Review: "Thicker Than Water" by A.F. Henley
Note: This ebook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Ladomer kissed him again and then sat up, still straddling Zor's lap. "Admit that you would die without me."
Both of Zor's hands lighted on his hips. "No." He smiled when Ladomer looked down in surprise. "I would die for you. I would die with you. But I will not give thought to an existence where I would have to spend a single moment trying to live without you."
Ladomer's older brother Felix sacrificed himself in order to save him from a vampire eight years ago. Now, his hatred for vampires fuels his need to rid the world of each and every single one of the murderous bloodsuckers. He has joined forces with Zor, a hunter who has battled with and killed countless vampires already and their partnership has become deeper and more personal over time. They are friends and lovers, but that doesn't stop them from having disagreements and misunderstanding from time to time.
When their quest leads them to the place where Arius, the oldest living vampire, resides, Ladomer and Zor realize that the odds may be stacked against them, but do what they can. It is when Ladomer is captured by Arius and Zor is nowhere to be found that Ladomer is forced to face the vampire master. With death seemingly right around the corner, Ladomer is about to receive the shock of his life, and he wonders if it is his destiny to die the same way his brother did or if love will find a way to save him from a horrific demise.
Whenever I read and review a short story or novella, one of the things I look for is quality over quantity. Yes, there are way fewer pages in this kind of book compared to full-length ones, and while I've experienced some that left me wanting, there is the impressive handful that can weave a tale so engrossing and develop characters that you find yourself investing in that I have had the pleasure of coming across. Without a doubt, A.F. Henley's Thicker Than Water is one such novella, and the author once again proves to be a gifted wordsmith, making it way too easy to make the choice to click "Request" when NetGalley has yet another finished masterpiece waiting to be read and reviewed. Yes, this is me having a fangirl moment.
Ladomer and Zor are two independent men who initially came together with one common goal: the annihilation of vampires. Over time, their relationship evolves into something much more, and the love, trust, and respect they have for each other can be clearly seen, even without copious amounts of affection and sexual interaction that some readers think is absolutely necessary in a romance novel. The thought that an M/M novel needs to have a lot of sex in it is downright nonsensical because, at the end of the day, love isn't limited to just sex. There's an exceptional story here of love between two people and how far they're willing to go and how much they're willing to sacrifice for that love that the two of them both share.
The vampires here are the vampires I remember watching in classic horror movies. There's nothing good about them and they aren't on some road to redemption. Their intent is to kill humans or to turn them but there were different classes of vampires in this story--the masters and the slaves or followers. There was no romanticizing of the undead and that was a refreshing change, though I'll take my vampires as they come, good or bad. ^.^ Thank you to A.F. Henley for sharing this distinctly remarkable novella with me. With such beautiful writing, Thicker Than Water manages to do what a lot of full-length novels aren't able to as successfully: it leaves you sated but still hoping the story never comes to an end. Five-plus stars! ♥
Date Read: 11 May 2015
Learn more about A.F. Henley here.