Hawke West lives in a word scarred by conflict and violence. As a result of a worldwide civil war between humans, vampires, and other paranormal species, humanity has been reduced to living on the edges of society, trying to eke out a meager existence in hidden communities while avoiding notice by vampires and others who might kill or enslave them. Hawke, a former slave turned assassin, is no stranger to the vampires’ brutality, and he, like many others, has grown tired of it. Unbeknownst to the vampires, a new war is on the horizon.
As His Enemy Lover, the first book in Marcy Jacks’s new Vampire District series, opens, Hawke West is on a mission—to return to the site of his former enslavement and capture a high-value vampire to use as a bargaining chip. When Hawke spies William Delany fleeing from his home with guards in hot pursuit, it seems that his mission might be easier than he initially thought.
As Will tears through the woods surrounding his family’s estate, he has only one thing on his mind—freedom. The youngest son of a vampire lord, Will hasn’t exactly had a homelife filled with love and happiness. When Will’s parents decide to marry him off against his will, he figures that now would be a good time to head out on his own. Will’s hastily planned escape comes to an abrupt halt, however, when none other than the slave he helped escape as a child kidnaps him. Though Will isn’t keen on being held hostage by humans, a race that hates vampires on principle, he figures it can’t be worse than going home. And, he thinks, maybe it’s fate that the handsome slave he helped to save all those years ago is the one to capture him.
Though this story takes place in a fictional world, Ms. Jacks’s book portrays the very real difficulties of finding love and acceptance in a society that does not foster those values. Against the bleak backdrop of looming war and longstanding hatred, the romance that blossoms between Hawke and his captive feels especially sweet and hopeful. At the heart of this romance is tolerance, as Hawke and Will decide to trust each other enough to see if they can overcome their differences. As a result, His Enemy Lover is a story that is at once intimate and epic in proportion.
Review by Staff Contributor