Kym Franklin notices the man who seems to be stalking him from across the street, but he’s reluctant to confront him. Especially because Kym’s uncle—the man who took him in and loved him when no one else would—has died, and though the police called it a suicide, Kym knows better.
Maximus is a soul collector, living in the Otherworld and only entering the human one when he has to bring a dark soul to the otherworld for judgement and punishment. But when he finds his mate during an investigation, he can’t help but stalk Kym. Even when his friends tell him that stalking his mate isn’t the way to go about things. When Kym finally confronts him, Maximus asks Kym out on a date. And tells Kym the truth, about who he is, what he does, and what really happened to Kym’s uncle. Kym always knew magic existed, but he had no idea of the extent.
Though it takes Kym a bit to process all the new information, there’s no doubt he’s drawn to Maximus. And when Kym is attacked in his home, he knows he better take Max’s advice and relocate to the Otherworld, even if it means giving up his humanity.
The closer Kym and Max get, the more they fall in love. But there are evil forces at work, and the threat comes ever closer. Max has to do his job in order to protect the innocent, and Kym needs to let him. But Kym’s true purpose is only beginning, and this is just the start of their journey.
I’m always down for a fated mates paranormal, so I was quick to pick this one up. But admittedly, right from the start, this book failed to pull me in. I felt as though I was coming into a series already in progress, which confused me since this is book one of a new series. A little investigating led me to find out that this is a spin off from the author’s Fates Gambit series, which explained a great deal. I have not read anything by this author before, and while this book has all the information you need, it still feels like the reader should have known what came first before reading this book. So right from the get go, I was starting off a step behind.
As I said, the necessary information is given, but sometimes it feels more like an info dump. There are long paragraphs explaining what has come before, especially with some of the secondary characters who play major roles in this book. The story is, at times, bogged down by these paragraphs and only added to the feeling that I was coming in after the fact. Because of that, I wished it had been clearer that this was a spin off series.
While I liked both the MCs here, I didn’t love them. I felt as though we were only scratching the surface of both of them, and at times they read like caricatures instead of characters. This was made worse by the fact that this story is told with a lot of time jumps and instead of showing what happened during this time, which would have contributed to character development, we were told what had happened. Telling isn’t bad in and of itself, but there needs to be a balance with showing, and here I found that it leaned too heavily on the telling, which left me disconnected from the story. Especially when Kym made a rather huge life altering decision with very little thought. Some of his easy acceptance was explained by the fact that he’s always been aware magic existed in the world, but he was too accepting to be believable, especially with the magnitude of information he now had. This book relies heavily on the mates with instant connection trope, and while I can get behind that, it didn’t always work here. Just as I was feeling the connection to the MCs and their emotions, another leap would happen, leaving me playing catch up again.
There’s also a lot going on in this book, a lot of secondary characters who I felt we should know, and a couple of major secondary plot points. I think this story could have benefitted from some tightening up, especially in regards to some redundant explanations. Some things are barely resolved, and others left hanging. And while I know part of that is setting up the rest of the story, it also wasn’t as satisfactory as I was hoping.
All that being said, however, there was some interesting world building and characters, even if I felt neither was explored thoroughly enough. I really liked the twist on heaven and hell, and how they worked in regards to the realms. Maximus had moments where he was a truly endearing character, and Kym showed his playful side for some light moments right when it was needed.
What I liked about this book was great, but there was far too much that pulled me out of the story or left me wanting. I wouldn’t recommend it as a place to start. However, if you’re a fan of this author and have read her other series, then I would definitely suggest you pick this up and step into the next part of her world.