*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review. Quotes used were from an ARC and may be different in the final copy.*
I have to admit, I’ve stayed away from paranormal romance lately, but I’m glad I took a chance on this book because I really enjoyed it!
I actually had the wrong idea of what this story would be like though. For some reason, I was expecting something along the lines of Benjamin being kidnapped and held captive and the two men falling in love during that time, but that was not at all what the story was. There was no captivity or Stockholm Syndrome. Instead, it was pretty much that they both wanted to kill each other but Tzadkiel needed Benjamin alive for the time being, and Benjamin was just waiting for the right opportunity, and then they ended up with a common goal (even though Tzadkiel still wanted to kill Benjamin). Both men thought the other was a monster, and I could completely understand why, but the irony was that neither really was a monster. And other than one really sappy conversation during a battle scene, their romance was full of tension but ultimately sweet and overall believable considering the premise.
Now let’s talk about Benjamin because <3 <3 <3 [incoherent mumbling and cooing]. He was kind of one of those perfectly imperfect characters whose flaws only seemed to make him more lovable, and sometimes I complain about that, but not this time because I just loved him! He had weaknesses and vulnerabilities and emotional scars. He had some insecurities about his blindness and his facial scars, not so much because of how it affected his life (he could still get around and do everything) but more because he felt like people judged him, were only interested in him because of pity or because they figured he’d be easy, etc. He was also a self-proclaimed alcoholic who drank often to try and forget his problems. Self harm and mental illness in his past were also hinted at (but they were never explained or present in the story). So yeah, Benjamin was prickly, but it was only because of the walls he built up, and I kind of just wanted to give him a big hug and make everything all better.
Benjamin also had some of the BEST descriptions (in Tzadkiel’s POV) that I have ever read. I’ll show you all an example of just one of them so you can understand:
There had been a moment when Tzadkiel had reached the top of the stairs and had seen Benjamin slouching indolently in the velvet and leather wingback chair. Long legs sprawled open, sunglasses reflecting the sparkle of the somewhat gritty bar’s ironic chandeliers, the hunter had looked half pirate and half king of his chosen realm.
The story outside of the romance was also good, but I was more interested in the characters and the romance.
The only thing that disappointed me was that the blindness was mostly canceled out by magical abilities that basically allowed Benjamin to see when he was near Tzadkiel (just in purple light instead of all the colors). That was a shame since, before that, the portrayal of the blindness seemed great with all the little mentions of things, like how Benjamin was able to get around the city by memorizing certain things, and how he poured drinks by listening to the sound of the liquid in the glass to know when it was full. The book also covered some misconceptions, like how blind people don’t have other supersenses. But then he could basically see, so that stuff wasn’t in the book anymore.
So overall, the disability rep could’ve been better, but I really enjoyed the story, the writing, the romance, and the characters!
*Note: This is part of a series and leaves some of the broader plot threads open, but it works well as a standalone since the next book is about different main characters.*
Anyone who likes M/M paranormal romance with vampires, lovably imperfect characters, enemies-to-lovers, and equal relationships (i.e. no alpha male).