Genre: Paranormal, Historical
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Gender Fluid
Reviewer: Melissa, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.
Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.
In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.
Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save his life.
Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.
The blood of the innocent.
Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.
New master, same threat.
With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what he loves most.
Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence
If you like Bella Forrest, P. C. Cast, AJ Tipton, or Anne Rice, you will love this beautiful dark paranormal fantasy romance.
This is one of those stories that doesn’t fit neatly into a category. It has a love story but isn’t a romance. It has scary scenes but isn’t a horror tale. It has vampires, but isn’t a typical paranormal story. What it is, is a fantastic and tragic story that is all encompassing and heart wrenching and definitely a book that will stay with you after you finish it. It will be so interesting to see where Maguire takes this series if this is our introduction!
Asagi is one of those characters that is complex from the beginning. They do not fit into traditional Japanese culture. To begin with, they do not fit into gender norms. Life takes so many bad turns for Asagi, it is easy to sympathize and root for them. Mahiro offers sanctuary, which Asagi has a hard time trusting his motives. When that sanctuary is threatened by a jealous friend, Mahiro makes Asagi different yet again, and it might just be more than they can handle.
While it is not a traditional romance, there are definitely love stories in this book. The love between Asagi and Tsukito was so beautiful. It was sweet and pure amidst everything else that happened. Mahiro and Asagi’s love may or may not survive the changes in Asagi. I hope we get to see more of them in future books. The overall capacity of Asagi to love, despite all they are put through is my favorite part of this book.
Despite the amount of tragedy, there is a pervasive sense of hope in this story. The reunions, characters, and the full circle moments keep you guessing as well. I truly can’t wait to read what comes next!
In writing this bio I am taking a rare break from reading! I always have a book on hand just in case there is time to sneak in a chapter or two. As a military spouse and a mom of two boys, it is amazing how often I am hurrying up to wait. Luckily for me I don’t have a favorite genre so I get lots of fun authors to choose from. My education was in sociology and mental health counseling, so stories with strong character development are my favorites. Happily Ever After is the best part of romance for me because real life is hard enough.
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