Authors: Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt
Series: Hours of the Night 1.5
Rating: Four Petals
On the Authors Websites:
Silent night, holy hell.
Thaddeus and Sarasija are spending the holidays on the bayou, and while the vampire's idea of Christmas cheer doesn't quite match his assistant's, they're working on a compromise. Before they can get the tree trimmed, they're interrupted by the appearance of the feu follet. The ghostly lights appear in the swamp at random and lead even the locals astray.
When the townsfolk link the phenomenon to the return of their most reclusive neighbor, suspicion falls on Thaddeus. These lights aren't bringing glad tidings, and if Thad and Sara can't find their source, the feu follet might herald a holiday tragedy for the whole town.
I received this book as an ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review.
I felt this story was absolutely necessary to the series. Thad and Sara come from such different backgrounds. Thad is an ex-monk turned vampire living in the bayou with only the gators and his vespers for company. At night he fights demons in order to save his soul. Sara is from a Hindu/atheist background hired to be Thad's assistant, and he has some sort of magical powers of his own.
Bonfire begins with the holiday season just starting and Sara's enthusiasm for Christmas is clear from page one. He's buying gifts, lights, and ornaments left and right. Thad doesn't know what to make of it: trees and lights are completely different to the religious chants he usually spends the holidays with. Of course, having Sara with him is totally different too and finding the balance between religious obligations and love is one of the more difficult things they both have to figure out. The first book in the series, Vespers, ended without that crucial part of their relationship formalized. Watching as they both delve deeper into who they are individually and as a couple was amazingly fun to read.
The characterization of Sara in Vespers was my favorite part and that's no different in Bonfire. Sara has so many layers and each one is very interesting to learn. He's Hindu, but that doesn't define him. All of his Christmas preparations threw me for a few chapters; I couldn't figure out how Christmas fell within Sara's own religious beliefs. Just as that was really starting to bother me, it's revealed that Sara is atheist and celebrates the spirit of American Christmas, which made so much sense. I would like to learn more about his powers and how Hinduism effects that, but for a short story what was covered for Sara was really interesting.
I also really enjoyed Thad's characterization. He's starting to become more than just the stereotypes of a religious vampire. His emotions grew and evolved throughout the story and each one made me like and identify with him more. His growth as he tried to balance who is is and who he loves was the best part of the book.
This review is already too long, but let me say quickly that I really enjoyed the plot too. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series after reading Bonfire.
Bonfire picks up from where Vespers left off. This is a short story, but it builds new facets and gives more depth to the relationship between Sara and Thad, which I really enjoyed. I also liked the plot a lot too. I definitely recommend this book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.