Amara: The Rebirth, Zathyn Priest
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Paranormal – Vamps/Werewolves
Length: 250 Pages
I’m going to get a couple of things out of the way and then get to my review. Without Zathyn Priest I may or may not be reading in the genre. I got curious after reading a het series with two gay characters but I was hesitant of where to start, or even if I wanted to start, in the LGBT genre. I found One of Those Days by Zathyn and decided to check it out. I admit the author name played a huge part in me checking out that particular story. Come on, you know it’s cool. *grin* I have since read over 800 LGBT books and Zathyn Priest will forever be a huge favorite to me. To say I was eager for a new release by this author would be an understatement. I was already familiar with Emrys Amara way back when and had fallen in love with the characters and the story. After getting to the end of the finished product, I have to say it was worth the wait.
Matthew and Dean, a married couple, are vampire slayers. That’s their profession and that’s all they do – kill vampires. The only good vampire was a dead one, according to Matthew, Dean and Matthew’s father, Vic. Dean’s family is mentioned but mostly in passing. Vic, however, plays a huge part in the story.
Matthew and Dean’s relationship is more than a little rocky. From the moment Dean is introduced in the story, he either becomes a character the reader will love to hate or one you will just flat out hate with every fiber of your being. For me, it was the former. He was such a bastard but he was just so damn good at it. He treated Matthew horribly from the get-go. He treated Emrys Amara (once he was introduced) so bad you are eager to see someone – anyone – knock him down a few pegs. For those (and I know a few) who might be concerned about the so-called cheating aspects of the story, don’t be. Seriously. You might hate Dean for what he does
not necessarily behind Matthew’s back but I assure you that you will be perfectly fine with Matthew doing what he does, and what he does? Not at all behind Dean’s back. You’ll have to read the story to understand what I’m saying.
Matthew and Dean are in search of the legendary Emrys Amara, the only vampire left of the Amara clan. The Amaras were different from other vampires. They had pure Amara blood and had powers the other clans could never claim to have. One of those being able walk around in the daylight. All others? Burnt to a crisp if caught out in the sun. When a diary of Emrys Amara is delivered to the couple, Matthew is convinced it’s a fake. If Emrys Amara was still alive, why on earth would he contact he and Dean? Two vampire slayers? The diary (laid out in the prologue of the story) details how a young, teenage boy (Aled Tudor) was kidnapped by the brutal leader of a vampire clan a couple of centuries before and became a slave to him in horrific ways. It also describes him being rescued by Minhangel Amara, the leader of the Amara clan, turned into an Amara vampire, and taken in to be his lover, his mate. Sadly, the happy life Emrys had with Minhangel and the others was quickly taken away and he was forced to either create a new clan in order to stop rival ones or remain in hiding, ultimately becoming a legend.
Everyone is gone. I’m utterly alone and my heart is splintered along with my shattered soul. The Amara clan is no more. I am the only one left.
Mired in grief for the family he lost, he does the latter – until he sends the diary to Matthew and Dean. Dean is convinced the diary is real and Matthew just goes along with him to keep peace. Matthew is always keeping peace, never causing a scene when he knows his husband is cheating, never causing a scene when Dean degrades him publicly, never doing anything to admit that the marriage is a failure.
At times it wasn’t worth my effort to react to Dean’s antagonism. For almost two years I’d played the charade of a happy couple and it had worn me down. Dean thrived on arguments, picked a fight over anything and everything, and got a kick out of belittling me in front of other people. I wasn’t a quitter. I didn’t want the shame of being the one who walked out on the marriage.
Until they meet a red-haired teenage boy. Dean hates, literally hates, people with red hair and he makes this known when he and Matthew set up a meeting with the person who claims to have information about the elusive Emrys Amara.
“Wonder how many carrots died to make his hair? If I ever had a kid that ugly, I’d throw it back.”
“Our reputations would be ruined if anyone saw us chatting to an ugly redhead. Go do something useful for the world like… Oh I don’t know… Kill yourself.”
“I like you, Matthew.” The boy peered at me with a small smile. “You’re a nice man. I don’t like Dean, but I like you.”
“I’m shattered,” Dean snarled. “I don’t give a fuck whether you like me or not, Red.”
“You should,” the boy said. “I never forget those who are nice to me. I never forget those who aren’t.”
Unfortunately for Dean, the redhead is none other than Emrys Amara, the most powerful vampire (according to legend) in existence. This is proven when Dean takes it a little too far with his attitude toward both Matthew and the “redhead”. Emrys’ transformation from the teenage boy to vampire has him looking like a small, delicate angel with green eyes and scarlet hair that falls below his shoulders. The author did an outstanding job with Emrys on the cover.
I’d never seen a more beautiful creature and, even while he braced for the kill, he took my breath away.
Emrys has decided to come out of hiding because children are disappearing at an alarming rate and he is convinced that rogue vampires (explained in detail in the story, but I won’t give away how they came to be) are taking these kids and using them as a food source. Teaming up with Matthew, and even Dean, is the only way Emrys believes he will be able to find those missing and finally put a stop to the hold the rogues and their leader have on the area. What he doesn’t expect is to find his mate in the process, the one man he would be able to love for all eternity. While Minhangel had loved Emrys with all of his being, Emrys was unable to return the love the elder vampire wanted desperately. Meeting Matthew shows him, literally in zero time, what it’s like to finally feel what Minhangel had once felt for him. While Dean is a problem, he’s really not. His true colors come out in full force and Matthew finally decides to walk away from the horrible life he’s been living for the past two years.
As Matthew and Emrys quickly discover their love for each other, they (including Dean) begin a mission to try to find the lost children and ultimately the leader who is creating the rogues. Of course, Dean is a problem from the very beginning but the way the author explains everything had me eagerly hoping to see him get his. He does, only not in the way the reader would expect.
Then there is Vic, Matthew’s widower father. Dean has done an excellent job faking his way with the family and he makes sure that Vic is contacted in regards to Matthew’s “behavior” with the powerful vampire. Once Vic arrives at the hide-out where Emrys has the couple hidden, he must accept some things about his son or walk away. One, Matthew’s marriage to the so-called wonderful Dean. How to convince him that Dean is a lying and cheating bastard? Two, Matthew’s love for a vampire. Vic has raised Matt to be a vampire slayer, not a vampire lover. However, once a vampire finds his true mate, there is no turning back, even if that mate is human. It takes a bit for Vic to accept it and when he does, I swear I got tears in my eyes. Hell, I got tears in my eyes more than once over Vic, Matthew and even Emrys. Everyone should have a father like Vic. I absolutely adored him.
More children disappear and other things come to light for the men. Werewolves, like vampires, are not merely make-believe. They are very real and are right in the middle of the rogue vampire situation.
There is so much more I could say about this book. Hell, I’ve barely touched the surface. However, I refuse to spoil this for other readers and anything else I say could possibly do just that.
The characters are amazing. Emrys is adorable, both his human, redheaded side and his beautiful “china doll” vampire side. He has a thing for nail polish and I smiled the couple of times it was mentioned.
“Good evening, Matthew.” Emrys presented me with a bottle of wine and a wide smile. “Sorry I’m a little late. I had a nail polish drama.” He flashed painted red nails at me. “All fixed now, though.”
Emrys walked by Dean, waving a hand in his face. “Didn’t notice you were there. Was wondering what the foul odour was.”
I love characters like Emrys and the way the author wrote him was brilliant. He’s funny. He’s charming. He also has (at times) the silly teenage mentality that had me giggling. Oh, he’s a very powerful vampire and that’s made quite clear, but watching his interactions with Dean and later with Vic were priceless.
Then there’s Matthew. Matthew only wants to be happy and to be loved. He finds that quickly with Emrys. Some might say it happens too fast and normally I would agree. I’m not one for insta-love but Matt and Emrys could not have been written any differently. It was perfect.
Dean is the ultimate bastard and I probably laughed at him a few times when I shouldn’t have. I have to say that I love the way everything came to a head with him.
There are other characters, of course, who are integral to the story but I won’t add spoilers. I will say that I fell in love with a werewolf and if you read this book, I have no doubt that you will as well.
Overall, in case it hasn’t been made obvious to this point, I absolutely loved this book. Zathyn Priest was my very first favorite in the genre and remains one to this day. He has written another outstanding story with Amara: The Rebirth, and I will anxiously await – and hope – for more from these guys. There’s humor (a lot of humor), violence and in the end, two people who find the ultimate in true love. I smiled a lot and I shed more than a few sappy tears. The intimate moments, while not overdone, are written beautifully. If you love a good romance and a good vampire story, I can’t recommend this enough.
Another outstanding book by Zathyn Priest. I love the cover.