What is probably strange is that the author managed to make of these quite stereotype characters, two original heroes, and it was not simple, since the M/M fantasy romance, recalling a medieval setting, is something that is pretty common now. But indeed C.J. Black was good in that, so good that this book won 3° place as Best Characters in the Rainbow Awards, and I can assure you that the judges reading it were not easy to please. Probably the author managed such success since she didn’t over killed the setting with too much details, just enough to give an idea of darkness and danger, to recreate this world that was an antechamber of Hell. She then proceeded with the characters, again giving enough details for the reader to imagine them, but not boring him. Of course this is a fantasy, and fantasy stories are not known for being short: this novel counts more than 250 pages, and they are in small characters, so if you like a good development of story and characters, you will find both here.
The second most important aspect of the novel was the chemistry between Dane and Vanlyn, and here probably the yaoi elements make their brief, and only, appearance in a novel that has mostly, as I said, its roots in the western fantasy romance genre: these characters are, after all, two men in love and the sex is an essential part of their life; the sex is also a way to link the dark Dane to the fair Vanlyn, a way to bring light in his life; Dane set out with the idea to seduce Vanlyn and to use him as a pawn, but I think that in the end, he was the seduced one, and that is again another pretty common element of the old savage romance.
To summarize I think this was a pretty good fantasy romance, and for is to say a lot since (and yes, I know you are tired to hear it) fantasy is not really my cup of tea, but savage romance was, and a lot ;-)
Amazon Kindle: Illusion Of Night
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books (June 14, 2010)
Cover Art by P.L. Nunn