Want a fantasy without vampires?,
This review is from: Alliance (Alliance #1) (Kindle Edition)
Alliance is a paranormal romance so hot your e-reader will frequently threaten to burst into flames. Crammed full of Incubi, Succubi, vampires, werewolves and angels, it's a contemporary fantasy that's refreshing in its frank and realistic approach to relationships, and contains more than its fair share of mysteries.
Luckily, vampires and werewolves (who have arguably over-stayed their welcome in paranormal literature) take a back seat this time around in favour of our lead Incubi Keller and Hudson. Their relationship forms the backbone of this novel. They've known each other since childhood, and they share a room at a college that's populated with other supernatural creatures. Only problem: Hudson's gay, and he's got a thing for ladykiller Keller.
In Alliance, plot takes second place to characters. Which isn't a bad thing when the characters are this involving and well-written. Hudson and Keller's evolving relationship is fascinating and realistically played-out, their individual POV chapters offering insight into their different thoughts about certain events and - most tantalisingly - each other. Are they star-crossed lovers? Or is Hudson doomed to heartbreak? That tension throbs throughout Shannon Dermott and Danyele Johnson's story and makes for an addictive read.
The Incubi angle is also well played. Unlike vampires, there's still an aura of mystery surrounding Incubi, and it was fun getting to know how they think and feel. Naturally, if your leads are Incubi, sex isn't ever far off, and Alliance is sexy without straying into porn-y, 50 Shades Of Gray levels of description; it's far more interested in the emotions than the physical attributes (though I did lose count of how many times a character thought about how amazing their abs were).
If there's anything negative to be said about Alliance, it's that the lack of plot might put some readers off. While the plot picks up in spades in the book's final chapters, the story's previous obsession with the minutiae of Keller and Hudson's developing relationship means just as interesting developments - such as their mission to find an Oracle - take a backseat, which can be frustrating. Luckily, the final chapters of the book are packed full of plot and make up for earlier slow points. The only other negative is the character of Cain, who often stretches the realms of believability. Though that's explained later on, it's jarring for much of the novel.
Though I enjoyed Alliance, I feel I should add that it's a book that really needs an editorial polish. There are quite a few mistakes throughout, whether that's using the wrong word ('my' when they mean 'me') and stylistic slip-ups (both 'makeup' and 'make-up' are used within pages of one another). There's also the odd continuity blip, such as characters being topless than suddenly wearing a shirt, or Keller being fine with Hudson seeing him naked in one chapter, but then shocked to see Hudson naked in the next. These errors were a distraction from an engaging, well-told story.
And Alliance IS engaging and well-told. It contains one of the better examples of gay relationships I've ever read. Considering Alliance was written by two women, the plausibility of the gay characters and scenarios in the book is truly impressive. I'm looking forward to book two...