Title: A Time to Rise
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Release Date: May 2, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal/Gay Romance
Length: 4,898 Kindle locations
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.
Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand firm against monsters from the dark depths. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and from the evils that exist beyond the Veil.
But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenberg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.
Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in a right angles everywhere he goes, Cris struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cris collides with Alain, and both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.
This is a difficult review. There was so much to like about this book, and then so much (personal tastes only) that didn’t work for me. So I’ll settle on 3.5 and consider it overall positive from a new-to-me author.
Tal Bauer paints a world that is vivid, tangible, and brilliant. A paranormal reality where nothing is how most people would understand or even be aware of. The Vatican is our setting, and a single Swiss Guard, Alain Autenburg, fights the evils that lurk in the center of Catholicism. He has a “sidekick,” Father Lotario, whom is not like any priest I’ve ever met. He smokes like a chimney, he’s bratty and sarcastic, and he drives like a bat out of hell. No one in the Swiss Guard and the Vatican, save the Pope and the Commandant, are even aware of Alain’s true duties and what lurks in the Vatican.
Alain is voluntold by his mentor to orient, and be a mentor to, one of the newest Swiss Guards, Cris Haase. Alain must hide what he does from Cris, but mentor him at the same time, which….awkward. Cris needs guidance. He is angry and bitter and has a chip on his shoulder the size of a boulder.
Most of this book is Alain and Lotario going after different creatures of the Veil, getting beaten up, nearly dying. And while those were interesting stories, I wanted more Alain/Cris time. As a matter of fact, we’re told, after a time jump, just how much time they spent together building a friendship. So the whole relationship-build that I consider the best part of a romance…….I missed it! Fail!
Bauer writes really well. I’ll say that for sure. It was smooth and gripping. A little over-descriptive at times, but never a dull moment. But with SO much emphasis on the paranormal instead of the relationship, I felt jipped. Additionally, this was paranormal on steroids. The blood, gore, and injuries were A LOT in this book. Not for the faint of heart at all.
We get a big mystery with a few side plot mysteries in this one too. Which also kept me on the edge of my seat guessing. So it was definitely a STRONG book. I just don’t know if I enjoyed it or not. Still. After thinking on it for 24 hours.
Best quote of the book:
Alain was going to dive cock first into Hell tonight.
For those who are wondering, there was only ONE smexy scene in the whole book. Sigh. Frowns.
Overall, this was a strong story with gripping plot lines. The world building was amazing, and I flew through the book. But the romance is really pushed to the back burner. If you don’t mind a strong paranormal story with minimal romance, then I’d recommend.