When Caleb helped to infiltrate Ashgate prison and free the magicae held captive by the Inquisition, he never expected to find his mate. But when Caleb rescued the vampire, Marcus, the men instantly knew they were mates. Though the pair are happy to find one another, the emotional and physical damage Marcus suffered has taken its toll. He is having nightmares and dealing with other anxiety from his ordeal.
Fortunately, both Marcus and Caleb have many good friends who are there to help and support them. Marcus is part of a military team who comes to help Marcus heal emotionally, as well as to meet his new mate. Marcus also gets support from his sire, Hale. All of them are eager to not only help Marcus, but to get to know Caleb and bring him into their found family.
Even as Marcus begins to heal, however, the Inquisition is still out there and the after effects of their experimentation in the prison are far reaching. Now the men are determined to help others who have suffered like Marcus and make sure that the Inquisition is stopped.
A Vampire’s Redemption is the second book in the Inquisition Trilogy and continues the story started in A Mage’s Power. As such, this story is really not meant to stand alone. I loved that first book and have been eagerly awaiting this next installment.
My favorite aspect of this story is the found family connection among the characters. Caleb is an alpha wolf who left his pack years ago and has found a deep connection with his best friend, Rowan. And Marcus is part of a military team (that includes Rowan’s mate, Shaw), as well as having an extended vampire family. I really enjoyed the way that author Casey Wolfe showcased the bonds these men have with each other and the support they provide one another. We learned about Shaw and Marcus’ team in A Mage’s Power, but here we get to actually met them and I enjoyed watching them all interact. It is a diverse and interesting group and their strengths all play together well. We also meet Marcus’ sire, Hale, as well as his vampire brother’s and sisters, and again this really added some nice elements to the story.
One of my favorite parts of the first book is the world building, and while it isn’t as strong here, we also get some interesting bits about Caleb’s role as an alpha wolf. After leaving his pack, Caleb never learned much about his alpha abilities. When he mates with Marcus, their combined abilities sort of enhance things and we get to see some nice world building with regard to shifters and vampires, as well.
I think where this book suffered for me is that there is just not enough plot to hold such a long story together. Amazon lists this one at about 450 pages and just not enough happens to carry off that kind of length. The rescue from Ashgate actually happens in A Mage’s Power, so here we see the aftermath as Caleb finds Marcus. The men instantly recognize one another as mates and are together from that point forward. So there isn’t much relationship development as it is all settled almost immediately. While Marcus is dealing with both a physical and emotional recovery and we do see aspects of that, most of the book seems like it is just various groups of friends/family hanging around. There really isn’t much plot here and the fight against the Inquisition seems to be completely in the background (there is an assumption that some folks out there are still fighting, but we don’t really see it until the end of the book). After so much world building and so much excitement in the first story, things just kind of float along here for pages and pages. Even the conflicts that are shown, like issues with Caleb and his pack, appear and are resolved quickly. I kept waiting for things to heat up and they just never did. It takes until about 60% before we see the guys doing anything really related to the Inquisition, and about 3/4 of the way through before there is any action.
Perhaps because there isn’t a strong plot here, the story seemed to frequently have weird time jumps. I would often think scenes were happening immediately following one another and then realize that time had passed. There are also a LOT of side characters here. Again, the sense of family and community is something that I liked. But so many scenes of big groups hanging out made it difficult for me to keep track of everyone and how they were connected. This was a particularly an issue at the climax of the book when about seven new characters are introduced by name and all in a fight together and I had no idea who was who.
I think overall I enjoyed this one partially on the strength of the first story and partially due to really liking the found family aspect. But this book was just way too long for the amount that happened here and the conflicts it did have seemed to pop up, resolve completely, and then be forgotten. I think this story would have benefited from some major tightening up to keep the pace as interesting and engaging as the first story. All that said, I am really into this series and very excited for the third book. I hope it brings back some of the spark of the first book and I am anxious to see how it all ends.