I’m not sure what I expected of this book, but it was about a million times better than I anticipated. The characters, story, and situation were more exciting than I could have imagined, and it all packed an amazing emotional punch at the end. It’s one of those harder to categorize books: not quite a romance, not quite horror, not quite urban or dark fantasy. However, it includes all of those things in good measure, featuring dynamic characters that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I don’t know whether being Catholic would enhance appreciation for the story and setting, but this very non-Catholic didn’t have any trouble slipping into the world Bauer created. I have no idea how close the author stayed to how the Swiss Guard works, but I appreciated this glimpse into the possible workings of Vatican City in a paranormal-infused world. Alain was the perfect broody hero, Lotario was his delightful foil, and it’s clear from their first interaction that Cristoph will drop a giant wrench in the works.

My favorite part of this book, despite how much it ended up making me cry, was how Bauer teases out the truth about Alain’s past and how it connects to a supposed villain in the story. (Did I cry on the elliptical again? Yup.) This isn’t a story of light versus darkness so much as shadows versus shadows, and I’d be thrilled to read a follow-up story. Though the main plot is tied up, plenty of other conflict remains to be addressed, and I’m definitely interested in a peek into certain characters’ futures together.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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