Monday, February 18, 2019

Random Review: The Escape Trilogy by Sara Dobie Bauer #Review #Giveaway

The Escape Trilogy by Sara Dobie Bauer

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?

Ancient vampire Andrew escaped his tropical island exile with his beloved human sailor, Edmund. They’ve now returned to Andrew’s home in nineteenth-century New Orleans and must navigate not only their developing relationship—and equally haunted pasts—but also a hungry coven of vampires Andrew used to call friends.

Desperate to stay by Andrew’s side forever, Edmund examines the impressive coven library in search of an Elder, the only creature capable of turning Edmund. Although missing for centuries, Andrew believes an Elder must still survive somewhere; they just have to find him.

The search is put on hold when Edmund receives word that his mother is ill in London, and the lovers set off on an oceanic journey surrounded by new friends and old enemies. When things go terribly wrong, Edmund’s fragile human life hangs in the balance, and an Elder must be found or Andrew will be alone forever.

Their ocean journey was successful, and Andrew and Edmund found an Elder just in time. As they wished, Edmund is now a vampire like Andrew. They have eternity together, but first, they must visit Edmund's ailing mother in the English countryside with their flock of immortals, including the Elder, who has taken an ominous liking to his new creation.

When they arrive at Edmund's family estate, his sick mother and her loathsome best friend await them. While ducking religious curses, Edmund struggles to harness an unexpected power gifted him by the Elder. Andrew fears for his beloved as Edmund becomes more and more monstrous—but vampires have always been monsters, haven't they?

A battle is coming, for Edmund's heart and his soul, and Andrew will lose neither. He escaped island exile and a near tragedy at sea to be with Edmund, the beautiful young sailor he loves. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.



Escaping Exile

As if it wasn’t enough that he was sent away for overindulging his desires to possess another person so completely as to drain them dry in order to feel the linked to their soul, Andrew was also sent to an island where the only inhabitants were bloodthirsty cannibals-hardly a tempting or satisfying meal for a vampire. Plus it meant the chances for any shipwrecks at sea to actually have any survivors once the cannibals lit upon them were slim to none. But maybe his luck was changing, for there was one man who he managed to grab before the natives got him.

Edmund was not a stranger to the sea. He was an explorer who studied new species he found on his many journeys. What he didn’t expect was for the sudden violent storm to destroy his ship and leave him the sole survivor. Washed up on a beach with a head injury meant he could barely manage to stay awake much less take shelter. His gratitude to the man who rescued him was short lived however when he discovered that Andrew was something far more sinister than just a fellow survivor. Edmund’s life now hangs in the balance should Andrew give in to his natural inclinations. Now to see which foe was more dangerous—the one that attracted Edmund in so many ways or the one that threatened to tear him to pieces. Either way his blood would be spilled and death a certainty.

Thus, author Sara Dobie Bauer begins her trilogy of novellas with the first one, Escaping Exile. Despite the shorter length, Ms. Bauer packs a whole lot of story and action into a short amount of page time. With both Andrew and Edmund’s back stories to explain as well as how Andrew even ended up on the remote island they both find themselves on, it takes some clever and skilled writing to create fully fleshed out characters in such a short time. Thankfully for us this author has such skill and uses it to weave a story that has me thirsty for more.

While I find myself pitying Andrew, it’s Edmund who really captivated me right from the start. He has such energy—such light and you can understand instantly why Andrew would be so taken with him. Plus there is a naughty side to the seemingly formal British naturalist that is rather delicious to read about. Edmund is the reason you almost forget, as does Andrew, that they are on a dangerous island and that death waits in every shadow. When the author chooses to remind us of that fact it’s very jolting—much as it is for the characters themselves and so you feel the same sense of shock and fear they do. I love that. I think it’s just brilliant when a writer can enthrall you so completely and lull you into this false sense of security only to remind you time and again that this isn’t some tender romance but a terrifying action adventure that has deadly consequences.

Escaping Exile was a fantastic start to this series and left me wanting more. I’m not sure one can give higher praise to a story than that. I look forward to 
reading the next novella in this series.

Escaping Solitude

Sara Dobie Bauer continues her Exile trilogy with the second installment, Escaping Solitude. Picking up where the first, Escaping Exile, left off we meet up with Andrew and Edmund as they return to New Orleans and begin their life together. As Edmund and Andrew become closer and declarations of love are exchanged, we learn more about Edmund and his past, particularly his relationship with his mother, whom he loves despite her trying to cure him of his attraction to men in his late teen years. We also watch as Michelle and Felipe become more and more enamored of Edmund while Andrew watches over him in order to keep him safe, just in case they get too familiar with his lover. But most importantly, Michelle, the undisputed queen of the New Orleans coven, shows Edmund her personal library and he begins the task of trying to discover the whereabouts of an elder—one who will be able to change Edmund into a vampire—something both he and Andrew want. However, news from home will interrupt their plans and steer their course for England first. While at sea a violent storm will rise and claim a victim—now there is precious little time to find the elder before it is too late.

This second novel takes us deep into the steamy underbelly of New Orleans with its debauchery and lust for life taking center stage. Edmund and Edmund will declare their love for each other and enjoy a lusty night at Andrew’s favorite brothel where one of the novel’s most sensuous sex scenes will take place with two of the brothel’s finest male whores. We get to see more of Michelle and Felipe in this novella as well. Those who read the first in this series will remember Felipe as the one who essentially got Andrew into the trouble that finally broke Michelle’s patience and landed him on the deserted island. Thankfully we get to eventually see that Felipe is not all bad—definitely naughty and cunning but he still has a bit of his humanity in tact as does Michelle. I enjoyed hearing more about Edmund’s past and watching the relationship between he and Andrew develop. Once Edmund discovers exactly where the elder has been keeping himself the race is on to find the vampire so that Edmund may be made immortal. However, things don’t quite go to plan and this one ends on a real cliffhanger—with Edmund’s life in the balance and sinking fast.

I move on now to the last book in this trilogy. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out and if Edmund survives. Suffice it to say that if he doesn’t neither will Andrew. Also there is the fact that Edmund has repeatedly told Andrew that he likes killing. While that may seem macabre it does fit in with Edmund’s personality and it makes one wonder what kind of vampire he will turn out to be. Will Andrew, who has since turned over a new leaf and refrains from taking blood from others, be able to rein Edmund in if he has a lust for blood once he’s turned? Will Edmund and Andrew actually find the elder and will he be willing to turn Edmund? If so, at what cost? So many questions to be answered in this next novella. I can’t wait to read the ending to this exciting trilogy.

Escaping Mortality

With the release of Escaping Mortality, Sara Dobie Bauer finishes her Escape trilogy and the story of the vampire Andrew and his lover, Edmund. Once again this third book begins as the one before it ends but we now know if Edmund was successful in calling forth the elder from the depths of the ocean and the price he paid for the mortality Brien the elder was able to give him. From there it’s home to England only to discover his mother has lost her mind to dementia and a woman who hates him has been taking care of Edmund’s mother while he was away. Edmund will have to contend with her and so much more. Although Andrew is by Edmund’s side, he worries about the behavior he sees his lover beginning to exhibit. More than just mortality was given to Edmund when the elder Brien remade him and Andrew fears the man he loves may slowly be losing his battle with the evil that lives inside the dead, cold heart of every vampire.

What an amazing ending to this fantastic trilogy. First, we get to see Edmund being reborn and all that it does to him. Then we watch as he returns home to both a mad mother and countrymen who love and hate him in equal parts. We discover even more about the legacy that Edmund left behind him when he ran from this mother’s attempt to “cure” him of his sexual orientation and not many are happy to see the Duke home again for good reason. But it’s Brien’s hold on Edmund that worries Andrew the most. He fears that every time Brien replenishes Edmund’s blood, after the newly made vampire uses his powers, the ancient one claims even more of the man he loves. There is going to be a reckoning in this novella and it’s unclear up to the very end just who will win and if Edmund can hold on to the small piece of his soul that was left after his change.

With a lovely epilogue, intense action and multiple plot twists, the author brings her two lovers full circle. There will be some before it’s all over but there will also be triumph. I wish this series could go on and on. I have enjoyed reading about Andrew and Edmund so much and love that there story got the happy ever after it deserved. Fans of the first two installments will love this final book. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.


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