Title: Enduring Instincts
Author: S. J. Frost
Covert Art: Winterheart Design
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy LInk: Buy Link Enduring Instincts
Genre: M/M Romance / Paranormal / Vampires
Length: 86,000 words
Rating: 4 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Lonely heart vampire friends tie up loose ends from the first book in a long but thoughtful way.
Blurb: Vampire Daniel Valente struggles to live on his own, now that his master, Titus Antonius Calidus, has found eternal love with another. Carrying mental and emotional scars, he lives in loneliness and feels as though he’s lost who he once was. Ryunosuke Kimura has known Daniel for hundreds of years, and loved him for many of them. Even though he believes Titus is the only one Daniel wants to give his heart to, when he hears Daniel needs his support, he rushes to be with him.With Ryu at his side, Daniel’s confidence returns, and with it, he sees the enduring love Ryu has always had for him. As they grow closer, new threats from old enemies arise, and if Daniel and Ryunosuke are to spend eternity together, they must first defeat the past.
This book is the sequel to Natural Instincts reviewed by Feliz here. Originally I hadn’t read the first book in this series. I came to the conclusion that although there are plenty of explanatory references in Enduring Instincts– possibly too many for general story flow- I didn’t find it was enough to create a complete picture of Daniel”s emotional journey. It really needed the first book to set the stage. Consequently I feel that this book is not as successful when taken as a stand alone book.
It was only after I’d read the first book that I could appreciate Daniel’s personality and growing maturity. It became easier to have sympathy for him. The book begins with Daniel, depressed and anxious, living isolated in England. At this point I feared his emotional scope was stuck between just the two modes of either needy boy or flirty bitch. However the interactions with Andreas and Titus were particularly effective in expanding Daniel’s emotional range. I enjoyed his teasing relationship with Andreas and his growing acceptance of Titus’ as a beloved master and friend rather than an object of unobtainable love. Although Andreas and Titus are well represented this is, as it should be, very much Daniel’s and Ryu’s story.
Once Ryunosake- a dramatic but faithful Samurai suitor- reappears the book concentrates for a long time on their growing relationship. His character and history is fleshed out nicely. Occasionally the interaction between these two dynamic vampires felt like the confidences of two teenage girls revealing their crushes in the- does he- doesn’t he- details. However when they finally got it together it was good hot stuff.This successful love affair helps Daniel rediscover his confidence and the book moves on with the the action phase.
Daniel’s attitude to his enemies was perhaps the most striking example of his new maturity and added a pleasing touch of variety. The threat to the continued well being of all four characters came from the the unfinished business from the first book. The resolution was not the more usual triumphant bloodbath but displayed a touching sadness. While the introduction of two sympathetic characters hint at perhaps another story waiting to be told.
I particularly enjoyed the social setup displayed by this very civilised group of vampires. Andreas’ thoughts on being turned in the future were gently explored. The varied and delightful animals get some page time especially Ryu’s lovely Akita. I really like S. J. Frost’s sentimental solution to the obvious problem with vampires owning pets. I also hope Andreas takes up Daniel’s suggestion for his favourite lion…….
I found Natural Instincts to be the more enjoyable of the two books, mainly because Andreas is a well developed and more original character, who does some unexpected things. It is also tightly written, better paced and less wordy- except about lions and natural predators! I did find this one too long as it rather repetitively rambled on.There was an awful lot of sex to the extent that I wanted to fast forward. Daniel when full of confidence and in full wayward flow was most appealing- I found his love-lorn musings less interesting.
Taken together the two books develop an enjoyable and different take on vampires. If you liked the first book this one serves as a good catch up with the original characters along with a satisfying new love for Daniel finally maturing after three hundred years.