Demons rule the world, leaving mankind two choices: to bow their heads and submit, or to fight back. Joining the scattered rebelling forces are vampires, witches, and werewolves, carving out territories and doing as best as they can to defend themselves from the depredation and horror of this new existence. Skye is a lone wolf, sworn to no pack, but more than willing to obey the Baltimore alpha in exchange for the right to live in his territory, but with the understanding that Skye is free to come and go as he pleases.
While on one of his solitary jaunts, Skye comes across a vampire being bullied by three lesser demons. Unable to allow the woman — vampire or not — to be raped or even killed, Skye leaps into action, only to be taken by surprise himself when stronger demons take umbrage at his defiance. If it weren’t for the elegant, serpentine figure in black who came to his rescue, Skye might have been killed. Instead, he and the newcomer are able to escape.
Erik, for all that he isn’t a werewolf, certainly isn’t human. What he is he’s keeping to himself, but there’s something about the young man, something in the way he smells, in the way the light catches his eyes, that makes Skye’s heart beat a little faster. He wants to know everything about Erik; he wants to keep Erik close to him, the closer the better. But Erik isn’t so quick to trust. Erik has come to Baltimore for one reason and one reason only, and falling into bed or in love with Skye wasn’t on his list.
Skye is tall, built, handsome, and stubborn. He knows what he wants, he knows who he wants, and sees no reason at all he shouldn’t just wander on over and take it. He’s affable and good natured, but quick to take advantage of even the slightest give on Erik’s part. However, when Erik shows hesitation about taking their sexual relationship past a certain point, Skye is quick to back off and redirect. As much as he wants to sleep with Erik, he’d rather have Erik than sex, which is kind of refreshing.
However, for all that, Skye isn’t really keen on taking responsibility for things. Thoughts, actions, anything that might be considered rash or foolish he blames on instinct or his wolf; certainly it’s not his place to fight his nature and think about what he’s doing. When, after their first intimate encounter, Erik mentions someone he left behind in the carnival — the same carnival he calls his family in that same conversation — Skye’s first thought is that Erik is cheating. Not that Erik might have a sibling, parent, or kid … no, Erik has to be cheating.
Erik is a twin spirit, a human soul who — in the womb — bonded with the spirit of an animal (or in Erik’s case, an alien) that allows him to, when merged, take on certain attributes. His twin spirit gives him strength, speed, grace, and the ability to see in the dark. It gives him the ability to heal and, like many reptiles, to survive long periods of hunger. It has no name, no gender; it is simply a part of Erik.
Erik has a traumatic past hinted at in the story, before he joined a traveling carnival — adopted by Riki and her daughter Niki — and then explicitly shown as both he and his adopted sister suffer a gang rape at the hands of some local boys as the carnival passes through a town. Erik survives, his sister does not, and ever since then he’s been on a quest to find the five men who hurt them and put them down like the dogs they are. It drives him more than anything else. It’s one reason Erik likes this new world; like a demon, he does what he wants when he wants with no regards to the consequences or who he hurts.
I am not the biggest fan of fated mates or instalove. When it’s done well or given a reason — even if that reason is silly or irrational — I can more easily accept it. But when it’s lazy, it turns me off. This book has both Erik and Skye fall in love at first sight, no personality required, and I didn’t care for it. Erik, when Skye first sees him, is bruised, beaten, and sick enough to faint at his feet, but Skye would still do him. Erik falls for Skye when he sees him stop to consider the demons beating up the vampire woman and thinks he’s so very gorgeous, and that he’d be willing to take him to bed. No name, no conversation, no consideration for when or if the guy ever took a bath … just looks equal love.
However, the relationship developed as the story went on, and the dialogue between them was sharp and witty, but those first moments — my first impression of them as a couple — meant I was never quite able to be invested. The story did the rest. The pace is frenetic, with a trial, a demon fight, an audition, a reunion, a half dozen flashbacks, and three sex scenes all taking place one right after the other with no breather between them. Other than the sex, almost every scene lasts seconds with no weight or attention given to it. By the time I finished, I was still trying to remember what had happened because it was all a bit of a blur. And other than thinking that Skye was probably a good boyfriend, I didn’t really have any impression of the book beyond an: “Okay, I read that.”
I’m not sure when this book takes place, exactly, or why it takes place. My vague impression is that this is a post-Rapture earth where demons and angels came to fight, but while they are mentioned — and some minor demons make an appearance — there aren’t any religious mentions or an explanation as to why and how the world came to be as it is. Even the rebellion is mentioned vaguely with much hand-waving, with the focus of the story being on sexual relationship between Erik and Skye. This isn’t a bad book; but I can’t honestly say I’d call it a good one. The two spirit aspect was interesting, but I’m not sure it was interesting enough to carry the story alone, and while Skye had two good moments, those two weren’t memorable enough. Personally, I’d hold off on this one.