Then I meet Juma Landry and it all goes to hell.
She is beauty and love and sex and light, everything I am not. And she makes me want things I haven’t desired in years. But the monsters of my life, the evil lurking in the dark corners of my soul, those places craven and vile, bind me to a past I cannot shake free. As the most skilled Keeper for The Gate, nothing and no one can prevent me from excelling at a job I never wanted. I do it because it is my legacy, a fate I cannot outrun, but when Juma becomes my next assignment, each of her nine lives to be ended by my hand, I must decide: the legacy I never wanted or the love I don’t deserve.
This is an unusual and inventive piece of urban fantasy with very dark undertones whilst at the same time tries hard to be a story showing how physical interactions connect us all. The phrase "no man is an Island' seems somewhat appropriate as even in the midst of what can be pretty awful times, these characters still crave that thing that makes them feel alive. Yes, I'm talking about sex, not love or even joy, just release pure and simple. For me, it's neither sensual or erotic. As I'm someone who primarily reads romance, I do look for relationships in books that feel real even if at times they lack tenderness. Unfortunately for me, this author seems to have just taken the idea of celebrating life whilst surrounded by death, although for her characters, I'm not sure just how big the divide really is.
If honest, I got to eleven percent in and nearly gave up but I'm glad I persevered as although the first half if not slightly more didn't deliver what I'd hoped. this story does become far more interesting as more is revealed. I enjoyed seeing how complicated the world surrounding Death was and there's a sense things are about to change.
The reasons why Dutch is the way he is finally became clear and no. he's not redeemed but I understand his character’s motives and disconnect much more now. Those who surround Dutch are truly vile and there's plenty of bloodshed and suffering to wade through. I think the light at the end of this dark tunnel is meant to be Juma. but even though the author gave her an obviously softer side, for me, I still struggled to actually like any of the characters.
My final thoughts are Dutch was a walk on the dark side with amazing ideas but for me the execution failed. Perhaps some will consider this to be erotica, but alas I just found it sad and at times boring. Clearly, I'm not the type of reader this story would appeal to and yet the plot, the very ideas appealed immensely, it was just the endless sex and crass language that got in the way.
This is a voluntary review of a copy I requested from NetGalley and these thoughts are my honest opinion.