Roman (Vampire's Mate) ~ Grae Bryan
Danny Kingman is used to fending for himself. Working nonstop as an ER nurse to pay for his mother’s care, he’s been putting his own life on hold since he can remember. But when an unbelievably hot, strangely intense man saves him from a mugging, Danny has a feeling everything is about to change. Especially when that man suddenly pops out a pair of fangs.
Roman Mourier has been wandering aimlessly for decades, waiting for the inevitable day when the last of his humanity leaves him, and the demon inside him takes permanent control. He doesn’t believe in fated mates, or the myth that there’s a soul out there that could tether his humanity to him. Until he feels a strange pull to the lovely young man at the hospital, and hope stirs in him for the first time.
But Roman has demons other than just the one inside him. Is he strong enough to keep Danny safe from the past that haunts him? He knows one thing for sure: now that he’s found his mate, he will do anything to keep him.
Roman is the debut novel of Grae Bryan, and oh wow, what a debut it is!
Grae has produced a story with a complex plot and richly developed characters that belies a first novel. While not without its flaws, Roman is engaging and addictive. Roman is everything I could possibly want in a vampire novel: romance, danger, mystery, and friendships that span centuries.
Although Danny and Roman are characters central to the plot, there are a few secondary characters that also play an essential role and will feature in future books. These characters are beautifully developed, rich and vibrant on the page; it's almost like they are standing right next to you. Even the minor cast, who may have minimal page time, are developed to the extent they need to be. None of them feel like filler or simply names on a page; they all have a personality that makes them live, if only for that brief time.
Roman is a beautiful story, and I loved every moment. However, there was one small thing that I wasn't quite… well comfortable probably isn't the right word, perhaps it simply annoyed me a bit. Throughout the book, Roman thinks of Danny as a 'boy'. At first, before they interacted in any great depth, it was okay, because, let's face it, in terms of age, Danny was a boy compared to Roman. However, once they started a relationship, particularly when it was physical, Roman's word choice started to grate a bit and feel a bit icky. It would have been different if there had been a Daddy/Boy dynamic, but there wasn't; it was simply Roman seeing Danny as young compared to him. It's not like Roman was thinking in terms of condescension; it was clear he respected Danny and treated him as the adult he was; it was simply the term he used in his head. As I said, this was a really *minor* issue, and it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book at all.
The danger/suspense part of the story was both equally sad and gripping. The 'murderous' vampire was a man of many shades, that is for sure, and discovering new elements of his motives and personality kept me engaged and wondering.
A lovely side story was that of Danny’s mother. Her condition was sensitively portrayed, as was the despair Danny felt and his determination to do what he could until the end. Roman's interventions brought a tear to my eye; it was a truly beautiful part of the book.
I was captivated by Roman from the start, and I had so much trouble having to put it down for pesky things like work. Grae Bryan should be congratulated for producing an engaging and enjoyable read, and I am so looking forward to the next book in the series. Grae Bryan is an author to watch out for; she will only get better, and I can't wait to see what she does next!
Roman is available via ebook.