When you think of main characters, what do you prefer? Do you want someone in which you can relate? Do you want someone who is adventurous or risk-taking?
These questions intrigue me, but how about their morals and actions toward the other main character? What if they betray someone important? Are there things that you refuse to forgive in a Main Character?
I normally hate novels whose main characters do douchey things. But for some reason, this series just hooked me from the beginning.
Z.A. Maxfield has always provided an entertaining story, and this is no exception.
Book 1 (Notturno): Adin is a book collector for the university and discovered a highly valuable antique love journal. The problem? It belongs to Donte — a vampire. Soon there individuals who want the book and not all of them are friendly. Will Adin and Donte be able to put away the past to find love? Will Adin survive the night?
Book 2 (Vigil): Adin and Donte have survived the traumas that brought them together. But now there is a new danger entering their lives: Bran. This young man, is something supernatural and Adin takes him under his wings. But is this seemingly innocent boy really more dangerous than anything Adin and Donte has faced? Can they survive?
** Note that you MUST read the books in order.
Adin is our voice for this series, everything we see is from his perspective. His voice is ironically humorous at times, his vision of how his peers view his job:
More than one of his peers thought of him as the shocking and unnatural Dr. Adin Tredeger, purveyor of exotic porn.
What I like most about Adin is at the beginning of the series with Notturno, we think he is a bit self-centered free spirit with little depth. But we quickly learn that he more than his passion for sexy books. There is much character development that wish I could go into, but it would greatly spoil the plot.
He is more than his work: he is a loving brother, a devoted friend, and a valiant defender. What Adin struggles most in this series is understanding how much danger his new life brings to his friends and family.
Donte (Nicolo Pietro di Sciarello):
Donte is an extremely complex character. We must remember how it must feel to live hundreds of years, and his hundreds of years of existence influences him. And yet, Adin’s perspective of Donte really illuminates the nature of their relationship:
For some reason I find him more human than the men I know who haven’t lost their humanity. He… longs for it, when others take it for granted.”
Adin’s heart is so immense that it enable Donte to become more accepting of himself and Adin’s love. There is much about Donte that I wish I could disclose and discuss here, but it would spoil much of the plot. Simply understand that the man we see in the beginning of Notturno is not the same male we see at the close of Vigil.
To fully discuss the theme risks disclosing plot points from each book. However, from book 2, Vigil we see a discussion between Adin and his father regarding Adin’s uncle who died of AIDS:
Second, I want to tell you how terribly disappointed I was in the way my parents handled my brother’s death, as if by shrouding his final year in mystery they were preserving his dignity,when in fact, they were robbing him of it with their failure to celebrate his life. Whatever happened, whatever choices he made, even though tragedy struck, I still celebrate his life. I wish my parents had. I would have.
For Donte, he clutches his journal in a desperate attempt to retain the memory of his previous love alive. It was the last time that he truly felt alive, in multiple ways. Meanwhile, Adin is forever buried in work and meaningless sex. His life has had a whole within it since the death of his parents, creating a new family with his friends and sister.
These men must put the past behind them before they can begin celebrating life again.
The first strength I found in this series is Maxfield’s writing. She has the ability to write such complex characters, but in a way that makes them endearing and not angst-ridden. In fact, there is a third book on the horizon that will finish this series. Maxfield says that it will come out sometime in 2013.
The second point is the humor. Because of the complex secondary characters, they are often used as foils giving us much-needed humor. This series has ups and downs, which at times needs some lighter moments.
What could be better?
There is very little that I would improve in this story. Just read this!
However, I do think that I need to followup on the teaser that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. One of our characters does something that some readers might be considered a “betrayal”. So, if you are a reader who is overly sensitive to grey shades of morality, this book might be more of a challenge. However, I can say that it was nothing that stopped me from reading it, in-fact, it allowed me to grow as a reader to try something “outside my comfort zone.”
ZA Maxfield is one of my favorite authors in m/m romance. Her characters are more than one-dimensional, and the conflicts are never simply solved. This series is something new for me: flawed characters that do things I would never do. There is typically a line in romance novels that neither character will cross: cheating, abandonment, or abuse. Maxfield flirts with this line, creating characters who are “human”, but ultimately they created a solid bond that understands and accepts each other’s weaknesses and strengths.
I am incredibly anxious to read Maxfield’s next book in this series. According to her webpage it is “coming soon.” I cannot wait!