Vampires. Twins. Obsession. Cruelty. Love. Angst. And so much blood!
There honestly isn’t a single bad thing I can say about this book. I’ve loved everything about it both times I’ve read it. It is just as gripping and blood-drenched as the blurb promises it will be.
The book focuses on two characters, twin brothers, and they’re both so complex. Olivier is awful. Just so messed up. But in a way that makes you hate him but also makes you want to keep reading about him. His cruelty doesn’t just come from being a vampire—it’s part of who he is. He likes to toy with people’s emotions and break them mentally as well as physically. And of course there’s the fact that he’s literally obsessed with his twin, jealous of anyone else who gets close to him, and delusional about their relationship. That, honestly, might be the scariest thing about him. And yet… he’s so well-written that I found myself not being able to help but feel sympathy for him at times, even though I knew he absolutely didn’t deserve it. Thierry is the “good” one of the two, but I put that in quotes because, well. He doesn’t enjoy killing innocents… for the most part… and he isn’t cruel like Olivier, but he is by no means virtuous. Throughout the story, he was bored and numb, going through the motions for hundreds of years, and as he said himself, a bored vampire is a dangerous thing. But it was the characters’ emotions and the relationship between them throughout the book that really showed the realism and complexity in them.
[Olivier] boiled and Thierry boiled with him. The deeper he went, the closer to one he grew, until finally he could see through Olivier’s eyes, feel the grip of his hand on the leather hilt of the butcher’s blade, and smell the blood spraying onto his brother’s chest. Underneath it all, arrogant and unguarded thoughts tumbled over one another.
Thierry. Thierry. Thierry…
Not only are they complex, they’re so vampire-y! You know how sometimes you read about an immortal vampire, but they sound like a teen or twenty-something? Thierry and Olivier actually feel like immortal predators with the way they think and act and feel, their patience, their boredom, their general disassociation from humanity. These vampires are sexy but deadly, the kind that can blend in with people but are all the more dangerous for it. I loved it. You won’t find any sexy biting, but you’ll find sex, and you’ll find biting. (Content/trigger warning: There’s also one explicit rape scene.)
There’s also an empathic connection! If there’s anything I love reading about almost as much as vampires, it’s empaths and empathic connections between characters. And the author writes the connection between Thierry and Olivier beautifully.
Speaking of which, the writing is gorgeous with just the right amount of purple prose to suck you in.
[Thierry’s] tension sawed on Olivier’s nerves as tightly as any fiddle, as if the bruises and aching bones weren’t enough. The crowd pressed in on him, every laugh sharp, and every nudge a tightening on a dagger’s hilt.
The settings are also beautifully described with just the right amount of detail to make you feel like you’re there. And because this story covers roughly 700 years, you get to experience multiple times and places (1300s Carcassonne, France; 1700s Saxony; and present day Perth, Australia).
There is also a strong romantic element (not between the twins, much to Olivier’s dismay). In case you like to know what you’re getting into in terms of happy-or-not endings… *SPOILER* It does have a happy ending, but there is tragic yet hopeful love story involving reincarnation before you get there. And the ending is kind of a HFN that I’m assuming will get a more definite conclusion in the third book of the trilogy. *END SPOILER*
Overall, this was a story of love and obsession with sexy-but-deadly vampires, beautiful writing, and complex characters that I absolutely recommend if you’re looking for something dark, violent, and amazing!
*I think this book can work as a standalone if you want it to, however, the rest of the series gives a more complete picture and solid ending for everyone.*
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*
5 Stars (1st Read – 2015)
5 Stars (2nd Read – 2018)
Anyone who likes sexy but deadly vampires, love stories, complex and twisted characters, and beautiful writing.