Title: Silver/Steel (Arcada #2)
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: Long Novel
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Blurb: Overextended sequel which weighed down what could have been a haunting story straight out of a traditional folk ballad.
Blurb: When dream hunter Dylan Ryve spots a beautiful shapeshifter raising hell in a bar, he knows he wants the wild young man. But Travis Feris is more to Dylan than a few hot minutes outside in the snow; he’s the assassin’s ticket into the magical town of Arcada. He didn’t plan to rescue the kid, but when he found the shifter being attacked, the opportunity to play hero was too good to pass up.
Through the solitude of a long winter night, Dylan walks in Travis’s fevered dreams, learning about Arcada and the pack, and showing the shifter the man he’d been so very long ago. When morning comes, both men know their lives will be forever entwined.
From Dylan, Travis learns that he is a strong, valued member of the pack. The dreamwalker sees his own worth reflected back at him in the dark blue eyes of the wolf. Yet when Dylan has the chance to free himself from centuries of enslavement, can he betray the man he has come to love?
The first book in the Arcada series Blaque/Bleu is one of my favourite shifter stories and I frequently return to it. I love the strong emotions between the characters and the difficulties they overcome to be together always feel real and believable. There is a simplicity about the unexpected attraction between these different species that forms the basis of a powerful romance.
Similarly, this sequel starts with a sexual attraction between very different men but one that was less successful for me. I liked both Dylan and Travis as individuals, but unlike with Blaque and Bleu, did not feel that they achieved that completely appealing and essential romantic truth of being much more together than when they were apart. There is a huge age and experience disparity that is set up as an extra frisson to the already complicated differences between these main characters. Moreover, their sexual relationship which explored a well worn path of domination and submission seemed uncomfortably familiar.
Dylan’s tragic back story and his subjugation by a genuinely vile character reminded me of traditional folk songs like the Child ballads. Tales like Long Lankin or Tam Lin, full of murder, blood, evil, sorrow, honour and endless grace. This formed the strong bones of the story. Unfortunately too much superfluous flesh is then draped on top. I liked the light touch of the world building in the first book, the protective spirit of Arcada was enigmatically touched upon, she wasn’t given a personality and an intrusive, possibly Clannad – esque voice. Understandably, given Dylan’s dreamhunter role, there was a lot of dream walking here and this has never been my favourite form of communication. Although it was pleasant to catch up on the pack, all their awkward politics added another discordant element to a confusing mix of personalities and sub plots. Sometimes it just felt like too much. Too much complication with the resultant contortion of explanations and conclusions.
The feelings of tension and inevitable sadness that Dylan evoked was effective and filled the book with an over riding and individual atmosphere. I liked revisiting this fascinating world, a mix of the everyday mess of humanity and the magical races. However I felt that the original book achieved so much more with it’s casual hints of hidden depths than this did with quantities of spelt out detail.