Rating: 3.75 stars
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Malakai “Kai” is an emissary of death. Angels of death are made and Kai has had a rough life without any love. His best friend turned lover eased the ache inside of Kai, but that relationship ended tragically and now Kai is tasked with killing demons. Kai didn’t have much of a choice in accepting this assignment, but he needs to redeem himself. Except he finds himself drawn to one of his targets.
Byron is a demon who earns money as a demonic martial arts fighter. The struggle for demons to survive is real and when Byron thinks it might actually be the end for him, the angel of death himself saves him. Byron is now on the run with Kai and the men don’t know who wants Byron dead or why. The attraction is real between them and, while Kai knows he shouldn’t get involved, he wants Byron all for himself. As Byron and Kai search for answers, they fall hard for each other, but finding the answers they desperately need may ultimately be the end for them.
Emissary is set in the Star-Crossed Celestials universe and is the prequel to Watcher, the first book in the series. This book is set 50 years before Watcher and this is the first book I have read in the series and it works fine starting here.
I liked the tone of this book from the start and found Kai to be as interesting as he first appeared on page. He’s been trained to kill demons and his life is to follow his orders. He’s lonely and touch-starved and he can’t forget Byron the moment he sees him. Byron has had a rough life all of the way through. His mother was killed when he was young and he doesn’t know who is father is. He was taken in by a family and, as demons, they all struggle to survive. Demons are being killed en masse and the story has a genocide feel to it.
Kai and Byron fall for each other quickly and circumstances have them being on the run together. I did like learning their stories and watching them fall for each other despite the many reasons why they should not be together. As the story progressed, I would have preferred if the world building had been stronger. The “bad guy” is obvious and one dimensional and the climactic scene felt rushed and transparent. Although these scenes do work to show what Byron and Kai are willing to sacrifice for each other.
The ending leaves the men in a good place, but there is still a lot of turmoil in the world. The next books do focus on a new couple, but it would be interesting to see what evolves after this book and perhaps get a glimpse of Kai and Byron in the future.