Today is a first on Pandragon Reviews. Whilst I have reviewed a lot of Romance novels since doing this review post, today is the first Paranormal Gay Romance novel that I have read. Now, I myself am straight, but I have absolutely no problem with LGBT fiction, nor do I feel uncomfortable reading it. Plus, I think it’s time I read a novel that was a little different to the other stuff I’ve been reviewing.
Today’s novel is called Sunset – a story that involves magic, vampires and sci-fi action. It’s written by Arshad Ahsanuddin, who was an absolute gentleman to talk to over email when he sent the request. So let’s get our fangs out and sink them into Sunset.
About The Author (written in the Author’s own words)
By profession, I am a hematopathologist, a laboratory physician who specializes in diagnosis of diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, such as leukaemia and lymphoma. Yes, I realize the irony that I write about vampires. ;)
The Pact Arcanum Saga consists of five books: Sunset, Cathedral of the Sky, Sunrise, Moonlight, and Starlight. It is best described as non-explicit, near-future gay vampire space opera/paranormal romance. The Interscission Project is space opera/time travel/gay romance. The first book is Zenith, available now. A short story, Nadir (Book Zero), is also available free on most distributors.
At first, when I saw this cover, if I didn’t already know the type of story that I would be reviewing, I would have said that this was a swords and sorcery novel. Not that that was a problem of course. This cover is really bright with some elements of dark to it. And the sword just looks wicked!
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
An unlikely savior emerges to prevent the advent of mass destruction and genocide descending on the world…
Los Angeles, 2040. When the terrorist known as Medusa threatens to kill millions with a stolen nuclear bomb, Nick Jameson makes a fateful decision. He reveals himself on global television as a Daywalker - a vampire with a soul. To save Los Angeles, Nick exposes not only his own gifts but three separate cultures based on millennia-old magic.
The three metahuman races exist in careful balance, working to maintain a fragile peace. Nick and his fellow Daywalkers successfully master their natural bloodlust. The Sentinels, armed with both magic and steel, repress their warlike instincts. And even some Nightwalkers, normally their natural enemies, have deserted the Court of Shadows to join the triple alliance. Nick Jameson is deeply involved with two such Nightwalkers - handsome Lorcan and powerful Rory. Both men love Nick. But neither can protect the new Ambassador to Humanity from the events he has set in motion.
By the Sword
Jeremy Harkness was lured into Medusa's service under false pretenses. A loner with no one and nothing to cling to, he was willing to die for his cause. But the night Medusa tried to obliterate Los Angeles, Jeremy met Nick Jameson, triggering the onset of his own psychic gifts. For Jeremy is the third race of metahuman, a Sentinel, born to kill the Nightwalkers with no quarter asked or offered. And neither Medusa nor the Court of Shadows will settle for peace when they can make war.
Betrayal and treachery lurk around every corner on the road to coexistence, and at every turn, Nick must question who to trust among his metahuman allies, friends, and lovers—before their civilization is plunged into the depths of darkness and bloodshed. With millennia-old magic, emerging romance, and ever-shifting allegiances, this inventive series unveils a scintillating, homoerotic world of Nightwalkers, Daywalkers, Sentinels, and Humans, who battle for world dominance in the not-too-distant future.
What I liked
The story was interesting and I found the concept of the three metahuman races really cool to read. Throughout the story, we also got little bits of art from the seals of different houses. This really opened up the world for me and helped expand on the mythos behind the story. There is also a character list and a timeline at the end of the book which helped expand the story without adding too much exposition into the main plot.
The main plot involves around the humans being exposed to the metahuman races thanks to Nick using his magic. Whilst he does this for honourable reasons – it causes a chain of events that spiral out of control for the metahumans. As the mortals learn of their existence, it becomes abundantly clear that an alliance needs to be made with the mortals and the metahumans or else all out war will break. It kinda reminded me a lot about current events in the world, with countries falling apart and making war on each other. I don’t know if that was the authors intention, but it worked well for me.
I did enjoy the way the plot twisted and, whilst you thought you knew who the villains were, the book occasionally throws a spanner into the works that makes you second guess what you thought you knew. Without too many spoilers, I did also find the last part of the book a little bit sad as well. But I’ll say no more for spoiler purposes.
Another main bulk of the story is the (somewhat confusing) love triangle around Nick. It seems that everyone wants a piece of this hunky Daywalker – and why not? I mentioned earlier that this is a gay Paranormal Romance, so you won’t find any hot, steamy sex scenes that you get in other Romance novels. In fact, I actually felt that the sex scenes were quite tame and actually rather sweet. Like I said, I have no problem with LGBT and so I don’t feel uncomfortable reading about this. In fact, I actually thought it was good that the romantic elements worked alongside the main plot, and weren’t just thrown in for the sake of it, so they didn’t act as a distraction to what was going on.
What I didn’t like
As much as I enjoyed the story, I have to be honest – the pace was a little slow in places. It’s not a long book by any means (500 pages or so – but I’ve read A Game of Thrones so this length is nothing), but there are times when the story takes a while to get going. The main plot has a lot of hanging around and not a great deal happens for the first few pages. I understand that the plot was building up, but in my opinion the pace could have picked up a lot sooner.
Also, I have to be honest, I occasionally lost track of the characters throughout the story. There were times when I had to go back and re-read certain segments to remind myself who was what in what context. Luckily the guide at the end filled me in with the details I needed. I’m not saying the characters weren’t fleshed out or not done very well, I just think there may have been a few too many for me to keep up with. But that’s just me.
- Interesting mythos of the metahumans and the supplement material helps expand on this.
- Story twists and turns.
- Romantic scenes aren’t too erotic.
- Fans of LGBT fiction will enjoy this.
CONS (fangs for nothing):
- Plot slow in places.
- Maybe a few too many characters to keep up with.
As a Gay Romance, it works very well and I can see others enjoying it just as well. It probably could have helped if the pace was a little faster, but I am aware that this is the first book in a series – so the other books I’m sure will have a faster pace. But on the whole I enjoyed reading it. It has a lot of great qualities to it – and it’s nice t have a vampire story that doesn’t feel like a Twilight clone. If you like vampire stories or Space Operas, give this one a go.
FINAL SCORE: 4/5