Recently, my social media has been flooded with book recommendations. Mostly my fault for joining a Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Facebook group and liking book related reels on Instagram. So that tends to be where I find most of my books to add to my to-read list. After looking for some books with distinctly LGBTQI couples, someone suggested this book, How to Vex a Vampire, a buddy-cop paranormal romance with vampires and sexy male/male relationships. I’ve always loved buddy-cop stories, they’ve been my go-to comfort watch on TV. Add in some sexy gay vampires, a main character who’s a double-amputee, and strained human-vampire relations, and you get a really unique paranormal mystery and romance. Not to mention that the character dynamics are laugh-out-loud hilarious. It’s probably one of the few books I’ve read recently to make me laugh quite a bit.
Getting into the vampire-only detective unit was the easy part; what’s going to be more difficult is dealing with my new partner, an ancient vampire who keeps threatening to eat me. The unit has never had a human in it, and Marcus—or as I like to call him, Fangy McFangface—would really prefer to keep it that way. He’s grumpy, short-tempered, and broody, but I have a way with words and I know he’s starting to like me, even if he swears he’s not. But what he doesn’t know is that I didn’t join the unit because I was tired of being a homicide detective, I joined because there is someone after me. They’ve already taken enough from me and I’m afraid they’re going to take all of me if I don’t find someone to help. That’s all Marcus was supposed to be, but now, he’s so much more and I can’t imagine my life without him.
How to Vex a Vampire is one of the funniest buddy-cop romances I’ve read in a long time. Alice Winters has a great writing style that creates this truly unique dynamic between her characters. Finn is just a master of coming up with quips, jokes, and comebacks that push the other characters to respond in kind. He gets under everyone’s skin but still remains lovable. With the point-of-view changes between Finn and Marcus, I think it really allows us to see more into their relationship and how each of them are affected by the other’s personality. Having multiple point-of-views seems to be the trend in fantasy right now, and while I think it takes away a certain element of imagination for the reader, I do enjoy it depending on the author. Winters definitely does a good job with it here.
“I beam at him. “Your personality is like a star shining brightly, blinding me—” “Fuck off. Go harass someone else.” “Nah, you love me, and you know it.”– Alice Winters, How to Vex a Vampire
Finn is just a truly unique character. He’s a double-amputee who, through pure determination and stubbornness, works as a police detective. He’s hilarious with some pure golden-retriever energy to him where his pure hearted stubbornness just seeps under the skins of everyone he comes into contact with. But under that cheerfulness is a man plagued by fear and PTSD from a vampire serial killer who has staked a claim on him and his body. The loss of his two limbs, the life he had to live with his drug-abusing and neglectful mother, and the subsequent self-consciousness from his prosthetics. We see that he tries to hide this all from the people closest to him with his humor, and to me this makes him a really well-rounded character. His issues and weaknesses are explored throughout the book, and we see him finally coming to rely on others for help and comfort.
Marcus is also a pretty great character. He may not feel as well-rounded as Finn, but I think he winds up being a good foil to him. He’s moody, private, and generally doesn’t like humans. But with the appearance of Finn, he begins to soften, finally coming to care for him. I love that Finn trips him up all the time, finding a way to strip away his swaggering ancient vampire energy to where he feels like a normal person. Marcus is always trying to look cool in front of others, but with Finn, that facade begins to crack. While being Finn’s partner, his self-confidence and self-assuredness is constantly challenged, and I think he learns a bit of humility from him.
The first big mystery of this book is a group of humans trying to develop a drug that can control vampires and create unrest in the tenuous human-vampire equilibrium. I love how Winters crafts her mysteries and action throughout the book. It keeps you reading, pulling you from one action-packed event to another, with a steady stream of research and detective work. With the humor and the dynamics between characters, the addition of a buddy-cop drama really holds everything together and makes the book feel whole. I love how the story and characters progress and how Finn and Marcus tackle the murders and issues they’re presented with.
There are at least 3 more books in the series that follow their relationship and the return of the ancient vampire who has an obsession with Finn, so I’ll probably be reading the rest of those this week. Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions for gay fantasy romances you’d love to see me read and review!
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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