*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that sucked me in so much that I kinda forgot real life existed until I finished and looked up in a daze, but that’s what this book did. And I’m surprised at how sad I am to say goodbye to these characters!
I have developed a total soft spot for Matheus, Quin, and Alistair. They’re all such great, complex characters, and I love them. I also feel oddly proud of them for how much they all have grown. Matheus matured and became not only a leader but also his own person rather than someone whose decisions were all influenced by his father. Quin learned how to open up a bit and trust Matheus and take a backseat sometimes. And Alistair grew a backbone and learned to stand on his own.
This book still had a lot of silliness, sarcasm, and humor, but it also had more emotion, heaviness, and darkness than the others, and to tell you the truth, it’s those emotional parts that stood out the most to me. I felt terrible for Alistair. The poor man was already struggling with the whole immortality thing (i.e. he’s outlived every human he’s known), and then *SPOILER* it’s like every man he has feelings for ends up leaving him, in some way or another. And probably the scene that affected me the most was when Alistair was begging and pressuring Matheus to have sex with him, and then, when Matheus complied and was kissing his way down Alistair’s body, Alistair just started sobbing and told Matheus to keep going. It was just heartbreaking because it was so painfully clear that Alistair was not ok. *END SPOILER* I also felt terrible for Matheus. He was struggling with a lot since he was under so much pressure and felt guilty and stressed and worried about a lot of things, and then the things he went through… I don’t know how he didn’t break. *SPOILER* Ugh, that scene when Matheus was being tortured and finally just couldn’t take it and started begging his dad in German. He knew his dad was a delusional, insane SOB, but he just started begging… And his dad, being the way he was, seemed to truly believe that this wasn’t Matheus, that this was some demon wearing his skin, and so he couldn’t handle it speaking to him like Matheus, looking at him with Matheus’s eyes… *END SPOILER* If he didn’t have any mental illnesses before this series started, he probably does now (he seemed to have PTSD and panic attacks by the end). Even Quin had some struggles, though his were more toward the beginning when he was struggling with amnesia and felt like he was going insane. Not to mention the physical scars (not badass or pretty ones) that will always remind these characters of this horrible time. So yeah. Even though characters and interactions in this series were often exaggerated a bit for the sake of humor, the emotional and intense scenes stayed realistic and well-written with a lot of nuanced, complex emotion.
“Alistair’s survived a lot. It makes you hard.”
Or you get brittle. Too many cracks, patches hastily slapped on. Alistair had a lot of cracks. Matheus didn’t know if Alistair had enough mortar to fix them all.
Buuuut, on a less heavy note, this book also had more sexy bits than the previous two. It was more explicit, and it even had some BDSM. Matheus really does have a kinky side ;-)
Speaking of the romance, we finally got an explanation in this book for why Quin turned and claimed Matheus! And it only added to the swoon-factor of the original Sunshine nickname explanation.
“Haven’t you ever met someone who stuck in your mind? Someone you couldn’t shake loose? Someone who glowed so brightly, you thought you’d never miss the sun again?”
Also, I think Matheus has been taking how-to-be-terrifying lessons from Quin because I definitely got a total Quin vibe when he was screwing with the guards near the end.
One last thing, please please PLEASE do not let that cover scare you off. I mean no offense to the publisher, but the cover looks very “typical angsty teenage vampire romance,” doesn’t match the book AT ALL, and looks nothing like the covers for the previous books.
Audiobook Update: I’ve read this series the regular way, and I have now also listened to the audiobooks. The narrator, James Patrick Cronin, is good at narrating, has a nice voice, and does a fairly good job of differentiating characters with voices and accents, but I didn’t like how he voiced Quin and Alistair throughout the series. I didn’t mind the voices so much as the way he spoke in a less natural, more dramatic way. Their tone didn’t always match the emotion and situation behind the words. Maybe I’m just being extra picky because this is one of my favorite series, but it made it hard for me to sink into the emotional scenes with those characters. The other characters sounded ok though. I’d recommend reading the normal way if possible if you’re a picky listener like I am. But if it’s not possible, go for the audiobooks. They were still decent. I recommend listening to the first two on 1.15x speed.
Seriously though, this whole series has been a fantastic combination of sarcastic humor mixed with darker intensity and complex emotion, and this was a great ending that wrapped up all the important loose ends without going overboard or being too perfect. These characters went through some tough stuff, they were bound to be affected by it, some people were bound to die, but there was growth and friendship and love and happiness too. Overall, I was sucked in by all the books in this series, it’s one of my all-time favorites and only gets better with rereads, and these characters have a special place in my heart!
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in Amy Fecteau's Real Vampires Don't Sparkle series. Anyone who likes M/M vampire books, sarcastic characters with fun banter, slow burn romance, and a good combo of darkness, intensity, emotion, and humor.
More Books in the Series:
Matheus believes that getting Quin back will help him deal with the pressures of a vampiric war, but his hopes crumble after his soulmate fails to remember him.
The tattered remnant of their mystical connection appears to drive Quin’s erratic suicidal behavior, threatening their bond and their very existence. While Matheus pines for his former love, a hurt and betrayed Alastair must watch the man he loves chase another. Feeling inadequate as a leader, Matheus searches for a way to make Quin remember him, no matter the cost.
With Apollonia is closing in on their home, he must act soon. And to make matters worse, his mortal―and pregnant―sister begrudgingly sets aside her contempt for vampires to ask his help to protect her unborn child from their insane father.
Terrified of losing Quin for good and of facing his father, Matheus faces a damning choice: kill the man he loves or attempt an untested ritual that might destroy them both.
Book Author: Amy Fecteau
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Series: Real Vampires Don't Sparkle
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 5
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series