Author: Lissa Kasey
Cover artist: Reese Dante
Buy link: Reclamation
Length: Novella/166 PDF pages/44,047 words
Genre: Alternate universe/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by LadyM
Review summary: Very emotional, tightly written sequel to Inheritance
Blurb: After killing with magic to save his own life, Seiran Rou is persona non grata with the Dominion, the ruling body of magic. Though he has the support of his vampire lover, Gabe, his half-brother, Jamie, and his friend Kelly, Sei suffers when Dominion supporters continue to harass him. To make matters worse, long-buried memories of his violent past are starting to surface, including e-mails and phone calls from Matthew Pierson, a man who abused him—a man who’s supposed to be dead.
With his fears driving a wedge between him and Gabe, Sei tries to get help, only to find himself in a trap. Sei does know Gabe will come for him. What he doesn’t know is how either of them will survive the fight.
Review: Reclamation is the second book in Dominion series (the first book, Inheritance, was reviewed here). It takes place several weeks after the events described in the first book.
Reclamation is, in every way, tighter book than its predecessor. While the previous book had to deal with the world building, introduction of all the players and their backgrounds, relationship between Sei and Gabe, etc., this book is focused almost entirely on Seiran as he works through his old issues and the consequences of Brock’s attack. The image of Sei that emerges in this book, in every painful detail, is one of abused young man (both by individuals and witch community) with all the consequences: low self-esteem, poor self-image, risky and destructive behavior, etc. I admit it: although it gave us enough hints about the abuse, it was difficult for me to completely sympathize with Sei in the first book. After reading this one, I think you would have to have a heart of stone not to.
At the beginning of the book, Sei is recovering from his injuries and, for the first time, dealing with his numerous issues by undergoing therapy with Dr. Tynsen. However, the most burning problem for Seiran is his inability to make love to Gabe after Brock’s attack. He feels overwhelmed by Gabe’s and, especially, Jamie’s constant hovering. He feels like a burden, which brings all his uncertainties to the fore. By his own admission, he feels comfortable only around Kelly, because it seems he doesn’t expect anything from him. He is still targeted by witch community, the therapy is bringing back his most painful memories and, most importantly, his tormentor – Matthew Pierson – is apparently alive and wants him back. To say that this is a painful period for Seiran is an understatement. There are betrayals along the way and some surprising twists. The events and Sei’s struggles are heartbreaking, but not all of it is bad.
One of the things that become apparent from Sei’s therapy is that not all of his memories are reliable. The true memories cast somewhat different light on his life, especially the relationship with his mother. She was described with no redeeming qualities in the first book, mainly through Sei’s biased view, but Sei’s as well as Jamie’s memories show that Sei wasn’t always unloved and that outside forces may have forced his mother’s hand, at least to some point. Also, Sei learns to accept some truths about himself, his past and his relationship with Gabe, things that will, eventually, make things better. What I particularly liked is that through it all, through all the hurt, there is a part of Sei that remains undamaged.
I have only one big complaint about the book – about development or lack thereof of Gabe’s character. Don’t get me wrong, he is wonderful, especially to Sei. He is genuinely supportive, accommodating and loving. He has no flaws. And that bothers me. Every character in the book, even those who didn’t appear on page (like Sei’s mother) went through some kind of change. Jamie was shown as caring, but sometimes overwhelming older brother. Kelly, my new favorite, showed us his sunny and gentle personality even when we know he suffers pretty much the same treatment as Sei did for being a male witch. Andrew Roman showed (completely) his true colors. Only Gabe remained the same and, because he plays such a huge role in Seiran’s life, I expected more of this character: more depth, more background, maybe demonstration of his vampire abilities.
Since the book concentrates so much on Sei, there isn’t much room for a bigger picture, i.e. the political games within the Dominion. While Sei is certainly on the way of recovery, there are many unanswered questions, including what role Sei will play in the forthcoming conflict between the Dominion and Ascendance. What of Trimega? What is the conflict between Gabe and Andrew really about? Also, there is Sam, one of Seiran’s students, who played both negative and positive role in Sei’s confrontation with Matthew and who will have his own book. Up to this moment, the author announced three other sequels, so I imagine we will have answers to all our questions.
Overall, Reclamation is a very emotional, tightly written addition to the series. The suspense builds slowly and it keeps you turning the pages to the very satisfying end. I, personally, enjoyed this book more than Inheritance and I’m looking forward the new adventures of Sei, Gabe, Jamie, Kelly, Sam and others. Highly recommended.