This book picks up moments after the close of the previous series set in the same world, and includes many of those previous heroes as significant secondary characters, so I’m not sure how well this book works as a stand-alone. However, as someone who did read and enjoy that previous series, I was already more than ready to be invested in Ferry and his mysterious past. Taylor doesn’t pull any punches with a tragic and poignant backstory that had me in tears by the end of the first chapter. This is less a “fated mates” story and more a tale of reuniting with one’s soulmate, featuring an interesting twist on the amnesia trope along the way.
I had a few world-building quibbles with this book, especially Ferry’s easy acclimation to modern human society. A few exceptions are thrown in for humorous effect, but I expected quite a few more basic “fish out of water” moments as Ferry stalks (there’s no other appropriate descriptor) his mate. I enjoyed his character and personality overall, but it was still a bit jarring to read, and I had some difficulty with suspension of disbelief. Leo, on the other hand, is a wonderful hero that I adored immediately. His internal character development as he grapples with his interest with (and attraction to) Ferry felt natural, despite the fated mate connection that instigates it. I didn’t love the blatant manipulation of Leo’s feelings by well-meaning secondary characters, demons or not. It made sense based on my familiarity with them, but new readers without that benefit may have a more negative reaction.
The buildup to the external villain is subtly sinister, with the full reveal equally surprising and satisfying. Ferry’s mysterious affliction is also compelling, especially when these two conflicts nicely compound each other to crank up the danger. Though the illness has a relatively simple solution, Taylor throws decent roadblocks in our heroes’ way that made me genuinely fear for their future, despite the genre promise of a happily ever after.
In this series debut, Taylor also introduces a handful of new secondary characters and reinforces a few familiar faces who are all definitely in line for stories of their own. I have a few predictions, but overall, I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised by future installments of what promises to be another solid paranormal romance series by this author.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.