Title: Inheritance (Dominion #1)
Author: Lissa Kasey
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: Novella/176 PDF pages/47,902 words
Genre: Alternate universe/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by LadyM
Review summary: Entertaining paranormal novella with interesting world building and characters, which suffers somewhat from being the first in the series.
Blurb: As the only male studying magic in a female-dominant society, Seiran Rou’s life is already on a precarious perch. Then he finds a dead co-worker on his doorstep, and Sei realizes someone is trying to set him up for the fall. It could be anyone—including his own mother, a powerful witch and leader of the Dominion, the ruling body of elemental magic.
Sei’s only saving graces are his on-again, off-again vampire boyfriend, Gabe, and the mysterious Jamie, who wants to help him for reasons Sei doesn’t understand. They may be all that stand between Sei and the Dominion’s demands to control his magic. One man’s devotion could be the key to save Sei’s life and pull him back from the brink of losing his humanity to the magic he possesses.
Inheritance is the first book in Lissa Kasey’s new Dominion series. Although it is not necessary for you to read them, the series also includes several short stories (Friction and Decadence should be read before, Consequences after the novel). The stories are free and the links to them available on the author’s site.
The story is set in the alternate contemporary Minneapolis. In this world, the humans, witches and supernatural beings, such as vampires and lycans, live peacefully next to each other, though every race governs itself to some extent. The witches are ruled by the Dominion, matriarchal society of witches, in which men have no place. Twenty-two-year-old Seiran Rou, the son of the local Dominion leader and the only male witch accepted to the magic studies, is the first-person narrator of this story. Seiran is a target of constant bullying and has learned to hide the extent of his powers as well as his need to shift into his lynx form — something that is strictly forbidden — fearing that he will eventually be caught and suffer the ultimate punishment, burning at the stake.
Your enjoyment in the book, I suspect, will depend on how much you care for and understand Seiran. The first impression of him is of a flippant, flirty, charming, but not entirely pleasant young man. He doesn’t seem particularly concerned by the feelings of others and, according to his own confession, he never sleeps with the same man twice. He doesn’t count Gabe though, a powerful, ancient vampire, with whom he has on and off sexual relationship for five years. Sei has a collection of issues (commitment phobia, OCD, paranoia, nightmares, doesn’t remember his childhood) and it takes a while to peel away the layers of his personality and, once you realize that he is not the most reliable narrator, to read between the lines and uncover the causes.
The saying “Just because I’m paranoid that doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me” works in Seiran’s case, because someone is trying hard to implicate Sei in the murder of Frank, his co-worker, whose body mysteriously appears on his doorstep. The serial killer is taking out people close to the vampires, but it soon becomes obvious that there are bigger things going on and that Sei and his powers are in the heart of it all. The group of secondary characters, who may or may not have friendly motives and intentions, and piling bodies make the situation even more complicated. I was surprised by the murderer’s identity and surprising me is not an easy thing to do, so that’s an immediate plus in my book.
The author has an interesting matter-of-fact approach to the world building that I liked. The supernatural beings and powers are normal for this world and there is nothing strange in the vampire who owns a bar or works as a detective. Its history and inner workings require a little bit of work on reader’s part, because our narrator, naturally, already knows everything about it and his view of the world is hardly objective. Parts of it, though, aren’t completely revealed and explained (like a mysterious group called Ascendance) and will play a bigger role in the sequel. Still, I felt that I needed some additional information, especially concerning male witches and the reasons for their exclusion from the Dominion to completely understand some events in the novel. I admit it — I couldn’t quite reconcile the modern feel of the world and burning at the stake as a capital punishment for the witches. Somehow, that didn’t ring true to me, even in the midst of paranormal-friendly society.
The characters were varied and interesting. The most complex, of course, is Sei whose evolution through the novel is fascinating to watch. I sympathized with him because of the revelations of some really dark and painful events in his past (once again not completely revealed) and his struggles to trust and connect to others. I particularly liked how the author described his thoughts in his lynx form — they were both fascinating and endearing. The author managed to make him vulnerable without turning him into a weakling. Gabe, his secretive on and off vampire lover, was the image of endurance and support and I was glad Sei had him in his life. There is more than sex and love (and Gabe undoubtedly loves Sei) that connects them, which was another layer to this supernatural world. I wanted to know more about Gabe, particularly since he was described as one of the most powerful vampires. He was appropriately sexy though. 😀 Mysterious Jamie, another Sei’s co-worker, who follows him around and offers his assistance whenever Seiran needs it, Brock, the first real friend Sei makes at the university, his cold, manipulative, powerful mother, Andrew Roman, vampire detective, Rose, powerful witch and a bully, were all viable suspects and good additions to the novel.
Inheritance is an entertaining beginning of the new series. Being the first is also the source of its flaws, but we will not have to wait for long to learn more about the world and Sei and Gabe — the sequel Reclamation will be available at the beginning of November. Until then, enjoy the craziness of Sei’s world. Recommended.