he’d been. For months, Tailor scours the lands searching for information about where Dhani is, convinced the man must still be alive.
After sacrificing himself to save his best friend from the evil god Roh Se Kahn, Dhani is sucked into an alternate universe where nothing exists except his consciousness and everything is pain. The god, however, discovers a use for Dhani—a way to secretly return to the realm of the living through Dhani. All Dhani wants is one more shot at being happy with his mate, Tailor, regardless of the cost, and so he agrees to the god’s plans.
The reunion between Tailor and Dhani is sweet, but short lived as Dhani soon starts succumbing to Roh Se Khan dark plans to take over the world. Tailor and his friends realize something is up, but can they figure out what it is before the worst comes to past?
Love Eternal is the third installment of the Of Blood and Spirit series and despite not having read or even knowing anything about the first two books, I really enjoyed watching the drama unfold between Tailor and Dhani. There is a rich tapestry of races and loyalties divided between Roh Se Khan, god of darkness, and Miel Se Luuda, goddess of light, so readers familiar with the story may find it more exciting to read about the interplay between the various races. Nevertheless, the main characters and their causes are mostly clear. It does help that the focus is more on Tailor finding and connecting with Dhani (which does not require any input from the gods) and on Dhani’s deal with Roh Se Khan (which is pretty much just another representation of good versus evil rolled into a single character).
As far as the characters go, they are somewhat melodramatic. Tailor is a muscle bound warrior, honor bound to protect the leader of one of the races…yet his broken heart means he’s off the job for now. Instead, he’s pouring vengeance down upon supporters of Roh Se Khan, trying to find some link to Dhani. Once he and Dhani are reunited, his behavior is colored with a bit of dominance, but I didn’t find it overbearing. Tailor seems determined to address and make up for previously having brushed Dhani aside. Dhani, on the other hand, seems like a classic martyr type character. While there is no uncertain appeal of having his altruistic acts illustrate just how good he is, I did find it a touch exasperating that Dhani always, always, always gets the short end of every stick. One topic that was not really discussed was Tailor’s feelings about the fact that Dhani basically sacrifices himself—and by extension any chance at being with Tailor—for the sake of a friend. That seems rife with angst possibilities, but never really gets mentioned on page.
There are several elements of the plot that get tied together seamlessly without feeling too contrived. The information Dhani’s long-lost mother brings to the table, for example, is mentioned early on and built upon as the story progresses. One such tidbit is that Dhani, who is a leopard shifter, does have a bit of another shifter spirit inside…and it turns out that that little bit of shifter spirit has a big connection to Tailor. The way Roh Se Khan and one of his sons vie for power among the worshippers of the dark god also added an element of interest and suspense outside the romance between Tailor and Dhani.
The only major negative for me was just how often Dhani is situated between a rock and a hard place. It feels like he, more than anyone else in the book, truly does get “picked on.” This is most prominent when Tailor and the others find a way to prohibit Roh Se Khan from continuing to use Dhani (against Dhani’s will) to carry out the god’s plan to take over the world. Their method is, however, temporary and when they attempt to use a spell to permanently take care of Roh Se Khan, something of course goes wrong and the whole cycle of Dhani being used (against his will) starts all over again. Also, during major action scenes towards the end, McCoy references a few of the races and their inherent powers (such as the leader of one race being able to utter a command that others of that same race must obey), but without having needed to pay attention to races/power structures earlier in the book, it was a bit hard to immediately understand who was doing what and why.
On the whole, however, this was a rather satisfying read, even if you are unfamiliar with the series. The get together between Tailor and Dhani is full of bittersweet moments and that is pretty much a constant until the very end. Dhani’s predicament vis-a-vis Roh se Khan is unraveled well on page, building tension and suspense in the reader, as well as huge amounts of sympathy for poor Dhani. If you like stories about shifters and bonded-pair type love stories, you’d probably enjoy this book immensely.