Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Dreamspinner, August 2009
Genre & Keywords: Gay, M/M, Suspense, Violence
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3 flames
I’ve read Warrior’s Cross the last week of 2009 and it was one of the best M/M romances I've read that year. And when you know my taste for smut the surprising thing was that there weren't a lot of sex scenes in this book. It was just plotted and written very well which made it really very hard to put it down! And I loved that!
Although it’s been over three weeks that I finished this book, I don’t mind at all to dive into it again to write this review. I like the little distance and objectivity the lapse of time provides, so I can look at Warrior’s Cross without the rushed and overwhelming feeling with which the book had a grip on me shortly after reading it. So here are my High 5, Low 5 concerning Warrior’s Cross. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in a less admiring way.
First the Back Blurb:
Cameron Jacobs is an open book. He considers himself a common waiter with normal friends, boring hobbies, harmless dogs, and nothing even resembling a secret... except a crush on a tall, dark, devastatingly handsome man who dines alone at his restaurant on Tuesday nights. All it takes is one passionate night with Julian Cross to turn Cameron’s world on its head.
Julian's love and devotion are all Cameron could have hoped for and more. But when his ordinary life meets and clashes with Julian's extraordinary lifestyle, Cameron discovers that trust and fear can go hand in hand, and love is just a step away from danger.
• The fabulous anticipation
Definitely one of the highest high fives of this novel is the incredible almost heart stopping anticipation the authors have their readers submit to. The first third of the book the two heroes circle around each other like moths around a flame and things are very mysterious. I just wanted to keep reading because I had the feeling that any moment they could get together or something important could be revealed. Instead new circles were made and new mysteries were raised. Very compelling.
• Wonderful story building
When Julian and Cameron finally start working on their relationship and get to know each other, this is so realistically done. The story build is nice and the novel is long, but it’s perfectly so. The book could not have been one page shorter. The anticipation from the beginning turns into tension (also of the erotic sort but not only) and then evolves into suspense, while the writers lead me through all kinds of emotions, to finally, finally deliver the happy ending, but not before I was doubting a few times if there would be one at all.
• Beautiful language
There’re beautiful sentences in this book, not one word is unnecessary. This is one of those stories that ask for the reader’s full attention and dedication to the written words. I wanted to read this novel slowly and fast at the same time. Fast because I wanted to know where the story would take me and slowly because the writing forced me to, since it would have been a shame if I’d skipped some words, let alone sentences. (yes, I admit I do that sometimes with other books…)
• Strong characters
Cameron and Julian are opposite poles who can complement each other once they get passed their differences and insecurities. One is the good guy, the other the bad guy and not the kind that becomes suddenly pure of heart because he found love. The character development is very well done. The story is mainly told from Cameron’s point of view (except for one moment when we hear Julian’s friend Preston’s voice). Julian can be kept mysterious this way and little bits of information are released in a well dosed pace. Meanwhile Cameron’s feelings, thoughts and insecurities are out in the open pretty much from the beginning. We are a close witness to every change and every growth he goes through. This way the characters never become boring and nicely grow into three-dimensional persons.
• Heart aching sob moment
If you don’t care for romances that make you grab for a tissue Warrior’s Cross is not for you, because it had me sobbing. Granted, I’m a weak hearted squealer that cries way too easily at fictional sorrow, but only when it’s done well by the author. I’m not gonna spoil what scenes made me whimper but those who have read the book will know…
• Loneliness and desolation
The lonely existence of Cameron depresses me a little bit. I always like the main characters to have one or more good friends or a nice family support system. But the protags of this book don’t seem to have family or friends to spend Christmas with, which is sad. But I must admit that it strengthens their storyline because the focus is solely on them.
• The ever annoying female friend
I haven’t read that many M/M romances yet (less than 50) but I haven’t seen many nice female characters in them so far. The women that are allowed to play a (minor) role at all are usually of the annoying kind. So is Miri, Cameron’s colleague and friend who means well but is also the irritating one that causes the stirring of a lot of doubts in Cameron’s head.
• Few tame sex scenes
As the smutty hussy that I am I would’ve been even happier if there were some more hot sex scenes between Cameron and Julian. Just a few times in the beginning of their relationship we are witness of the two men getting hot and bothered. Sadly these love scenes are also more lovely than scorching hot…
• Cameron’s quick capitulation
Near the end Cameron and Julian have a lot of issues still standing between them. It’s hard for Cameron to trust Julian again, but all it takes are a few words of Julian and they are as thick as thieves again. Hmmm, I wouldn’t have minded if that was drawn out a little bit more.
• Questions about Julian’s profession
The authors left me hanging with a few unclear things about Julian’s profession. Without wanting to spoil anything I just have to say that it’s not only not clear what he’s doing for a very long time into the book but I hardly find his role believable in the whole situation with Cameron’s boss. Let’s not say more…
Those were my five highs and lows. Overall, I loved Warrior’s Cross in case you hadn’t figured that out ;). The heroes were a joy to spend my time with. Their love, insecurities, attraction, grief, happiness, doubts, satisfaction, anger, distrust, joy and happily ever after were all told about in such a way that it brightened the hours I spent with them. I highly recommend this M/M romance, especially to those who have never burned their fingers on this genre, because it’s more of a love story than an erotic romance. The sex scenes are easy to absorb for those who are new to them having two guys in it instead of the traditional man and woman. By the way, Warrior’s Cross made it to my Best of 2009 list!