Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5
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.
Rarely, if almost never have I had my attitude towards a book and its author hijacked as early as it was in Eye of the Beholder by MD Grimm. I was definitely looking forward to this story as it contained many elements that grab my attention, the possibility of a new take on vampires and vampire lore, a ancient Roman vampire, a blacksmith, and a slayer. That gives me ancient history,mythology, metalsmithing with a connection to the supernatural, and more. How wonderful.
Even the forward from the author held promise. Grimm has been at this work for years, revising it, re-editing…it’s this author’s only vampire story. So again, high hopes.
The came the opening sentence of the first paragraph of the Prologue. Oh that sentence.
DAIN eyed me as I drove his 1950’s Mustang through the streets of Los Angeles, the nightlife in full swing around us.
Now I’m sure there are some of you, puzzled, thinking “what’s wrong with that?
But there’s also a ton of you smacking your heads, going “hell, no” the author did not just write that about the iconic American car.
Yes M.D. Grimm did.
To to un informed out there, the iconic American Mustang, the one that sings the 1960’s. didn’t roll off the assembly line until 1964. Now this story is heavy on historical facts. Its two main characters have their foundations based heavily on the element that the connection between them starts as a love/appreciation of ancient history, and all things pertaining to different eras. And the ability to get those things right! Oh the irony. Vulcan is a history nerd, he researches everything! Weaponry, swords in particular. So it’s perfectly understandable for him to be drawn to the embodiment of living history himself, albeit a vampire. A real Roman soldier Marcus Cassius Vespillo. And this book is full of “facts” about Japanese swords, when the Mongols first met the Samurai, because part of the courtship of Vulcan is Marcus sharing his life and history with him. Things that can be “googled”.
You see this may be a supernatural story about vampires and werewolves and such, but the foundation is based on a real world history. And after that unbelievable blooper, I mean first sentence of the first paragraph? I lost trust in the author and editor’s ability to get things right. Boom, gone in an instant. That meant that as I was set up to check and double check every single fact that came my way in the story, forget about enjoying any narrative here, nope I had taken over the job of research assistant. Because if they can’t get something as easy as when the Mustangs first came out, then I have no idea what they will do with ancient Japanese swords. Honestly made my head hurt.
Then came the holes in the narrative.
Yes I did go back to that eventually. The slayers are hunting the supernaturals, of course and any humans who “traffic” with them. The slayers are a very determined bunch. But the vampires have lived for hundreds, or in Marcus’ case, thousand years. So that is quite a lot of experience in dealing with this sort of situation, plus the military expertise, etc. Yet, their answer to the slayers offence is a defense a toddler could have designed. Honestly, none of it made any sense. It seemed more like tons of threats and very little else.
Then there is the romance between Marcus and Vulcan which again brought up mixed feelings. Vulcan is small in height, Marcus is tall. But Vulcan is a blacksmith, that’s especially tough on a b body and creates a certain muscle set. Yet he’s often swooped up into the arms of the vampire and carried. The dynamics here tilt one way then another. Especially a ending that seemed to be a turnabout of everything Vulcan’s character wasn’t in the beginning. A total changeover and not really from growth but from a “vampiric necessity” to stave off dementia.
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe if that first sentence hadn’t been such an utter fail …. but it is more like quote from Benjamin Franklin:
“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
For the want of accuracy, a reader was lost from the very beginning. Then the story was lost. For me at least. I will certainly read other M.D. Grimm stories and hope for a better outcome.
Cover art: Tiferet Designs. I like the cover, the models have just enough of the features to be the characters, although Vulcan is smaller in stature than Marcus.. Still nice job.
ebook, 1st edition, 153 pages
Expected publication: February 8th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English