Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.
When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.
Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.
Urban fantasy is my favorite genre and I’ve found it’s difficult to find a true UF with a m/m romance subplot. As a result I was really excited when I read the first Kai Gracen book all those years ago. I was over the moon when the author released the second book in the series and had high hopes for this newest installment. The author sticks to a traditional UF plotline with a romance weaved throughout. This newest book is my favorite one so far.
The blurb does a good job explaining the overall plot. Kai, Ryder and Ryder’s cousin head down to Mexico to rescue some elfin refugees and along the way they run into all kinds of trouble. There are underground tunnels and caves filled with monsters, black dogs, fires, stabbings, betrayals and new friends. The entire thing was a wild ride from beginning to end. Each of these books is fast paced and filled with twists and turns. They’d make fantastic action movies.
One of my favorite things about this series is the world building and the area it is set in. If you are familiar with the San Diego, Ca area you will recognize a bunch of things and their very creative twists in this new landscape. I also find an extra joy when I know the area a book is set in well. Even more so when the author knows it well too.
The best part of this book for me though was the relationship development. The UST between Kai and Ryder has been jumping off the pages since they met in the first book. This thing between them is a very slow burn but Ryder steps it up a notch here. He knows Kai has a bunch of complicated issues and his acceptance and patience lead to some very tender moments. Ryder brought his romance A game here and I admit I was a bit swoony in places. His gestures may not seem big in a traditional romance, but for Kai they were perfect. I loved Ryder even more by the end of this one.
The story ends with a bang. I flipped to the last page and immediately thought “I need the next book NOW!”. If you are a fan of this series I highly recommend this. You need to read it as soon as it comes out. If you have not read this series before you could follow this plot. You would enjoy the mission they’re on but you would be missing out on the emotional impact of the relationship. I recommend that you start with book one.
Cover: The cover was done by Chris Mc Grath. I like the cover and think it fits well with the first two in the series.