Rating: 5 stars
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The only questions Belar ever had about vampires were “Where are they” and “How much will I get paid for killing them?” He never thought to ask who they were or why they did what they did, whether they were good or evil, moral or cruel; he never thought to think ab out them as … people. They were monsters. Targets. Things to be killed. But when a vampire turns to Belar for help, suddenly all the questions he never cared to ask become the ones he needs to answer.
Belar lives a half-life, caught between the realms of monsters and myth and humanity. While his mother is human — still very much alive and kicking — his father wasn’t; not that he’s ever met the man. Belar, as a half fae, has a bit of magic and a longer life span. As a hunter, he has weapons, enemies, and, most days, blood on his clothes. It’s a solitary life, one that keeps him moving from town to town as he sheds identities and keeps people safe, even as he is forced to isolate himself from them.
Cassian is not what Belar expected. He’s erudite, charming, and dangerous — all things one would expect from a vampire — but there’s also a dry sense of humor, a passion for life, and a sense of adventure and mischief. He flirts with the same passion with which he feeds, and when he looks at Belar, when he turns the full weight of his gaze and all of his attention on him, Belar feels both like a small prey animal caught by a predator, and a man — a very much alive man — who wants everything the vampire has to offer.
I will not be spoiling the plot of this story for you because you deserve the fun of reading this book for yourself. The author doesn’t spoon feed readers the plot. Instead, Emery parcels it out, crumb by crumb, making you wait for each new revelation. I will say that for all that the plot is revealed slowly, bit by bit as Cassian reveals his past and his past connections, there is nothing unfair here. Everything works within the world the author has created.
Likewise, the relationship between Belar and Cassian feels real. There’s no sudden 180 just because, no insta-love or “sure, I’ll go along with that.” Cassian is interested, at first, because of Belar’s unusual blood, and Belar is interested in the handsome man in front of him. Neither are looking for more than the other one has to offer, but as the story grows and as the world gains complexity and layers, so too does their relationship. The world building is wonderful. As with the plot, we’re teased with a glimpse here, a color there, but when you step back to think about it, it all comes together beautifully.
The vampire lore is standard enough, but always with a little twist, a bit of a new angle that makes it feel so much more. If you like vampires, world building, politics, a paranormal story where the paranormal are treated like a culture or a people instead of just humans with fangs and claws, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a bit of a slowish build up as the author lays out the groundwork to both the world and the relationship with honest care and deliberation, but it’s worth it in the end.
I don’t say this all that often, but this is one of those books I honestly think you should go buy. And, seeing as it’s book one in the series, we can look forward to at least one more in this beautiful world. Hopefully more, and hopefully soon.