Author: Megan Derr
Genre: High Fantasy
Pairing: M/M, Poly (M/M/M)
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
Centuries ago, humans and vampires lived alongside one another, sometimes hostile, sometimes peaceful—but always tense. Eventually, that tension tipped too far, and now vampires are few in number and known only as Pets, kept by the wealthy as intimate companions, most of their history lost, the rest shrouded in mystery.
Aubrey has returned home after spending many years away, though he is reluctant to live once more with his estranged father, his mercurial cousin, and the memories of his murdered mother.
The very last thing he wants is the Pet given to him as a welcome home gift, a practice he has long despised and wants no part of. But Ruthven is like no Pet he's ever encountered, and only the beginning of the secrets Aubrey slowly begins to uncover...
I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Aubrey has never wanted a Pet, but after returning home from being away at school for a few years, his father gifts him one. Yet, Ruthven is unlike any Pet Aubrey has encountered before and the secrets Ruthven and everyone else in the household are keeping might destroy them all in the end.
I first read this story years ago. I bought it during LT3's earliest years (I actually have it in print), and at the time I thought it was completely indicative of LT3's work: It was in desperate need of better editing, which LT3 struggled with their first few years, but had a sweetness and charm to it that had me hooked regardless. It wasn't, however, indicative of Derr's work of the time. Derr was publishing light and fluffy romances that were heavy on the characterizations, but very light on plot. (Please don't take that as a complaint, because it's not.) Her books from that time are still very enjoyable, but they don't have the level of depth, nor the sheer brilliance of the twists and turns of her more recent ones. Embrace, on the other hand, did have plot and some very interesting twists. I honestly feel like Embrace was a gateway book that allowed Derr to blossom from good to great. There was so much potential in Embrace, particularly in the plot, but at the time it felt unfinished. Derr hadn't completed her transformation just yet, so there were still weaknesses in Embrace (which I won't go into detail here in order to avoid spoilers). Needless to say, I've always hoped Derr would republish and would clean the story up in the process.
Unfortunately, the ARC I received was an exact replica of the original story. What this means to me is that Derr will likely clean up the missing words and improper grammar before it is officially published, but nothing substantive will be added. That said, the story is still very enjoyable. Watching Aubrey try to figure Ruthven out, Stregoni and Gilles' interesting courting, the mystery of the Pets, and the secrets everyone is keeping, definitely kept my interest. Overall, I had a good time rereading this story, and that's what really mattered to me the most.
The reprint appears to be completely unchanged from the original, which is good because I did enjoy the original story, but is also bad because none of the issues were solved. I still liked the overall plot and the characterizations of this story, so I do recommend it anyway.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.