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Book Two in a Four Book Series. The wizards and the vampires have forged an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. A few wizard-vampire bonds are as successful as Alain Magnier’s and Orlando St. Clair’s, but some are much less so, leading to arguments, resentment, and outright fights between the allies despite their mutual goals. Following his best friend Alain’s example, Thierry Dumont determinedly forms a partnership with vampire Sebastien Noyer, despite the wizard’s discomfort with being so close to a vampire a man so soon after his wife’s death. But they find that desperation may be the key to forming a covenant that works: Thierry and Sebastien are almost immediately devoted to one another’s safety. With new strength behind it, the Alliance’s leaders move to announce its existence to the whole world, hoping to rally support against the dark wizards who threaten to destroy life as they know it. Struggling to find its way in the expanding war, the Alliance discovers that despite its advantages, the partnerships are affecting the balance of magical power in the world, which may be an even bigger threat than the war itself.
In this, the second book, we start to see where all those new relationships forged in book one are headed. There are so many, it’s sometimes hard to keep track. And they come in all flavors: m/m, m/f, f/f.
Orlando and Alain are growing closer day to day. Orlando is still a bit stand-offish, so scarred that it’s hard for him to let Alain in. Alain is becoming impatient and hurt by this seeming “rejection” and it briefly separates them. On the one hand, I too was feeling that Orlando was being ridiculous, but as Orlando points out, he was tortured for years and has been holding on to these feelings for years and the TEN days that he and Alain have been together, no matter the magic, can’t undo the damage that quickly.
Jude, the traditionalist is matched with Adele, the strong woman. It’s a clash of the centuries with him acting like a caveman and Adele showing him what a modern woman can do.
Thierry and Sebastian. This is Sebastian coveting Thierry and Thierry feeling guilty over wanting someone so recently after his wife has died – and a man to boot.
Caroline and Mirielle are learning how to be a couple, with Caroline’s confidence blossoming under Mirielle’s care.
David the conservative is matched with Angelique the madam. “Nuff said.
Raymond and Jean are two stubborn mules matched head to head.
The conflict part of the story also moves forward a little. We learn that there is magic to be gained from these vampire/warlock pairings and that when vampires feed while having sex that magic is restored faster than just from feeding alone.
Mostly, however, this very, very, very, very long book was about character development. It was a bit trying and confusing. Luckily, for the most part, if you focus on the characters you most want to follow, you can still make sense of the storyline. For example, I read in one review, “If there is a pairing you are uncomfortable with(i.e. m/f or f/f) , just skim their part!” I believe that’s mostly true. Very little would be lost if you ignored one couple, but the sex between couples is mostly Alain and Orlando. This is still mostly their story.
I think that a good editing would narrow this book down and we wouldn’t lose the interesting elements of the story. With a little less detail (and perhaps a few less couples) the story would be cleaner and have a more immediate and strong impact.
As it stands, it’s kind of like Dickens. You read through a lot to get a good story, but … you read through A LOT.
So, if you have a lot of patience and time, I recommend continuing on with this super creative series.
I’d give book two a 4 of 5 hearts, with points subtracted for length.