Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Will love mean rebirth… or death?
Vampire Julian Schaden has been warning the Asheville Paranormal Council of an impending demonic incursion for more than two decades. Over the past two years, he and his friends have fought as hard as they can with little help, since Micah Carter, the demon hunter who should have led them, shirked his responsibility and then perished.
Desperate for anything that might aid the fight, Julian enters the Carter property and finds something he never dared hope for: young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters.
Thomas knows nothing about the supernatural world. But the prospect of a real life, outside the sheltered, isolated farm where he grew up, calls to him, and the idea of fighting the Unholy feels right.
Julian agrees to train Thomas even as he struggles against an unexpected, unwanted attraction. Thomas is too young and innocent to get involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian seems fated to lose. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: the upcoming battle will claim Thomas’s life. To keep his home and friends safe, Julian may have to sacrifice the only love he’s ever known.
The Asheville Arcana series/trilogy comes to an end with Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay. Three close friends, Arden Gilmarin, Whimsey Hickes, Julian Schaden, (with former benefits) will have found their mates/lovers and HEA and the series arc resolves with a crashing thunderous finale.
The previous stories have introduced the fact that there’s a major demon in the area looking for an artifact. And to that end the demon will kill, enslave, and perform many heinous actions and be the master ordering the slaughter of many of those close to the main characters here. It’s been a wild emotional ride watching half-elf Arden Gilmarin fall in love with alpha werewolf Eli Hammond in Out of the Ashes, the first in the series. Equally so, Harlan Edgewood, possessed werewolf, fall for mage Whimsy Hickes in Forged in Fire. Whimsy Hickes remains still one of my all time favorite character names. Thank you, Ari McKay!
Now it’s vampire Julian Schaden’s turn. He has had a rough time watching his former lovers and friends find their HEA and mates. He’s withdrawn from everyone into his castle, seemingly to conduct research but mostly to remove himself from the society of others. Meanwhile the threat of the demon and those it is changing to help accomplish its goals is growing stranger.
McKay is excellent at drawing out the suspense while creating anguish over the events and actions of the demon at large. Who and what that demon is will not be revealed until late in the story. As it should be.
The majority of the story is finding Micah Carter, his training, and relationship with Julian. I wish that the story here was longer and maybe stronger. I almost felt that he and Julian needed more time together for their relationship to “gell” as much as the others did. I liked them together but for some reason never quite got as much as a emotional connection as I did the other two couples.
I think that’s because the other two stories didn’t have to carry as much a load as this one did. It had not only Julian and Micah’s romance but the ongoing story exposition, and then the series arc finale. That’s a huge narrative load to carry and I think some elements had to lighten under that burden, the romance being one of them.
I thought the march towards the end and fighting scenes spectacular and heartbreaking. I was so happy with the resolution although again, a little more explanation would have been wonderful. That can be a dicy thing when ending a series.
When I look from the first introduction of the three men to the very last sentence, to the entire series arc, each relationship, the world building, and all the characters (quirks, cultures, and back histories), I think that Ari McKay accomplished a remarkable thing. The Asheville Arcana series is a fun, scary, hair-raising thrill ride of a romance trilogy and this was a wonderful send off.
I definitely recommend this and all the rest.
Cover art: Aaron Anderson. Love the cover with it’s incorporation of an important element of the storyline.
ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: November 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English
Series Asheville Arcana