*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*
I was a little hesitant to read this book as I didn’t love the first one. But I enjoyed certain things, there was potential there, and the issues I had seemed like the type of things that could improve, and it turns out I made the right decision in continuing the series!
Instead of judgmental and condescending, Reylan was actually funny this time, and I could tell how much he cared about his people, so he was much more likeable. There was also very little, if any, breaking of the fourth wall, so I wasn’t thrown out of the story by the narration. And the dialogue felt a lot more natural.
In addition to the improvements, I liked the unique relationship dynamics between Reylan and Jorgas (his werewolf lover), as well as between Reylan and Brett (his human thrall A.K.A. mannequin). I still would’ve liked to see the relationships explored more in depth, but they were interesting and complicated nonetheless. Sometimes they were even kinda sweet.
I also once again liked the violent and darkish aspects of the book. And, in relation to that, the author did a good job of making the sex scenes dark without making them the stereotypical BDSM you usually find in books. There was no tying up, but Reylan and Jorgas did seem to like a maybe-not-so-healthy dose of violence with their sex, and there was even one scene that seemed more like blood play than regular vampire sex since Reylan used a mirror shard to slice Jorgas and then lick up the blood rather than directly biting him. But again it was all consensual, and of course there was sexy biting too ;-)
The last thing I really liked was that this book wasn’t all happy and predictable. Numerous things happened that I wasn’t expecting, including the ending.
There were still a few moments when I got confused, and I didn’t understand all the politics or what was actually going on with Jorgas’s father and the bad guy, but those were small things because the focus of the story was really the supernatural troubles and the people in Reylan’s life.
So overall, I’m happy that I chose to continue the series. I’ve started feeling invested in Reylan, Jorgas, and Brett, I enjoyed their unique relationship dynamics, and I’m curious to see how things will continue to pan out!
I feel pretty much the same. A bit of confusion here and there in the writing, but overall a great book with some interesting relationships and some darkness.
Fans of Book 1 in Christian Baines's Arcadia Trust series. Anyone who likes m/m paranormal, a fairly classic and sexy version of vampires, complex relationship dynamics, and some darkness.
More Books in the Series:
Book Review: The Beast Without (Arcadia Trust Book 1) by Christian Baines
Book Review: The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust Book 2) by Christian Baines
Book Review: Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust Book 3) by Christian Baines
Reylan’s last assignment for The Arcadia Trust brought a rebellious human servant under his roof, and a volatile werewolf lover named Jorgas into his bed, leaving the self-reliant Blood Shade–known to the outside world as vampires–in no hurry to risk his immortality for them again. But when a new terror starts disappearing humans from a bad part of town, Reylan must do everything in his power to keep Sydney’s supernatural factions from the brink of war. Having an ambitious, meddlesome human in the mix is only going to make things worse…especially when that human is Jorgas’s father. Reylan will need all his determination and cunning to keep the peace under his roof, between the night’s power brokers, and in his lover’s troubled heart.