C.V. Hunt wraps up her Endlessly series this month with the third and final installment entitled Phantom. I reviewed the first two novellas last year and have quickly become a fan and friend of C.V.'s.
At a time when vampire and werewolf fiction runs rampant online and on the shelves, I've found Mrs. Hunt's writing to be quite different and enjoyable for three reasons: (1) She has a true talent for strong dialogue which really gives her writing a quick pace. It's not drawn down my too much descriptive prose like some work in this character drive genre. (2) Hunt peppers her story with other supernatural characters like witches, gargoyles, trolls, and even a mermaid in the latest book which really offer up some new color. (3) Her characters know what they are and most have accepted their fate. Her writing is focused on their interactions and dramas with one another, outside of just romance.
In Phantom, the story is told by Jason, a werewolf from the previous books who was friends with Verloren, killed off in the last book. Jason is still crushing on Ash who is at a loss while mourning Verloren. But Jason's real soul mate, Oz, is just out of reach.
He decides to return to the underground supernatural refuge where all of book two took place, and where a few vampires and gargoyles are still holding sanctuary. Ash has also turned a small girl, Abigail, into a vampire for companionship, so the adult supernaturals are on guard to shield the child from their sexual prowess. Readers will enjoy lots of sexually charged energy and "feeding" habits of the weres and vamps in this one!
Much of the middle off the book plays out like a great 80's movie like Breakfast Club, where very different individuals are brought together, each with their own faults and attractions, forced to interact with one another. Lots of humor! Lots of anger! And lots of connections!
Though strongly encouraged and offered help by the others, Jason refuses to seek out Oz, but Ash also refuses to give him the attention he practically starves for. When Verloren surprisingly returns to the pack in a "new body," Jason accepts the fact that he cannot have Ash and moves forward.
As I said before, the book is driven by strong dialogue, both spoken aloud and internally, with splashes of great Gen X humor. Though Hunt takes a long time to give the reader what they really want, that being the interaction between Jason and Oz, she does finally give in to her characters' demands bringing the trilogy to a nice satisfying conclusion.
Also as I mentioned, I'm always entertained by the various other characters that Hunt creates. In this novella, Jason and the reader get a glimpse at a mermaid, of which I would have liked to have seen more. Do I smell something fishy in Hunt's next book? One can only hope!