Title: Fool’s Oath (Fool’s Odyssey #2)
Author: Chris Quinton
Cover Artist: Peeter Viisimaa
Publisher: Manifold Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M futuristic paranormal romance
Length: 180 pdf pages
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
My loss of sympathy for one of the characters spoiled this book for me, but it is still a decent read overall.
A rush of over-confidence on Xavi’s part and his friend dies bloodily. Xavi is forced to face the reality of his own nature and the depth of his relationship with Andreas. And then there’s the gold hidden in the walled-up crypt of the church…
(Second in the ‘Fool’s Odyssey’ Trilogy)
I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, Fool’s Errand – reviewed by me here – and was looking forward to reading this book. Fool’s Errand had left me with a lot of questions about the futuristic world created by the author and also the complex ‘still waters run deep’ character of Andreas who I felt was overshadowed rather in the previous book. It was a little unfortunate then that the story kept its focus on Xavi and that the questions I’d hoped would be answered were not.
The story begins a few weeks after the previous book. Xavi has spent the time recovering from the vampire virus after he deliberately infected himself by mingling his blood with that of Andreas at the end of the last book. It’s been a tough few weeks for him, as the transition was made more painful because of the silver that had been mixed with Andreas’ blood at the time. Xavi is now back to his previous cocky self, much to Andreas’ relief but there’s a shadow in the horizon. Andreas is called back to the USA for a week or so during which time he hopes to extricate himself from the oppressive regime there. He daren’t take Xavi with him and so leaves him behind after extricating a promise from Xavi that he will keep a low profile and stay out of trouble. A promise that Xavi readily makes but has no intention of keeping.
I’d liked Xavi in the previous story. His swagger, self confidence and optimism were a good foil for Andreas and his stony like exterior and carefully managed emotions. They worked well as a pair and in fact still worked well in this book, because the scenes where the two men were together were by far the best parts of the book. The push and pull of their relationship and the way their feelings are starting to develop after the commitment they made at the end of the last book, were realistically done. I had worried about the insta-love aspect of the story but in this book that element is explored through the various conversations that Andreas has with his friends. The sex between the men was well written, and highlighted the theme of submission and dominance that threads its way through the relationship between the two heroes.
Having said that, my feelings for Xavi were not quite so positive in this book. He changes from an intelligent man, used to trading on his charm, good looks and quick wit, to a petulant child who acts like he’s had his favourite toy taken from him and so sets out to destroy the other toys in the toy box. Andreas explains why he needs to keep a low profile, that he doesn’t know his own strength and powers, and this is only confirmed by Xavi’s doctor, but that doesn’t seem to stop Xavi from doing the entire opposite of all advice given, just because he’s had his nose put out of joint by Andreas having to go the USA. The real killer for me was when Xavi was deliberately unfaithful to Andreas, just to show that he could be and that he could get some poor woman to give up her body to him on the strength of his charm. When things go horribly wrong for Xavi, he is made to see the error of his ways and to also try to atone for his mistakes but that wasn’t enough for him to have been redeemed in my eyes, and I felt that Andreas’ way of dealing with Xavi didn’t go far enough to restore my previous feelings of sympathy for Xavi. As you can imagine this rather clouded my views on the book, especially as I felt there was too much focus on the selfish and immature Xavi and not enough on Andreas who still remains an enigma in many ways.
The futuristic worldbuilding is slowly being fleshed out but I was still left with questions about Andreas’ role in the USA regime. New characters were brought into play and I am interested in seeing how they will influence the events of the third and final book in this trilogy.
Overall, this was still a good read: The writing is clean and descriptive, with the setting of Barcelona a definite positive for the book; the paranormal aspects of the worldbuilding are interesting and continue to be developed; and the character of Andreas is intriguing. However, Xavi’s character took a negative turn for me and it remains to be seen whether he can redeem himself in the next book.