I love vampire stories, they’re a first and lasting love in fiction and Other Side of Night fits in well with the genre. There is nothing especially new or fresh about the plot and concept, in fact it’s very familiar on just about all levels. The story takes all the existing vampire trends and clichés and puts them together in a decent, entertaining story that holds your attention. It’s not groundbreaking or different but it’s interesting and well written. Vampire fans especially will appreciate a nicely crafted entry in a genre stuffed with fluff.
Other Side of Night begins with the slow friendship of Bastian and Riley. Bastian is dealing with his transformation to a vampire without any rules or guidelines or help and his friendship with Riley is the one saving grace of his complicated life. Riley is equally grateful as he recovers from an abusive past relationship. The two men grow closer and their relationship becomes romantic. But both men have secrets and Bastian’s “undead” status may test the limits of Riley’s considerable patience.
Like I said the plot is pretty standard vampire fare – vampire and his human lover must find a way to live together and make it work – so the story isn’t reinventing the genre or even putting a new, fresh spin on the classic tale. Instead what makes this particular story work pretty well is that it’s well written with interesting scenarios and three-dimensional leading men. The subtext to the vampire world is very subtle, only appearing in one scene, but it works and creates some interest and potential future intrigue/conflict.
Both Bastian and Riley are complicated individuals. Bastian is definitely the hero of the story as he grows up from a playboy to a committed, intelligent man. Bastian’s growth is the backbone of the plot and creates the most framework and interest. Riley on the other hand is a bit more difficult to get a handle on. He’s skittish, reserved, and frankly a lot of work. He forces Bastian to jump through considerable hoops (10 months of platonic dating before sex) while reserving the right to yell at Bastian for his mistakes. They’re both young and immature so they make a lot of mistakes. Riley especially takes his immaturity pretty far at the end without many consequences.
Beyond the main protagonists though the secondary characters fall short. The brief appearances by Riley’s friends are forgettable with the exception of Cheryl. She fits every female fag hag stereotype and is insufferable. I wanted to slap her and didn’t like any scene where she’s present and overbearing. Additionally although well written the prose tends to be denser and slower to read. This isn’t a quick page turner but a more thorough, thoughtful examination and thus the pace is slower. I find this tends to be pretty typical of this author duo and not a bad thing but it means you read with more deliberation and care instead of eager enthusiasm.
Overall this is a good entry into the vampire genre with a well-crafted story about honesty, choice, and coming to terms with your life. I’m definitely curious to see where the characters go from here and the potential of the vampire community at large. I also have to mention I love the cover art from this publisher. Almost all of their covers are gorgeous works of art and I especially appreciate their efforts in that area. I’d recommend this book for vampire and m/m fans. I hover between a 3.5 and 4 in terms of rating because it’s a good, solidly written book with a few mistakes and missteps but it’s also not one you devour and can’t wait to read.