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Friday, June 3, 2011

Feast of Choice by Kate Steele

Feast of Choice by Kate Steele
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemp., Sci-fi/fantasy
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup

Having survived his first encounter with a vampire, Toby Heaton must make a life-altering decision. His vampire lover has revealed a startling fact. Toby is a rare human, a chrysalis child, one who, should he or she bestow their love on a vampire, can return the vampire's ability to walk in daylight.

With little time to assimilate the information, much less decide if he loves De, Toby is confronted and abducted by his lover's life-long enemy. Placed in an untenable situation, Toby must find a way to deal with a man who could not only end his life, but who threatens everything Toby holds dear.

An impossible position, a life altering choice, and game changing consequences. Feast of Choice starts to dig into the underbelly of the lives of De, Alec, and Filia revealing surprising truths, well believed lies, and the ultimate betrayal.

I felt bad for Toby. When he walked into The Mausoleum he had no idea that he wasn't just walking into a club, but also a war zone, a personal vendetta between Alec and De. What was supposed to be a fun night out turns Toby into a pawn in Alec's little game of extracting revenge. While I understood why Toby didn't tell De what had happened with Alec, his actions or rather inactions in this matters were beyond frustrating. It could just be me but I would have been fighting Alec with everything that I had if he had tried to back me into a corner like he did with Toby.

Alec is one of my favorite villain archetypes, so elegant and refined that it is easy to almost miss that underneath all that culture is a raging psychopath; a completely logical if twisted mind. I cannot believe that Alec's only desire is to see De heartbroken and abandoned as he once was. It might have started out that way but I think the years have perverted Alec's mind making him a very cunning and dangerous foe. There are some people who just shouldn't live forever; as they say "absolute power corrupts absolutely," and while Alec might not have absolute power he has enough.

Of course De has no desire to wield power like Alec does, or at least none that has been shown yet. I think that De has used his time more wisely, he has learned to accept what comes and turn it to his advantage. Whereas Alec seems more like a spoiled child at times, with his happiness only coming at the expense of others and never lasting long because it's not true happiness. Beyond that it is quite possible that unlike De, Alec doesn't have the ability to love at least not beyond his strictly selfish parameters.

It was great being able to watch De fall in love with Toby, even knowing what was going to happen. The vast differences in De's private and public interactions with Toby were a study in themselves. In private, De is charming and seductive, using tried and true courting techniques, spending vast amount of time making love to Toby. In public he is dominating and possessive, ravaging rather than savoring Toby. Both sides give insight into De's persona, the gentleman he was raised to be and the ruthless vampire that he has to be to protect his people.

For as many secrets that have been revealed and questions answered there seem to be that many more waiting to be discovered. Like what was with Alec's cryptic comment about Toby being almost perfect? It seems an obvious setup for a plot line, involving Toby and his family, one that I really hope doesn't come to fruition. What exactly is Neo's relationship with De? Where did Neo come from, when did he hook up with De and why? Who are the mysterious guardians who protect the chrysalis child and when do we get to meet them? Probably most importantly is what is Filia's side of the story, why did she chose to be turned? We have heard De and Alec's story as to why, but I want to know Filia's, especially given the revelations that have been made about her.

Unlike the first story this ending was not as shocking, if only because I was prepared for it this time. It was the inevitable conclusion to this particular part of the series. That's not to say it was predictable, it was more like the old saying "when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras." You know that the horse is coming, but that doesn't stop you from wishing that maybe just this once it will be a zebra. Alas, in the end it is a horse, but as far as horses go, and endings for that matter, it is a pretty spectacular one.

Ms. Steele takes you on a dramatic ride full of romance, betrayals, and intrigue, exploring the depths of love and the pain of betrayals both real and imagined.

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