A novella series is tough to review; each book is just a little too short to write about on its own and trying to do the whole series at once is super tiring. But I really liked these books so I’m gonna give it a shot.
Spectr vol. 1 by Jordan L. Hawk
Published: Self-Published (September 30th 2013), eBook, 270pg
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, GLBTQ, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Includes: Hunter of Demons, Master of Ghouls, Reaper of Souls
What happens when an exorcist falls in love with the demon he's supposed to destroy?
Unregistered paranormal Caleb Jansen only wants a normal life. But when a demon murders his brother, Caleb must avenge Ben's death, no matter what the cost. Unfortunately, his only allies belong to an extremist group who would kill Caleb if they found out about his talent.
Gray is a wandering spirit, summoned to hunt and destroy demons by drinking their blood. This hunt goes horribly wrong, and for the first time in his existence Gray is trapped in a living, human body. Caleb's body...and Caleb is still in it.
Hotshot federal agent John Starkweather thinks he's seen it all. But when he's called to exorcise Caleb, he finds a creature which isn't supposed to exist outside of stories. For Gray is a drakul: a vampire.
When John fails to exorcise Gray, the countdown is on. If he can't find a means of removing the drakul before 40 days pass, Caleb will be possessed forever. In the meantime, the three must find a way to work together. As they hunt down demons and save the innocent, the heat between the two men explodes into passion...and John discovers a different kind of temptation, one that calls into question everything he believes.
Hunter of demons
So basically all these books are short, but good. I do prefer full-length novels to almost anything else, but novellas are fun because you can finish reading them super quickly. They’re like bon-bons! Bon-bons filled with demons.
SPECTR has a somewhat typical paranormal worldbuilding with demons, psychics, and special agents who solve paranormal crimes. Luckily I love all that stuff! This first novellas is a good intro to the characters and their world. Everything’s set up for the rest of the series: romance, overarching mystery, potential character development, etc. It’s very well written, too, because I was immediately sucked into the story and really got into the characters.
I LOVED Gray, the demon (or whatever he is). He’s weirdly cute– he and Caleb have a kind of Beauty and the Beast situation, only the Beast has forgotten about human emotions entirely and possessed Beauty, who has a lot of emotions and doesn’t really have time for Beast’s nonsense. And then Caleb shows up! (He doesn’t have a B&B counterpart, unfortunately.)
Romance-wise, I appreciated that the narrative made sure to point out the possible moral dilemma of an agent sleeping with the dude who’s a murder suspect and in his custody. Didn’t stop them from getting it on, but at least they thought about it a little first.
Master of Ghouls
Honestly, I almost feel like a novella series is just one book with really long chapters. Still getting the hang of the pacing, I guess.
So this book’s set about a week after the last one. There’s another short mystery (with ghouls) which ties into the larger conspiracy that’s slowly unfolding. I do think that this is where a novella series comes in handy, actually. I almost never have patience for overarching plot arcs that take twelve books to resolve and I get bored and give up. With a novella series, it still might take twelve books but at least they’re only like 100 pages long instead of 500– quicker to get to the end, see?
Romance update! Not much, actually. Caleb and John are working out relationship bumps, which is good. Not so good: major personality clashes? Sexual chemistry is not everything, it turns out. But they’ll figure it out! They’re too stubborn to give up.
In a surprise twist, John thinks Gray is hot! Or Caleb AS Gray is hot? Both? Does it count as a threesome when one person is possessing another one?
Reaper of Souls
Okay, so now we’re about 2-3 weeks from the first book. And, uh…John and Caleb are moving in together! They remind me a little of those couples who get married after one date, you know? It’s kinda cute, but a little weird.
John admits his growing attraction to Gray! Kinda. Definitely finds him hot. And yay, Gray likes him, too. Maybe-threesome, here we come.
Plot update: something about a government conspiracy and Caleb’s crazy sister-in-law shows back up! (I didn’t take such good notes for this one, sorry.) The romance definitely took over my interest for this novella, tbh. John and Caleb (and Gray) are SO CUTE. They keep doing things that make me want to pinch their cheeks.
Anyway, I’ll definitely be reading the rest of this series! I’ve already bought volume 2, with the next three books in it, and I’m very excited to read it.
Read: August 6-7, 2015