This was a short sweet story. But for something that I was expecting to be a romance, even possibly with a little BDSM. It didn’t deliver. Unfortunately, the book wasn’t tight enough to read like a short story. It actually gave me the feeling of the beginning of a full-length novel. I knew this wasn’t going to be happening having read the blurb for the next two novels before buying this one. Even still I was still expecting a stand-alone feel based on that research.
Jumping between marks and audience really threw me off in the first chapter. Especially when marks is more commonly used for say a hit in assassination stories or the person one is following in an espionage type novel. In this case, they were audience members at a carnival. What they most accurately were was customers. Marks was odd and the inability to stick to audience or marks added to the oddity of it.
I did not know this was a period piece until prices started popping up. I don’t know what it is about the setting but it didn’t drop me hard enough into the time period to catch this especially without outright telling me what time it was set in. Without how much things cost I probably would not have even guessed. It’s fantasy it was more than easy for me to see a carnival in today’s having gone into reading this with the fantasy expectation.
Where the book lost me the most was in relationship development. They didn’t spend nearly enough time together for me to feel this connection. It’s almost like more time was spent on setting up the story instead of on the story. I dunno, it’s just that by the time the lead character went to meet the love interest the story was over. They met there was one chapter or two and the story was over. For a story about love, redemption, and some steamy content, two to maybe three end chapters was not enough. For a short story, this focused a lot on the lead-in and not so much on the payoff. It sucks because honestly, this was a well-written book. It had its technical issues as I’ve stated but beyond that not much. It just needs to be a little longer. Not full length. Not short story but that balance in between to allow you to get into the characters.
For instance, the main character gets mad when asked what he is. I want to feel his anger but, why is he angry? There isn’t enough space in a short story to address this emotion. If it were written with more focus on his character then yes. A few more pages or even one chapter devoted to why he hated this question so much would have helped the reader connect with it. Otherwise, he comes off aggressive and moody for a simple question. He has an idea of the answer so either respond “I’m half angel”, or “I don’t know”. But anger only really works with some sort of precedent so I couldn’t feel it. That brings us back to this feeling like the beginning of something and not its own story about two people who find themselves in each other. The story just wasn’t condensed enough and didn’t have a singular focus disregarding all else plus to make room to focus on the actual relationship. The author appeared to want to do more instead. What could be done with a full-length novel within the parameters of a short one which was too much leaving the story feeling incomplete.
All that aside, I enjoyed reading this. It was a well-written book for the most part even with its technical flaws. It had the potential to be much better but it wasn’t bad enough to be a two or one star. It’s a solid three from me. If you’re looking for a light, not too involved fantasy read, this book delivers on that without the angst. It’s a safe read and sometimes, hell most times that’s all one really needs.