Book Review: Crimson Halo by Daniel May

It’s hard to do something “new” with vampire romance, but sometimes authors forget that they can lean into existing tropes and find ways to make them original. May does an amazing job with this book in portraying the inherent inhumanity of immortality while still making Seth a compelling and very human character. After all, a midlife crisis is identifiable even when it comes after thousands of years of existence. And though Seth is unique in his own right, no man (or vampire) is an island, and May also has a lovely and unique take on how vampire culture has adapted to a changing modern world.

This book does have a romance aspect, and I thoroughly enjoyed Drew’s character. However, I would also argue that the romantic arc supports the true meat of this story, which is Seth’s character development. Not that Drew is merely a supporting character here—he’s integral to both Seth’s emotional awakening and the external plot that elevates this from typical paranormal romance to a more intricate cross-genre work that should also appeal to lovers of darker fiction.

The back cover description warns of thriller elements, and there are certainly moments here that are darker than expected for a standard love story. Day walks a fine line in keeping the darkness thematic to the tone and not verging into creepiness that would distract from the narrative. He also uses Drew’s perspective to create a good mingling of modern psychology and religious phenomena that also highlights the supernatural elements of this story.

It’s not all dark and dreary, however, because May balances those moments well with hilarious and delightful interactions between Seth’s chosen family that provide a glimpse into an intriguing society. I’m more than happy with the solid ending and surprisingly unconventional happily ever after in this story, but I’d love to come back to this world if May chooses to write more. He’s proved to have a fantastic grasp of what makes a compelling vampire story in a field saturated by stereotypes.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars
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Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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