When we first met Alphonso in Bonded by Blood
, he was introduced as the evil brother to our hero, Dom. But before the book was over, we found out that the he was really a double agent who worked inside the Darkblood organization, feeding information to the Guardians. We also discovered that's he had been having an affair with his Guardian contact Lily, who also happened to be a good friend of Dom's.
As Embraced by Blood
begins, a year has passed. Alphonso has severed his relationship with Lily, although he is painfully aware that she is the love of his life. He knows that the Darkbloods will be hunting him for his betrayal and he doesn't want Lily caught in their crosshairs. Beyond that, he was badly hurt in the climax of the last book and he doesn't think he'll be able to defend her with the pervasive injury to his leg.
But now that he's learned the Darkbloods are hunting for a Guardian tracker to kidnap and convert to their cause, he puts himself back in Lily's orbit to make sure she is safe. As the book progresses, the two end up thrown together to foil the Darkbloods' latest plans to gain strength and abuse humans; while at the same time, trying to outrun the Blood Assassin that has targeted Alphonso.
It took me awhile to get into this book. Alphonso is trying to be noble and I get that. But a good deal of his misery is of his own making. He has chosen to keep the truth from her. And he isn't the only one who has suffered for it. It took a long time to get to anything that felt like progression in their relationship. Just a lot of unhappiness and regret. Of course, that does change eventually and that is where the book finds its legs. But it never really measured high on my sexual-tension-o-meter. Yes, of course, I wanted them together, but there was never a burning in my belly for it. Does that make any sense?
It was frustrating to see Dom's unwillingness to forgive his brother or believe in his goodness. And the resolution on that part of the story was a little abrupt. On the plus side, we have some well drawn secondary characters, like Jackson and Santiago; both of whom have their own books coming soon.
So the bottom line... I liked it ok. I'm pretty sure I liked the first one better, though. 3 1/2 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley