Escaping Exile, Sara Dobie Bauer
Series: Escape Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.
Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream-but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.
As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?
Over the years, I’ve read plenty of books featuring all manner of vampires, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one about a vampire banished to a deserted island for bad behaviour before. Needless to say, I was a more than a little intrigued by this premise.
Andrew has been banished by his coven leader, Michelle, for basically being a murderous sociopath. Surrounded by cannibals, he exists on animal blood and spends his days waiting for the day Michelle will come back and tell him his banishment is over.
When a shipwreck washes up a crew of people onto the shore, Andrew manages to save the only person the cannibals haven’t already eaten, and hustles him back to his lair for a future snack. But instead of drinking the first human blood he’s had in ages, Andrew finds himself nursing the injured Edmund back to health, and for the first time ever, he finds himself unwilling to hurt somebody for sport or mischief. Now he just needs to keep Edmund safe from everybody else – including Michelle.
Right off the bat, I was a little concerned about the cannibals that inhabited this island and how they were presented. It didn’t sit right with me that the only non-white people in this book were described as little more than animals. It’s also not lost on me that during the time this book takes place, white people *did* in fact, treat POC as little more than animals. Worse even. That discomfort stayed with me during the story and is the primary reason why I couldn’t give this book a slightly higher rating.
Despite the tropical setting, the relationship between Andrew and Edmund left me kind of cold. Forced confinement stories should be full of tension and HFN but for most of this story, it seemed like both protagonists were only into each other *because* they were trapped, not in spite of it. As a scientist, Edmund is fascinated by Andrew’s vampirism, and every interaction is more like a science experiment rather than a true attraction. Andrew is fascinated with Edmund as well, but moreso because of his own reaction to him (ie: not killing him on the spot) and how Edmund humanizes him. I don’t know – it just didn’t feel like they cared all that much about each other – not until the very end at least. That’s when I finally saw a glimmer of their true attraction.
I really wanted to like this book more, and I probably would have – even despite the relationship issues – if it weren’t for those damn cannibals. Unfortunately, though, it was an issue that dogged me throughout my read. And every time I wanted to say something nice about the story (and quite honestly, it’s not all bad), I kept thinking about how that part of the story bugged me.
This book is a trilogy, so there is no HEA. At best, it’s an HFN, with the understanding that there is more of the story to come. For my own part, I’m not waiting on tenterhooks for the next installment, but I may pick it up once all three books are released, just to see how the story ends. Until then, I’m okay with waiting.
Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among others sexy things.
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Copy received courtesy of Netgalley