Elise Beaumont is cursed. With every touch, she experiences exactly how her loved ones will die.
Claire Montgomery also has a unique relationship with death, mostly because she’s already dead. Technically, anyway.– GoodReads
I love a good vampire novel, bonus points if it’s sapphic. So, this already had a good start in my books. I loved that it gave me a few Buffy vibes for the overall feel of the book and the supernatural world itself. I definitely wish we had gotten more of the supernatural world (the Veil) but it was a good, strong, urban fantasy. (And frankly, I don’t read enough of those)
I loved Clair our vampire shepherd and I ADORED Wyn, honestly, I wish they had their own book (if I wish hard enough, will that be a thing??). I won’t lie the most Buffy-ish vibes it gave me was the ship that I love: Willow and Tara. I wouldn’t say either girls in this book reminded me of Willow and Tara personality wise but the vibe of the pairing felt similar to me in that they’re both really just cinnamon rolls despite what they might claim (cinnamon rolls that can kill lol, much like Willow and Tara). And instead of being a spotlighted part of a series (I mean Willow is definitely a core character of Buffy but she’s not Buffy lol), this time the girls are the main characters of the story.
I did have a harder time connecting with Elise. I didn’t really ever find enough interest in her to care about her as much as I wanted to (as much as I cared about Wyn, or Elise’s best friend Jordan, or Claire). I felt for her plight, but I just wanted more of knowing who she was. Hands down though the best part of Elise was her questioning. Not everyone knows, not everyone is sure where they fall on the ever nuanced spectrum of sexuality and having someone unsure about that I think is fantastic in a YA book. It’s important for YA readers to know it’s okay to not have it all figured out, but I do love that we do have others that are also sure of where they stand such as Jordan or Claire. I also wanted to have more of Elise and Maggie’s friendship but I think the backstory was built up enough that it’s not really a complaint as much as a wishlist lol.
The writing style is smooth and the descriptions are great between Elise and Claire, I always felt like Sterling did a great job contrasting them while not making it so obvious she was pointing out the differences. (Which we know super early on lol).
The storyline was great but I’m hoping this isn’t a standalone given some stuff that happens near the end. IF it is a standalone that’s why I’ve marked it at 3.5 instead of a full 4, if I find out it’s got a sequel, I’ll bump it up; because without knowing that, it’s either something with not enough of an ending for me or it’s the perfect start to a series/duology/multiple books/companion novels.
Again, super enjoyable read. I loved Claire and Elise though at times it felt a little too rushed between them and I appreciate the care Sterling put into writing Elise as questioning and showing her insecurities on that.
3.5/5 Cups of coffee, would read again lol. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.