Phantasmagoric Feast by Kate Steele
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup
Anxious to prove himself, a slightly inebriated Toby Heaton decides on a reckless plan. Walking into Mausoleum -- a bar known to be owned and operated by vampires -- he offers his virgin throat to the biggest baddest blood sucker in the place…
Too bad his offer falls flat. At Mausoleum, a human freely supplying blood is a nightly occurrence. Still, all is not lost. Taken under handsome bartender De's wing, Toby is about to embark on a surreal journey -- one filled with pleasure and pain. A journey fueled by blood, in which he will learn his true worth.
A man walks into a bar, and his life is never the same again. They say you' shouldn't judge a book by its cover and I suppose the same holds true for its title, but when I saw this title my brain went "OH! Fun new big word!" I am very happy to report that besides having a truly awesome title, the book is amazing as well. When I finished it I was hard pressed to come up with anything other than "WOW!" and... when does the next story come out?
Toby Heaton walks into Mausoleum, a well known vampire bar, armed with nothing but the self amusing ramble of a man that has had a little to much to drink. His intent was to prove his bravery by getting a vampire to bite him, what he got was so much more. De was working the bar when Toby walked in, but he's much more than a simple bartender, or Toby's introduction to vampires, he is the head of the vampire clan and the owner of the bar.
Kate Steele has breathed new life into the vampire genre combining the best of the old with the best of the new. The fact that the world knows about vampires, and they mostly abide by the societal rules that they don't bite unless invited, doesn't make them any less predatory or dangerous. Vampires can, with one bite, still give either excruciating pain or wild pleasure, they can kill you in a room full of people without anyone seeing, they can have you writhing with exquisite pleasure or complete agony with the power of their minds alone. But gone are the day's of gloomy castles and black capes, instead your more likely to find Vampires in vivid colors. "We who spend so much time in darkness appreciate color more than you might imagine" this is quite a welcome change to vampire mythology, I hadn't even realized how tired I had grown of vampires being dressed in black until I read that sentence.
Ms. Steele has an incredible way of painting pictures with her words. She depicts things with such detail and clarity there were times I almost felt like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. This is seen through out the entire book from small things like De's kitchen which I fell in love with based on the description alone, to much more important things like the first time De and Toby have sex. De tells him "I'm going to feast on you Toby Heaton. It won't be neat, and it won't be pretty. It's going to be messy and hot and sticky and bloody." and boy is it. It is primal and bloody and a little disturbing, but it is also a completely perfect depiction of a vampire claiming a human as his. There is no doubt about the fact that De is a vampire and what that means, he is a predator who will take what he wants, and if he gives pleasure that is his choice too.
Although De is no longer human, hasn't in fact been human for a very long time, there are some things that apparently transcend the change from human to vampire and survive through out the years unchanged. One of these things is De's quasi-antagonistic relationship with his sister, Filia. It was quite amusing to watch her needle De as only a younger sister can, before turning around and telling Toby that he better not hurt her brother. It was oddly reassuring to watch to vampires act in such a human way.
Phantasmagoric Feast captivates from the very beginning, but it's only fair to warn you that, as the first book in the Feasts of Fortune series, this book does not end in a happily ever after, or even a happy for now. Although I do hold out great hope for the end of this series to be a happily even after, in the meantime I look forward to thoroughly enjoying the ride. Instead of a happily ever after that is predictable this ending sneaks up on you so subtly and craftily that you never see it coming. You get drawn into the hypnotic world Ms. Steele has created so completely that before you could even hazard a guess as to what will happen next you are blindsided by an ending you could have never imagined. Leaving you torn between the intense desire to know what happens next right now, and wanting to revel in the sublime pleasure that is delayed gratification.
Phantasmagoric Feast is a dark and tantalizing tale, full of unexpected twists. Ms. Steele's complex characters and delightfully wicked writing are sure to captivated old fans of the vampire genre as well as bring in many new ones.