A guest review by Jenre
Aric Christian is the wildly smart PhD candidate specializing in Molecular Biology. With a willowy body bordering on thin, slight hips, and even slighter waist, Aric’s hard muscles and steel strength bends but doesn’t break. Long blackish hair dips in his hazel eyes when he’s not wearing his rimless glasses. At times, he turns into quite a different creature, and is working desperately to seek a cure.
Stu Hamilton is the wildly popular college wide receiver, and big man on campus. He’s tall, broad shouldered, finely tuned and has broad hands, perfect to jump and catch the ball. He’s all muscle and grace and blue, blue eyes. Mussed blond hair layered and tapered down to his nape fuels his reputation as the guy who breezes through life. Hidden from his friends is his family’s secret – he’s from a long line of vampire-slayers. Turning away from that life, he wants nothing to do with blood feuds, men of the dark night and killing.
Then Aric bumps into Stu, or rather his football, and their lives are forever intertwined. Will these born enemies find a way toward love?
This Yaoi inspired book by a new to me author combined three of some of my favourite themes for an m/m book: Gay For You; the nerd and the jock; and vampire romance. It’s not surprising then that I liked this book and were it not for the fact that the paranormal elements were a little sketchy, I would have probably rated it higher.
The story begins with a classic jock/nerd moment. Aric, the nerd, is hurrying along to his college lab when he is struck on the head by a football, sending him tumbling to the floor and scattering his papers far and wide. The person who threw the ball, Stu the jock, hurries to his rescue and rescues Aric’s papers. There’s a moment of staring into each other’s eyes as their pants tighten and then the moment is over and Aric escapes back to the safety of his lab, knowing that no-one as gorgeous, popular and straight as Stu would be interested in his small, but perfectly formed, body. Besides, Aric has a secret. Nearly a year earlier he was infected by a vampire and has been slowly mutating into a vampire. Ever since then, Aric has been trying to find a cure for vampirism but time is running out as he’s only got about two weeks before the transformation will be complete and he loses his humanity forever.
Let’s start on the part which worked really well for me: that of the growing relationship between Aric and Stu. On the surface they are complete opposites. Stu is a football player who is destined to take his skills into the professional leagues. He’s blond, buff and huge. Aric is mixed American/Japanese with long black hair and delicate features. He’s short and slight. I found it amusing that the author sets up this typical Yaoi pairing and then plays a little with the convention, so that the smaller man is the confident gay man, and yet it is Stu who, instead of being seduced, is the one to try and persuade Aric to take a chance on him. The push and pull of their relationship, the way that Aric is drawn to Stu against his better judgement, was one of the best things about this book. Both men are sympathetic and likeable and found myself genuinely interested in their feelings for one another and watching their relationship grow and develop.
As you have probably gathered from by opening comments, the part which didn’t work as well for me was in the paranormal world building. I think the book suffers a little, like many paranormal books, from being the first in what looks to be a series. This means that the reader is introduced to many ideas connected to the ongoing war between vampires and vampire slayers; the different abilities of a vampire slayer; the way that humans can be infected; as well as several insights into Stu’s past and his relationship with his vampire slaying father and brother. Whilst this was all very interesting and I liked the unusual take on what is essentially a well worn path for a paranormal, there was so much to take in, in terms of information and world building, that some of these ideas were sketchily drawn and perhaps could have been expanded on. This was especially true for the vampire slayers as I never really felt I got to grips with how their special ability to fight vampires worked. There looks to be a sequel in the pipeline, probably involving Stu’s brother, and I’m hoping that these elements will become clearer in that sequel.
One final thing, linked to the above, which I really liked was the ‘cure’ that Aric is trying to discover for vampirism. Again, I thought this quite a unique spin on the whole vampire myth, especially when it is applied later in the book to another character. I don’t want to say too much here as it would be a spoiler, but I was intrigued by the way the book ended in relation to the vampire cure and I’m interested in where the author will take this in the sequel.
Overall, if you like Yaoi, like Gay For You and like paranormals then you can’t go wrong with this book. I enjoyed it a great deal and would recommend Last Chance to those who are looking for a book which takes a slightly unusual spin on the vampire myth.