Title: A Draft of Ash and Wine
Series: Midnight Guardians: Book Two
Author: Kristin Jacques
Publisher: City Owl Press
Length: 311 Pages
Category: Historical, Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 Stars
At a Glance: The egregious editing notwithstanding, I liked the continuation of what is shaping up to be a trilogy. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that were it not for borrowing this book in KU, I’d have DNF’d and returned it for a refund. You might want to keep that in mind if you’re considering it.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Johnathan Newman is a changed man, and he has the claws to prove it.
Following their bloody confrontation in Cress Haven, Vic and Johnathan flee the town in search of answers. Johnathan’s human life has ended, but his journey has just begun. Grappling with violent instincts and a supernatural bond to the vampire he’s falling for is complicated enough, but a dangerous new enemy is hot on their heels.
The machinations of the Society reach farther than either of them realized. Their foe’s dogged pursuit forces the pair to seek sanctuary. Vic brings Johnathan to the Estate, a haven for creatures nestled in the wilderness of upstate New York. Taken in by the Estate’s unusual proprietors, Johnathan soon learns not even sanctuary is safe for one of his ilk. This haven provides the pair an opportunity to explore their burgeoning relationship, and Johnathan a chance to learn control- A skill he is desperate to master, no matter the cost.
Because time is not on their side. The Society’s Agents are catching up to them, armed with a weapon straight from the Heavens. With their enemy’s plans creeping toward fruition, humans won’t be the only ones they have to worry about.
Review: I don’t often take a book to task for subpar editing. Everyone makes mistakes, and overlooking things when you’ve gone “text blind” from reading a draft over and over again is an unfortunate, but understandable, part of the process. That being said, however, City Owl Press did wrong by Kristin Jacques, and they should refund the money they charged her. Missing and redundant words, the excessive misspelling of a character’s name, and misused words almost succeeded in ruining this story, so credit where credit is due: I cared enough about Vic and Johnathan to stick with them and see where their misadventures would take them.
These characters were introduced in A Bargain of Blood and Gold, and thus, this is not a standalone story. It’s integral to know where John and Vic began in order to follow where they are now. This means more than their physical location, which is crucial to the story, but it means in what state of mind they find themselves as they run from enemies new and old, as well as how they’re coping (or, rather, not coping) with the traumas and upheavals that have brought them to this point. John, in particular, is suffering, which results in Vic suffering because he loves John and feels no small amount of urgency to protect and attempt to comfort him.
Jacques throws some nice surprises and twists into the plot as she continues to build the world in which her characters dwell. Rather than what might have been a villain origin story, we see John evolving into a hero, albeit reluctantly and not at all in the way he expected or wanted. The danger to him and Vic owning not so much to who they are but for what they are continues to escalate as enemies pursue. It’s very much a “my right to exist is not predicated by your beliefs or dictated by your doctrine” situation, and I’m interested to see where the author will take them next—both their allies and their enemies.
The egregious editing notwithstanding, I liked the continuation of what is shaping up to be a trilogy. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that were it not for borrowing this book in KU, I’d have DNF’d and returned it for a refund. You might want to keep that in mind if you’re considering it.
You can buy A Draught of Ash and Wine here: