When young Danny Crawford’s father and a priest conspire to subject him to conversion therapy, Danny only sees one way out. But little does Danny know he’ll soon have a sentinel watching from the darkness, a guardian angel in the most unlikely form imaginable.
Damien, a vampire, is inexplicably moved by Danny’s plight. He takes it upon himself to make sure Danny’s father and the priest can never hurt him again, giving Danny a chance at a normal life. As Danny grows up, Damien struggles to keep the boy—and later the young man—from harm. He does not dare go any further, no matter how much he wants to. To do so would ruin everything he’s tried to do for Danny. He doesn’t realize that as Danny embarks on a successful modeling career and begins dating, Danny feels empty, longing for something—or someone—just beyond his reach: a shadow, a presence he despairingly believes forever lost to him.
When brutality and violence threaten Danny again, Damien must make a decision—risk revealing himself to Danny, or leave Danny to his fate.
I waffled when I saw this offered up for review. I was a little leery because it’s a long(er) book by a new author and I worry about that. I love reading new authors, but if it’s not a great book then the shorter the better, right? I also try to pick books I can give good reviews to because I’m not here to do anything but read good books and recommend them!
Unfortunately, this is one of those cases when a gamble on a new author didn’t work out.
The first thing that bothered me was the main character, Damien. I didn’t like him and that never changed. He’s supposed to be an anti-hero, I get that, and he’s not a “nice” vampire, I get that, too. But we aren’t given any sort of motivation for why he acts like he does. Is it just vampire nature that makes him kill? Why does he kill when he feeds, is it possible to not kill and still feed? Why is he so angry? These are questions that I wanted answers to so that I could understand him as he made the decisions he did. I needed more world building to explain this and I needed it in the beginning so I could bond with him as a character.
There’s a part when book vampires are contrasted with “real” vampires (Damien) and it was mostly stuff about sunlight, garlic, holy water, etctera. What I wanted to know was – why did Damien turn into a vampire? Where are the other vampires? If Damien could be turned why doesn’t he turn others? That kind of stuff. So it was frustrating not understanding his motivations or his actions as a vampire. Then it was also difficult understanding his motivations as a guardian then boyfriend.
When Damien meets Danny he puts on a priest’s outfit (presumably to feed off a dying patient) and instead sees something in Danny that spurs Damine into becoming his guardian. I never did understand what in Danny made Damien change so dramatically. Their relationship just always felt “off” to me and I found I wasn’t really rooting for them to succeed.
Their physical relationship is off page, and while that is disappointing, a good romance doesn’t NEED lots of sex to be good (but it helps, am I right? : ) . But, I was lost sometimes trying to figure out if they were even intimate at all or still in the ward/guardian phase. They’d kiss on the cheek, but then I’d read about separate beds, then they’d kiss on the cheek and now they’re in the same bed. I think I needed it to be more revealing as to how their relationship changed from ward to boyfriend and why.
Finally, the writing style itself just didn’t work for me. I’d be reading along in Danny’s POV and then there’d be a line or two from someone else’s perspective. I had to read and re-read many times to figure out who was thinking what. There was a lot of telling and not nearly enough showing.
While I wouldn’t say that I’d never read another book by this author, I’d definitely look for a shorter story and then I’d be reluctant to offer to review it without reading it first.
1.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review