Title: Eye Of The Beholder
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Publication Date: February 8, 2019
Reviewed by Sammy
Is it better to risk it all… or never know what could have been?
After surviving an abusive childhood, Vulcan remade himself upon arriving in Los Angeles, California. He became a blacksmith for the paranormal community and strives to earn the respect of the vampire covens and werewolf packs that call LA home. He also prevents the pain of loss by keeping everyone at arm’s length.
But he never planned on meeting a former Roman soldier by the name of Marcus Cassius Vespillo. Something sparks between them and turns into a friendship he never considered possible. He can’t deny his intense attraction to the intelligent, courteous, ancient vampire. And it scares him.
Though Vulcan is wary of seeking more with Cassius, an attack leaves him at death’s door and forces him to reexamine his priorities. But Cassius has his own secret, one that promises tragedy and loss. And if that wasn’t enough, a slayer arrives in the States, one with a bloody connection to Cassius… and Vulcan himself.
Eye of the Beholder is my first M.D. Grimm novel but it certainly won’t be my last. I really appreciated that the author took the time to construct the world in which the paranormal and humans lived in such a way as to make the reader feel a part of the action. Also, I liked how this novel chose to focus on ancient vampires and the consequences of their old age going as far as spelling out the few things that could slow but not stop the inevitable consequences of living such a long life and what it does to the paranormal psyche. But what I really loved above all else was the way in which Vulcan, the human counterpart, recognized that he was living amongst dangerous creatures and had a healthy dose of skepticism when dealing with all the paranormals he had business dealings with which gave him a very realistic feel.
Vulcan had an abusive start to life and after running away from a father who made his life hell, he found himself in LA, living on the street and stealing from the wrong person. That man ended up taking him in and teaching him how to work metal to near genius perfection. As a blacksmith to the paranormal community, Vulcan was very careful to remain independent which allowed him to serve both the werewolves and vampires who requested his services. That wariness served him well when his mentor was suddenly taken from him and it was clear that it had been done by someone intent on harming Vulcan as well. When the queen of the vampires told Vulcan they would get to the bottom of who was responsible he knew she would not go back on her promise to him. However such promises come with strings and that meant that occasionally Vulcan was requested to attend social events and it was at one such evening that he met an ancient vampire—a former roman prefect, Cassius.
Cassius knows what he wants and Vulcan is it. However, that same reluctance that has saved Vulcan from being dependent on any supernatural also slows any ideas of courtship between he and Vulcan. When Vulcan is made to understand that it’s his interactions with Cassius that are actually slowing down the feral process threatening the ancient vamp, Vulcan realizes he must decide to either pursue a relationship or bail—it doesn’t help that both Cassius and Vulcan also have a slayer hellbent on ending them both.
I loved the courtship between these two characters. While I felt Vulcan took a bit too long to make his decision regarding Cassius I really appreciated the author having her man think through just how much a relationship with a vampire would not only impact his business, which he loved, but also change his life forever. Cassius was divine. Not at all designed like vampires who tend to enthrall or manipulate their prey in most novels in this genre, Cassius was much more controlled when it came to blood thirst as well. The dialogue between Cassius and Vulcan was so different from other novels as well. I really enjoyed the mini history lessons that occurred when these two chatted—they were not only interesting but really exposed who Cassius was and what made him tick.
Eye of the Beholder had a great deal going for it—it was a departure from the normal paranormal fare with rich characters and interesting subplots that kept the reader on the edge of their seat. The heightened sense of danger made the book move swiftly and the slow burning romance ended with a lovely epilogue that felt just right—never contrived or rushed. This was a good story and one that I think many will enjoy.
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