We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: m/m paranormal
Review: Well hello there! Lilith Duvalier's "Spread and Howl" is a historical fantasy/horror/thriller with a French stroke. And erotic too!
The town of Gardenne-Sur-Seine is being haunted by a monster called the Beast at night. the Beast is eating the townsfolk and leaving a lot of families in turmoil. The town's stonemason, Marius Lemarque, has lost his parents and his lover to the Beast (directly and indirectly). He's a man full of grief and wants revenge. He's a simple man who hides his sexuality and mourns for his love. When the King's Master of the Hunt (a fancy knight), the snobby, rich Lord Guillaume Bissette is ordered to the plagued town and bring back the Beast as a trophy for their ruler. Guillaume would rather fuck his knights or whore but does as he's ordered. Marius reluctantly joins forces with Guillaume, the two are in a fight for their life trying to defeat the Beast.
"Spread and Howl" isn't a gushy romance. If you're looking for light kisses and cotton candy fluff, look else where because it's not here. This was dark, creepy, thrilling, fuck hot and hard. And it could have went even darker, in my opinion. I enjoyed the way both men were written.
It was opposites attract - Marius is the humble laborer to Guillaume's snooty, entitled Lord.
It was character who had a meaningful relationship vs. character who likes to bone and never had anything substantial.
Both were alpha males without the overbearing Neanderthal ways. This wasn't a case of insta-love. It wasn't a 'we had sex so now you're the only penis for me' story. (Yay!) It was more of a 'common goal that turned into a bond while trying to stay alive for another night'.
The action scenes were great. I could picture each scene as I read and enjoyed the flow. I thought the action and sex were a great balance. It was humping in each chapter. There was a plot afoot. I think Marius was the stronger of the two since we get a better glimpse of his life and environment. I like that he grieved and didn't automatically forget his lover once the new man came along.
But...let me talk about the sex which I think was just as strong as the action.
That first sex scene between Marius and Guillaume? Frantic, desperate, glad to be alive? That was fire. They both finished bruised, bitten, bloody and covered in semen! And the rough manhandling? I was so excited. And the second scene? That was erotica and horror intertwined quite smoothly. On one hand I'm rooting for their lustful fucking and the other hand I'm scared they wouldn't survive with danger so close by. It was thrilling and heart pumping.
Oh and butt virgin, there is a butt virgin! I enjoyed his POV at those pivotal points. I liked the alternating POV approach, added depth to the story.
I have few and very minor quibbles. I think maybe just the two:
1) Who summoned the Beast? Why did it pick the town? Are there more somewhere? Hmm...I'll never know. :( I thought there was going to be twist with the person behind it maybe showing themselves. I guess the sense of mystery lends credence to the suspenseful tone throughout the story, not everything needs a definitive answer and all that jazz.
2) The Postlude/Epilogue/Ending: I am happy with the solid HFN-ish/HEA. But I think the wrong person said "my love". I don't think it was necessary, since neither MC's came across as those kind of men to me. But it was said, fine whatever. It left the smallest bit of sour to my kickass ending for me. I also liked what happened for the MC's but I'd have liked to see the role progression.
Even with those small quibbles, I loved "Spread and Howl".
Recommended if you're in the mood for erotica with a horror/thriller tinge and/or need a break from gushing sugar.