To Adam With Love (Gray Zone, #1)
Dreamspinner Press, August 28, 2011
Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here
Adam's mother brought him as a child to the Gray Zone, the no man's land between the crumbling city and the Dens where the Kin-the Dragons-and Lesser-Breds-their mixed-blood-offspring-live. He was different, not completely Human, and she knew fear and prejudice would drive people to do horrible things... like a father trying to kill his son. Five years later, Adam's father is behind bars and Adam has come home to the Zone, the last place anyone would expect innocence, loyalty, and devotion, to complete his becoming Lesser-Bred and find his best friend and only love, Ean.
But Ean has a life of his own. He's always wanted to belong to Batu, the Male Kin who has watched over him since childhood, but now Ean's caught in a deadly trap of biology and vengeance: he isn't enough to feed his beloved Adam during the dangerous transformation, and Kin won't allow an emotional bond in their midst. Years ago Ean lost Adam after failing to keep him safe. Now that Adam is back, will a simple feeling give Ean the strength to defy everything he's ever known and keep them together?
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Dragons, Shifters,
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3
Reviewed by SharonS.:
What an emotionally powerful story. I am a big fan of dark Urban Fantasy/PNR and this definitely fits that genre. The story is about the love and loyalty between two best friends who come from different worlds and the brutal choices they are willing to make to be together. I was also taken with the sweet innocence as they discover the physical and emotional bond between them.
Kin are not human. They are dragons who can look human and live by their own set of brutal laws. In their society you take care of what is yours and only keep what you need. There is no concept of love, just taking care of the ‘need’. Kin need to “feed”, with blood or sex, and by taking a metaphysical energy during these feedings.
Lesser-Bred are the offspring of a Kin and a human woman. They are born human, but eventually the Kin side will surface and without the help of other male Kin the Lesser-Bred will die.
Adam grew up in the Gray Zone because his mother knew he would become Lesser-Bred. As a child he befriended Ean. Ean is human, but for some reason has been raised by Batu, a Kin. Ean has only ever known the way of Kin which means he never learned to read or write and is waiting for the day Batu will make him ‘belong’, which means he will live for centuries and be able to ‘feed’ Batu. His human feelings were never nurtured.
I fell in love with Adam and Ean as they struggled to understand each others world. Ean’s struggle to put words he didn’t know to the feelings Adam awakened in him. There is brilliant layering of emotions from all the characters and the last line of the book brought tears to my eyes.
I don’t normally talk about the structure of a story, but the author’s use of flashbacks and secondary characters to help with the world building was genius. At no time was there the info dump that plagues many UFs. The character Brian, who is in love with Adam, gives us insight into how the human world views the Kin society. He also represents the normal life Adam has been denied because he is a Lesser-Bred, and the tragic consequences when the two worlds mix. The only other Lesser-Bred we meet in this story is Jerry. He lives with Batu and Ean. We only get a few scenes with him, but we learn so much about the life of the Lesser-Breds through him.
The story takes place when Adam comes back after a 5 year absence (he is an adult now) from the Gray Zone. The author uses well placed flashbacks to catch us up on Adam and Ean’s story as well as more world building. For someone who reads a lot of UF, I was impressed with Wilder’s writing skills.
I am a little disappointed with the cover art choice for this book. It doesn’t even begin to convey the dark edge of this story. I don’t know if you will be as taken with this story as I was, since I love dark Urban Fantasy/PNR, but I don’t think you will be disappointed.