Close Quarter, by Anna Zabo
Series: Quarter, Book 1
Release Date: August 15, 2017 (Re-release)
On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn’t his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.
Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he’s a forest fae able to glamour the room around them–and more importantly, that he’s on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of their main course.
Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs most–the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?
Fae, Vampires, others
Content Warning for:
Violence and Some Gore
I don’t read a lot of paranormal romance but I found Close Quarter to be a sexy and entertaining read – up to a point. I enjoyed the fae, vampire and mythical aspects of the story very much, in particular Silas’ backstory and Rhys’ gradual awakening – in every sense – to this other world. I thought the worldbuilding was smooth and that the plot was not without surprises. The main characters were pretty distinct despite minimal development and there’s no denying that the chemistry between Rhys and Silas was off the charts.
The characters kicked off their ocean voyage with a bang and the heat level remained intense for the rest of the cruise. I thought the sex scenes were incredibly hot, although it did get repetitious with every single action and reaction documented on page from start to finish every time they got it on. I also thought some of the scenes were a bit farfetched considering the amount of danger they were in, with enemies lurking – often literally – around every corner. However, one thing in particular that I enjoyed about their physical connection was the power exchange that occurred between Rhys and Silas, which was closely tied to the fae elements in play; it definitely added an extra spark to those scenes and the story as a whole.
The book moved at a pretty fast pace and drew me in quite easily. However I stumbled in the final third and had a difficult time getting back into the groove from there on out. Part of it was due to the monotony that began to set in despite all the action going on (they were aboard an ocean liner after all, and I guess there’s only so many times you can have sex and kill vampires). But part of the problem was simply because… I kept getting confused. I would be fully engaged in a particular scene, and then a minute later a character said or did something in such a way that I felt as if I was not in on a joke or had somehow missed something important. It happened often enough after a certain point that it felt as if the author assumed I knew the characters or the story as well as they did, so didn’t bother with nuance or explanations. It wasn’t a huge thing like a glaringly obvious plot hole, but it happened enough that I started to get annoyed.
It’s never a good thing ending a book on a frustrated note, especially when I thoroughly enjoyed most of it. Close Quarters would’ve been a solid 4-star read if some parts hadn’t left me completely at sea. It’s honestly difficult to say if it’s just a me thing so if you’re into paranormal romance, perhaps give this one a try and let me know.
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.