Review Detail

Slay My Love, by Lee Colgin: Release Day Review
Books EW Elaine White November 27, 2019 670
 POV: 3rd person, dual POV

 This is Lee Colgin's debut novel and I couldn't be more impressed. This was...everything. Slay My Love takes the vampire trope and turns it on its head, spins it around, adds a sprinkle of homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and a dash of David Attenborough to create something I've never read before that hooked me from page one. I'll not only be looking out to buy Colgin's next book as soon as it's available on pre-order, but I'll be adding them to my instant-buy list, and my paperback-must-have list. I ordered the paperback as soon as I looked it up on Amazon and saw that one was available.

 Right from the first few pages, I was hooked by the story. Not only was Franklin intriguing, in his attempt to stalk and monitor a vampire, but his interactions with Gianni from the very beginning were laced with a strange hesitation on both parts. Franklin was a slayer – vampire hunter – who knew there was something inherently different about this one vampire, and Gianni – a vampire with unique lineage – knew there was something unique about this reluctant slayer.

 Together, the chemistry was off the charts and I loved the way the relationship built slowly from playing and toying with each other, baiting the enemy to see how far they could tease, into something close to friendship. Then, as time went on, that friendship flourished and became a tentative romance that neither saw coming. The slow progression was beautiful to see, as Franklin slowly unravelled in response to Gianni's teasing and Gianni peeled back the vulnerable layers masked by snarky charm. There was a hint of slow burn, with the first kiss coming at 40%, but things progressed fast after that and I'm really glad with how it all worked out. Not only was the slow burn necessary, but it added a heat and urgency to what came after.

 The characters were utterly charming. From Franklin's almost naive loyalty to the slayers, his uncertainty with real-life, and the budding romance that reveals how lonely he's always Gianni's consuming loneliness emerging into a growing friendship with Tabea and Hayleigh, the escape from an abusive relationship, the inner strength he relies on to see him through the tough times, even when it means doing things he doesn't want to...the characters might have been fictional creatures – a slayer and a vampire – but they were real. They were relateable, loveable, adorable, and I could easily see myself in each of them, in various ways. Hayleigh and Tabea were brilliant side characters, offering support and loyalty when it was most needed; Hutch was a great troublemaker, and the villain was really well written. Spike was...I'll admit...a particular favourite side-character. (And my favourite Buffy character!)

 The sense of danger was never far away, either. This was, after all, fraternising with the enemy for both of them and the risk of being caught was always at the forefront of Franklin's mind, even if Gianni let himself fall into complacency at times, letting down his guard. They both had a lot to lose and a lot of baggage. Franklin was a born-and-raised slayer, from generations of them. Gianni was escaping an abusive relationship that was stalking him, even as he grew ever closer to Franklin. And all the time, the slayers Franklin worked for were watching every move and just waiting to sweep in and take Gianni hostage, to experiment on him.

 And, can I please give a special shout out THANK YOU for this line:
 “I forgive you, but trust is going to take time.”
 All too often in fiction, when the MC's are reunited and the chaos is over, it's as though nothing ever happened and no one got hurt. I can't thank Colgin enough for admitting that life is not suddenly all sunshine and roses for this pair, just because the worst is over!

 The uniqueness of the vampire twist – that there are undead vampires and a few rare living vampires – was a really nice addition to a book that was already full of things I loved. The worldbuilding was slow but subtly complex. Being an urban fantasy, in a modern and familiar world, meant that we felt comfortable with the surroundings and concepts. Thanks to shows like Buffy the Vampire slayer – which was nicely paid homage to and teased throughout the book, without becoming annoying or cheesy – we're familiar with the concept of vampires in a modern world. But the author still tried to make sure we understood how normal it was, that there was this lurking underbelly of paranormal beneath the human. How it functioned, why, where it originated from, and how that world blended with Franklin's human world. All without being overwhelming or laden with info-dumps.

Slay My Love is a fantastic urban fantasy novel rife with romance, danger, heat and spice. It's got charm and smarts, can make you laugh and cry, hurts you and tries it's damned best to make up for it, while leaving you with a smile and fond memories. Like the best rollercoaster relationship you ever had. I fell in love with it quickly, even though I knew it couldn't last, and I don't regret a second. I'd take the risk of a second inning, knowing I'd get my heart broken and repaired again, all for the joy of re-reading this slice of adorableness. With witty banter, a skilled author, and the tentative intrigue and romance between Gianni and Franklin, this is a book I'll be re-reading often.

 I already have my copy in the post...go get yours!


 Favourite One-Liners

 “Gianni would die for his poor choices in men.”
 “Apparently sleeping with the enemy was a heroic tactic where the end justified the means.”
 “There were worse ways to die than in a lover's embrace.”
 “He'd gone from one prison to another, but at least these restraints would be familiar.”
 “Gianni mentally dubbed him King of Awkward.”
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