More Than Blood (Book 1)
This paranormal romance story includes a cast of intriguing characters and plenty of sexy bits. However, is it wrong to wish that the book had included more of the worldbuilding and plot than romance-related drama? As much as I enjoyed meeting Karter and the vampire den to whom he finds himself in service, so many details dropped about the “outside” world intrigued me a lot more than how Karter came to enjoy his place with Weston’s crew of vampires.
A strong warning for tentative readers: Karter is there as a source of food for the vampires, and that’s not always sexy. Depending on your tolerance level, a significant portion of the sex in this book isn’t very sexy either. I imagine it all depends on how much a reader can suspend their disbelief in sharing headspace with a protagonist who only looks human on the outside (and then only sometimes). Alepoú depicts Karter very much as a “werewolf,” and the vampires are bloodthirsty monsters (with various definitions of monster), rather than humans who can turn into a wolf and prefer red wine with dinner.
Outside of the feeding and sexual dynamics (which are sometimes separate, sometimes together), the romance element isn’t emphasized too much. We’re “shown” how well Karter meshes with each of these men, but there’s little thought process behind it other than a need to fulfill desire. And while I understand Karter’s interest in two of the vampires, Weston and Braydon, I was incredibly unclear on the reasoning behind his need for the other two. I’m interested in reading the next book in this series mostly to see how Karter continues to fit in his new “pack.”
And because Edison is delightful for a cranky, undead workaholic. Honestly, I’d read pretty much anything about him having to deal with his crazy vampire family.
Their Blood (Book 2)
One of my pet peeves in any book, romance genre or otherwise, is when a significant portion of the conflict could be avoided by characters talking to each other. Especially in romance stories, communication is key to a healthy relationship, so I have little patience for characters keeping information to themselves or causing hurt because it’s “better” for the other partner. Multiple examples of this issue occur in this book because apparently, vampires are gonna vampire, which seems to mean being overdramatic jerks in paranormal romance stories. This causes a lot of emotional pain for Karter, which had me aching for him, and a lot of emotional distress for the vampires, which mostly made me want to smack them.
However, I do appreciate that these problems in paradise end up showing the reader vastly more worldbuilding than was present in the first book. This includes more information about wolf shifter society, mages and magic use, the reigning vampires, and the vampires attempting to usurp that throne. I especially love that Weston makes such a big deal about how terrible his family is, but that his brother and sire are…not that bad, actually. This story also features intriguing secondary characters who round out Karter’s life. While the purpose of their inclusion is relatively apparent from the beginning, that did not stop me from enjoying them. I look forward to reencountering them in future installments to this series.
The expanded worldbuilding goes hand-in-hand with exciting external conflict in which Karter’s vampires have to come to his rescue and show off how badass they are. But Karter is not a damsel in distress, and he puts forth a valiant effort in saving himself. The resulting climactic finale is brutal and blood-soaked, reminding readers that paranormal romance can be just as dark as it can be sexy.