4-star,  M/M,  Paranormal,  Suspense

Dark Summer by S.J. Coles

Release Date: July 27th

This is the sequel to Blood Winter – which I thought was rather amazing in a dark and despondent sort of way. Dark Summer has that same almost dystopian feel and it’s all because of Alec’s mood. He’s the sole narrator of the story and thus sets the tone for the entire book. He’s as anti-social as they come and broody as all get out. Borderline depressive actually.

Synopsis: The story pretty much starts where Blood Winter ended. Terje has returned and they’re now trying to start a life together. In secret since no one can know that Terje is still alive. Alec’s and Terje’s differences are, however, making that pretty difficult. And it’s this struggle to understand Terje and accept him for what and how he is that is the core of this story. In short, it’s all about Alec fighting his insecurities.

The writing is flawless, it’s high quality through and through.

However, I struggled with not really being able to identify a storyline. I didn’t think that Alec doubting Terje’s feelings was enough of a plot. Thankfully, there was more action later when an old friend of Alec turns up and then when it’s revealed that Terje’s old Magister is back in the country, allegedly for revenge.

Blood Winter was more event driven, so it didn’t matter (to me) that I couldn’t really understand or connect to Terje as a character. However, in Dark Summer, the focus is Alec’s and Terje’s relationship. The main problem for Alec is his inability to understand Terje. That’s unfortunately a major problem for me as well. Terje appears so cold and alien that he’s quite hard to like. I don’t dislike him per se, but I can’t really understand Alec’s obsession either. So as a lovestory, I’d say this story failed miserably. Not least because I liked Alec’s old Uni buddy as a love interest more than I did Terje.

Also, that I was rooting for the bad guy (read gal) to – sort of – have her way there at the end probably says a lot. I’m pretty sure that’s not the reaction Coles intended their readers to have.

To say I’m conflicted is an understatement.

It’s excellent writing, no question. The story is unique in its novel way of portraying vampires/haemophiles. The world-building and the underlying darkness to the story is amazing. However, I just didn’t feel the love between the two MCs. So therefore, I can only rate it as a 4-star.

I still highly recommend it, only not as a romance.

Also, I’m hoping there will be a trigger warning. I know loads of people have real issues with infidelity…

* A free copy of this book was kindly provided by Gay Romance Reviews *


I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).