Title: Conviction (Dominion #3)
Author: Lissa Kasey
Cover art: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Conviction (Dominion Series)
Length: Novella/180 PDF pages/46,212 words
Genre: Paranormal M/M romance
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by LadyM
Summary review: Expected good writing is there, but the romance is unconvincing and the world-building stagnates.
Blurb: Water witch Kelly Harding didn’t think befriending Seiran Rou would be so dangerous. With Seiran finally recovered from the plot that almost killed him, a ski vacation seems like just the thing to help them all relax—even if Kelly does have to work to keep his taboo crush on Seiran’s brother, Jamie, under wraps. But their getaway takes a turn for the worse when a blizzard strands them in the middle of nowhere… with a killer.
With Seiran in danger again, it’s hard for Jamie not to suspect Kelly. But Kelly claims he’s innocent, and Jamie can’t seem to resist him, despite his misgivings.
When visions of a tower and a dying friend fill Kelly’s head, he has to try to save them. Between his distrust and their mutual attraction, Jamie isn’t about to let him go alone—but it will take a close encounter with mortality to make them understand how deep their feelings go, and not everyone will make it out alive.
Conviction is the third book in Dominion series, a sequel to very good Inheritance and excellent Reclamation. Unlike the first two books, this novel focuses on Jamie, Seiran’s half-brother, and Kelly, another male witch and their friend. I was looking forward to this book, because I enjoyed previous installments very much and I liked the characters of Kelly and Jamie. The book, set in an isolated cabin during blizzard, promised many possibilities, both romance- and plot-wise. And, I have to admit it, the great cover also tickled my fancy (feel free to call me shallow). Unfortunately, the final result disappointed me, because I felt that the romance was unconvincing and at the same time, the book didn’t offer any additional world development.
There were several things that bothered me to some extent. It was expected that the characters of Jamie and Kelly would change from the way we perceived them in the first two novels, considering that this book was actually about them. However, it seemed to me that Kelly had a personality transplant – there was not a trace of his sunny, optimistic self. He is touchy and secretive and started sharing Jamie’s obsession of protecting Sei at all cost. Jamie is still a suspicious, overprotective bear, but the humor that tinged this character in the previous novels just wasn’t there. Jamie is suspicious of Kelly and he constantly obsesses about Seiran and his safety, which began to grate on my nerves. I thought the story would concentrate on Jamie and Kelly rather than on them obsessing about Sei. In fact, that was another element of this book I disliked – in the previous two novels, it was clear that Sei had strength in him in spite of his troubled past and present. Both Jamie and Kelly talk about Seiran as if he was a child in need of a nanny. It seemed to me that they managed to completely disregard Gabe and the relationship he has with Sei.
Also, a lack of communication was used as a plot device to the extent that I had trouble believing that these two men were anything more than vaguely attracted to each other. The one-step-forward-two-steps-back between them got old really fast and I just couldn’t grasp the reasons why they acted the way they did – the secrecy, suspicions, jumping to conclusions – all could have been cleared with just one conversation. The mystery itself wasn’t too hard to solve, but the boys were so wrapped up in their own drama, they could hardly engage in its solving, at least not competently.
But, perhaps, my biggest disappointment is the fact that the characters of Kelly and Jamie didn’t gain any depth. At the end of the book, I knew about them exactly what I knew before – from the previous two novels. I hoped that we would get some background on them, independent from the situation with Seiran and that they would become more than Sei’s brother or friend. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The same goes for the world building – we weren’t given any additional information about it. In that light, Kelly’s new role at the end of the book seemed to just pop almost out of nowhere. The subtle clues throughout the book weren’t sufficient to make it seem any less artificial. Although I liked the way he disposed of the bad guy.
All of this doesn’t mean that there were no good elements in the book or that I didn’t find any enjoyment in it. The quality of author’s writing didn’t diminish and it was great to see Gabe and Sei again. It always amazed me how Gabe always fulfills Sei’s every need. I was also very happy that Sam made an appearance. I really liked this character in the second book and, although he didn’t have a huge page time in this one, I sympathized with his struggle and I really want to see him get his happy ending. You’ll be happy to know that Ms. Kasey is already working on his book. 🙂 Also, Con, Kelly’s high school ex-boyfriend, could also prove to be an interesting character and I wouldn’t mind learning more about him.
Overall, this was a nice, quick read that read like an interlude within the greater story. I liked it, but at the same time, I expected more. I certainly recommend it to the fans of this series. I hope that Kelly and Jaime will continue to grow as the series progresses. Maybe, even in the next sequel – Ascendance – which will be published at the end of the year. 🙂