Title: Blood Bathory: Be Not Proud (The Guardians of Gaia #3)
Author: Ari McKay
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: August 6th 2018
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 360 pages
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.38 stars out of 5
Death, be not proud…
The conclusion of the war between Elizabeth Bathory and the Guardians of Gaia draws closer, but the theriomorphs and their allies are caught between vampires loyal to Elizabeth Bathory’s daughter, Anna, and humans controlled by Elizabeth and her sire, Thrace. With the forces of evil now pressing on them from two sides, the theriomorphs need help, and they need it fast!
And soonest our best men with thee do go…
It has been five hundred years since Antonio de Barajas, one of the oldest surviving theriomorphs, lost his mate at the hands of his worst enemy. But Gaia never revealed the whole truth about Raphael’s fate, and Antonio is shocked when Raphael arrives to train Evan St. John and Adam Carson as true Dark Guardians. Yet the man who returns after so long is not the same man Antonio once loved. The hard and lonely life as Gaia’s hunter has changed Raphael almost as much as his lost memories of Antonio and the love they once shared.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men…
Antonio must work with the stranger who wears his lover’s face, and while Raphael is welcomed by most of the team, one member sees his return as a threat to his own place in Antonio’s life. But Thrace has allied himself with terrorists who possess a weapon of mass destruction. Now the theriomorphs and Dark Guardians must work together in a race against time to discover Thrace’s plan. Even as Antonio and Raphael are irresistibly drawn to one another, Antonio risks losing far more than his heart this time. If he and his team fail in their mission, millions will die, for Thrace will stop at nothing to destroy Gaia once and for all.
This is the final book in The Guardian of Gaia series and the end finale to the war between the theriomorphs and Elizabeth Bathory. With the help of Thrace Elizabeth is now free of her daughter Anna’s imprisonment and her healing has now begun. Thrace wants humans, theriomorphs and Gaia to be destroyed in revenge for his dead Siora. Elizabeth also wants Anna to die. The war is now fought on two fronts and Gaia sends help which is sorely needed. Antonio didn’t expect that to be in the form of his former thought-to-be-dead lover, Raphael. He’s there to assess Evan and Adam, if he finds them worthy to be trained as Dark Guardians. He also reveals there’s a third potential dark guardian, a vampire lying trapped inside the hacienda.
Raphael, having no memory of Antonio is relieved to understand there’s someone in Antonio’s life and that he seemed to have found someone else to love and moved on. They still have great chemistry as evidenced when they first met and Antonio kissed him. Raphael agrees to train the two vampires and his interest in Antonio is awakened when Antonio challenges Raphael to a practice fight, making an impression on Raphael who didn’t expect the old theriomorph to fight and move with such skill and grace. Meanwhile Jean-Paul’s jealousy grows as he’s unsure of Antonio’s feelings. As they prepare for their showdown with Thrace and Elizabeth on one end and Anna on the other, things take a turn to the unexpected and they realize they’re running out of time.
I love how Antonio and Raphael goes from strangers to re-connection. However I find myself not as into this book as I could have been since there’s a lot of telling us how they feel instead of showing us. There’s a dream flashback in the beginning which features Antonio and Raphael talking and having sex. There was too much talking while having sex and since the speech is supposed to be from 500 years ago I couldn’t feel the heat between them at all. Another thing is also I couldn’t understand how Raphael could still be speaking the same way. After so many years it felt more like he had been sleeping for 500 years and waking up to everything new.
My biggest surprise though was how long Antonio and Raphael had been together before being separated for five hundred years. Really?? Ah, then I understand Antonio’s reaction if one compares it with other couples, or at least that is what I think, considering their connections are supposed to be so strong. Like Thrace and Siora’s.
When the second book ended I thought there’d be a lot of action and couldn’t phantom how they would win since both Elizabeth and Thrace were made as very powerful enemies. Most of the book had the good side merely preparing to fight, there were some behind the scene action but none we were privy to. I didn’t mind it since I liked reading about Antonio’s issues with Jean-Paul and Raphael. The action came toward the end and although I didn’t mind, it felt a little anti-climatic.
The was also a bit of the whole ‘give awesome advice and the situation is solved’. The only one who couldn’t be set straight by talking to was Thrace and that was the basis of the whole series.
In the end, I wanted just a little more than we got. A nice little epilogue to show how their lives continued would have been nice since this was the third and final book.