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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review - The Lost Books 1&2 by Evangeline Anderson

Title: The Lost Books 1&2

Author: Evangeline Anderson

Publisher: Loose Id, LLC

Buy The Lost Books 1&2 Here!

Rating: You Want to Read (Individual ratings below)

Reviewed by: Patchcat

Enter the world of The Lost, a tribe of vampires who are sworn to coexist with humans while leaving them strictly alone. However, that isn’t always possible…

The Lost 1: Broken Vows: Daniel's looking for answers about his sexuality. He’s sure just one night with an older, experienced man will finally answer the questions that have been tormenting him for years. But he doesn’t expect the older man to be a gorgeous vampire named Gabrielle. It’s love at first sight for Daniel but Gabrielle has made a vow not to interfere in human affairs.

The Lost 2: Blood Hustler: James became a vampire almost two hundred years ago and recently lost his only companion. Even though he's lonely, the grief's too fresh to be looking for another man to fill the hole in his heart. Then Tad, a young street hustler, offers to sell James the best sex he’s ever had. James knows he shouldn’t bind a human to him, especially one as young as Tad who hasn’t experienced life yet, but the boy’s hungry heart calls to his own.

Let me start this off by explaining the rating. These were two very different stories with very different tones and quality. For that reason, I’ve split the difference and given the overall rating I have. Also, since the stories were so different, I’ll be giving each its own review. So! Away we go!

The Lost 1: Broken Vows
Rating: You Could Read

I had a little trouble with the premise of this story. We start off with our main character, Daniel, on a bus, on his way to what I presume to be the local gay strip. Not so much of an issue until you find out that the reason Daniel’s on that bus is because he thinks he might be gay and wants to pick up – and, one would assume, sleep with – some random stranger in order to prove, once and for all, that he is, indeed, gay.

Now, I do think that I might not have had so much trouble with this if the author had taken things a little farther than she did. Yes, we’re told that Daniel has been dealing with his father’s bigotry for a while and that he’s just a bit conflicted over his sexuality. But we aren’t ever shown any of that. By the time we get into the heart of the matter – the sex – Daniel isn’t really all that conflicted. And that left me a little disappointed.

Something else I had an issue with was the dialog during sex. Just a little note about that: “Fuck” is not sexy. It’s a real turn-off to read someone speaking of love and then see them refer to the act as “fucking.” The mood was a lot tenderer than I, personally, associate with that word; and seeing it right there in the middle of the scene just threw me.

The relationship itself felt very rushed, and I didn’t have a whole lot invested in the characters themselves. For that reason, their separation wasn’t as upsetting as I think the author may have been trying for. The build-up at the end helped a bit, but the whole thing was still very rushed.

All that said, though, the story was decent. I would have loved to have had a little more information on the Lost themselves and on what made Gabriel decide to take up the path that he had. The sex was hot, even if some of Gabriel’s speech was a little stilted and “people don’t talk that way!” and when I ignored the things that turned me off, I found myself able to enjoy what I was reading. That I had to do that, however, is why this is a solid You Could Read.

The Lost 2: Blood Hustler
Rating: You Need to Read

Now, this is what I was missing in the first story. The characters are believable, there’s build-up in the relationship, and that build-up is completely plausible. I had no trouble believing that James was very attracted to Tad. Given his history and the time period in which he grew up, taking in a stray waif is perfectly plausible.

I greatly enjoyed the interactions between these two characters. Tad’s gruff manner and way of speaking was a wonderful contrast to James’ more refined and cultured ones. I also loved that there was a little more explanation of The Lost themselves. This is what I was looking for in the first story but didn’t get, and it was very nice to see it here.

I loved these characters. They have depth, and I found myself really interested and invested in the outcome of the story. I also found myself wanting to reach through the screen and strangle James for that stunt with the memory adjustments. He made up for it, but still…

The sex here was incredibly fulfilling. Especially considering that it aided in the growth of the characters’ relationship. James’ discovery and understanding of Tad’s hang-ups was both endearing and helped to establish his caring nature. What can I say? I’m a sucker for sex that helps advance the plot or enhances characterization, and that was very much evident here.

The only thing that kept this story from being a very solid You Gotta Read is that the ending was very predictable. After a certain point, I knew exactly what was going to happen before it did. It was no surprise when Tad’s tormentor met his end, and not surprise that James would be there when he was needed most.

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