Book Review: Thorns and Fangs (Thorns and Fangs Book 1) by Gillian St. Kevern

When Nate gets hired for his escort services by a family of vampires, he meets Ben, a vampire who isn't like the others and always keeps himself in control so that he won't become a monster. But getting closer to Ben puts Nate in the cross-hairs of a villainous necromancer, one who's been murdering people in the city and who just might choose Nate as his next victim.

Book Review: Thorns and Fangs (Thorns and Fangs Book 1) by Gillian St. Kevern | reading, books, book reviews, paranormal/urban fantasy, lgbt, vampires
Title: Thorns and Fangs
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 455
My Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I struggled with how to rate and review this book because it had potential, a good story, and decent characters… but it was so hard to get into because I spent so much time being confused, rereading paragraphs, just trying to figure things out. So I’m just going to make some lists.

Things I Disliked:

– My main issue was how confusing the writing was. It kept jumping or describing things in a way that threw me off, and sometimes I just felt like I was missing something. Other times, someone would say something or Nate would think something, THEN he’d explain. Like, the first thing would confuse me because it had no context yet or was missing a step in between from the last thing that happened. I needed the context first. I also needed more dialogue tags.

– All the deep conversations about Ben’s control were lost on me. I didn’t understand what Nate was trying to get Ben to do or feel in regards to that, I didn’t understand why his control was a bad thing, and it seemed odd that they literally just met and slept together and then Nate was suddenly an expert on the psychology of Ben.

– The blurb tells you almost the entire plot and is a little misleading since it makes it sound like there will be menage romance, but there’s not (just one menage sex scene).

The first 18% was basically just sex, and it fell flat because I didn’t know the characters yet. Also, I enjoy sex scenes as much as the next person, but I wanted to get to some actual plot already.

I don’t know what the setting was supposed to be. The future? An alternate version of our world? They seemed to have some pretty high-tech stuff, and people all knew about the supernatural, but I don’t recall it being explained (though it’s possible I just missed something).

– This is nitpicky, but I hate to think someone would see it and think it was accurate. You can’t get tested for STDs the day after you have sex and expect an accurate result. Unless this was a highly advanced test (which maybe it was since I don’t know the setting), there’s a length of time you need to wait.

– At one point, Nate described his brother as an “obsessive compulsive weirdo.” I don’t know if the brother actually has OCD (he seemed to me like he might be neurodivergent), and I get that it’s a realistic thing a person might say, but that comment sounded offensive to anyone who does have OCD and maybe anyone who’s neurodivergent.

– It was never explained why Ben in particular couldn’t compel Nate. That was very deus ex machina, unless it’s explained in later books.

Things I Liked:

– Vampires! (No sexy biting though.)

Nate’s abilities were interesting and unique, something I’d never read about before. That was my favorite thing about the book. *SPOILER* He could command plants and was kind of part plant himself. There was one part where his mind went full plant even and he forgot he was human, so that was really unique to read about. *END SPOILER*

The book got more gripping in the second half when the villainous necromancer really came into the story and more stuff started happening.

– As I said, the plot seemed pretty good, and the characters weren’t bad.

So overall, the writing in this book was confusing for me, but I did still enjoy it somewhat, and maybe the confusion was entirely a “me” issue. At least I got to read about some interesting supernatural abilities, and maybe other people will enjoy this more.

Book Blurb

Nate is caught between two dangerously hot vampires who can compel people to do whatever they want and a ruthless necromancer who wants Nate for all the wrong reasons—and that’s only the start of his problems.

Escort Nate prides himself on two things: his ability to please his clients and his normality – living in the monster capital of the world, ordinary is rare. Hunter, a darkly charming vampire with more charisma than is good for him, decides Nate is just what he needs. Nate’s sympathetic nature and skill in the bedroom are put to the ultimate test. But Hunter wants Nate for someone else – his brother, Ben. Nate is immediately attracted by the control with which Ben holds his sensitive nature in force. Too afraid of becoming a monster to allow himself to feel, Ben struggles to resist Nate’s generosity of emotion. As a vindictive necromancer makes Ben his target of revenge, Nate discovers that making people feel good doesn’t compare to making Ben feel. As Nate’s normal world crumbles around him, and he desperately searches for a way to save Ben, Nate is unable to escape becoming the necromancer’s latest victim.

But Nate’s death is only the beginning. Coming back to life in the bathroom of Gunn, a Department Seven officer who hates the vampire family that Ben and Hunter belong to, Nate doesn’t know who to trust or even what he is. As the necromancer’s trap pulls tighter around himself and Ben, Nate is forced to let go of normal and embrace powers he doesn’t fully understand. In defiance of Ben’s vampire sire and hunted by Department Seven, Nate and Ben finally learn to trust and rely on each other. But when the necromancer succeeds in capturing Ben, Nate alone can come to his rescue.

Thorns and Fangs contains adult content suitable for mature readers only.

Basic Info

Book Author:
Genre: , ,
My Rating:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

LGBT+ Rep: ,
Non-Human Type: ,
Relationships/Sex: ,


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  1. Greg

    I feel like setting has to be at least kinda understandable if I’m going to “get” a story. I don’t want to have to guess! Doesn’t mean I want to be spoon fed, but I need something… Interesting abilities of Nate’s too, that’s a new one for me!

    I can see where that throwaway line about OCD might offend someone who actually HAS OCD, too.

    Hopefully the next book cleans up some of the ambiguity a bit… glad you enjoyed it somewhat though!

    Greg recently posted: Bookcover Spotlight #139

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I don’t want to be spoonfed, but I need *some* explanation. The abilities were new for me too though!

      The line just didn’t sound good, and it really wasn’t necessary.

      I mean, I’m not planning on continuing, but hopefully it does explain some things more for anyone who does!

  2. Lorna

    This sounds really strange actually. I love vampires but I hate being confused or not know who is speaking. I think you did better than me-I think I would have stopped at the “spoiler” part. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I never understand when characters who don’t actually know each other well are somehow experts on the other person. And I’m just concerned someone might read that in the book about STD testing and think they can do it that way too! The plant thing was definitely interesting though! Thanks :-)

  3. L

    You stuck with it longer than I would have! If I have to keep reading the same paragraphs over and over again, I stop. I want a story to flow and make pretty pictures in my head. My mind movie is constantly interrupted if I can’t figure out what the author is trying to say.

    I do like the cover–his body as a backdrop against a cemetery, plus the swirls of stars. It’s lovely!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m not much of a DNFer lol. I prefer my stories to flow too, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t get through it at least. I never looked very closely at the cover until now lol. It is kind of pretty!

        1. Kristen Burns

          For me worrying about DNFing just causes more stress. Sometimes I do, when I know that I just really can’t stand the book from the start, and the thing I can’t stand is something I can tell won’t get better (like the writing style). But I’ve had too many books that actually did get better as they went on, and when I DNF, I feel like the time I already invested in the book was wasted.

  4. Cee @ Dora Reads

    I love vamps – but I’ve noticed that I read a lot less of them now when I used to. I think it’s maybe because I don’t have the patience for sub-standard (imho) vamp books. I’ve found the same with urban fantasy, and a lot of other genres too. Reading a lot spoils you for less developed books I guess!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve gotten pickier too, I won’t pick up any book just because it has vampires, although vamps do make me more interested. But I think just reading more in general, especially in one genre, does make it harder to find books that really impress.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, maybe it was my Dory brain that caused me to be confused in the first place since other reviewers didn’t seem to have this problem. Not a good book for us brain-fogged people, I guess lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right? Lol. But I did have some issues. Yeah, it’s ok to leave some dialogue tags off, but there were just times in this one when I couldn’t tell from context who was talking or it was written confusingly, and I just needed more.

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This book sounded like it was going to be kind of interesting and then I read through the cons and I totally get why you had issues with this book. It sucks that it ended up being so confusing when you were reading. By the sounds of it, I would have had to abandon reading. Especially as it was both confusing and you didn’t connect with the characters with all the sex going on at the start. Oh well, it is just one of them.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: The Duchess Deal // Tessa Dare Proves Her Books Only Get Better

  6. Olivia Roach

    I feel like my confusion takes away from the enjoyment of reading for me. Sometimes the confusion is just negative because I feel like I should know what is going on – kind of like your feelings with this one. But sometimes the confusion is because I’m just not getting it even though I can tell the book is brilliant and is very intelligent. Then I just don’t feel smart enough for what I’m reading :P I’m sorry you couldn’t enjoy this one so much. I don’t think I would’ve been able to finish it because although I do like a good sex scene like the next person, when the beginning is JUST that and nothing else I get bored. There’s no plot or character connection to engage me…

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Reading Wrap Up [January & December]

    1. Kristen Burns

      Same for me. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s the book, sometimes I can’t really tell. But it does take away the enjoyment sometimes :-/ But yeah, I really just wanted to get past the sex already lol.