Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-077-4
Fantasy Romance, 2015 (Reissue)
Dangerous Match was previously self-published, and I have no idea whether this one has been revised in any way. The cover art for this one is nicer, though!
Elsa Ware, our heroine, is a vampire who is currently undercover. Her boss orders her to investigate an underground fighting ring that allegedly pits all kinds of woo-woo in a battle to the death. The best way to check out this operation is by being right inside the whole thing, so Elsa lets herself be captured by the vampires that run the show. She is soon fighting to the death for her dear life…
Wait, scratch that. In keeping to all these urban fantasy authors who are afraid that their own characters may die or something, Alyssa Stevens gives Elsa an ability to instantaneously heal. There, no chance whatsoever of me experiencing even a slightest degree of worry that Elsa may actually be in any danger. Who needs suspense and build-up in an action-packed urban fantasy story anyway? We are all just here to figure out how big the hero’s pee-pee is.
Our hero is a werewolf named Sevastyan Rykov. Well, he’s Russian, and we all know male Russian werewolves do the wolfy-style better than pasty male American werewolves named Sebastian. He has been bitten by a demon when he’s tossed into a cell with Elsa, and all these happenings are just an excuse to have Sevastyan – thank goodness for copy and paste – maul and have sex with Elsa in a cell. All of a sudden, she’s his mate. There, romance and sex quota fulfilled. Now all we have to do is to endure all those boring fights in which our hero and heroine will clearly win in the end, before we can call it a day.
It’s a shame. There is a pretty neat premise here, but the author ruins everything by making sure that her readers know from early on that her heroine can never be killed, and then wasting space on tired old silly sex in silly context, before slapping on an instant-mate thing on top of the whole tired affair. If the author had gone a more straightforward urban fantasy route (think early books by Laurell K Hamilton and Ilona Andrews), Dangerous Match would have been awesome. In its current form, it’s just another story where the plot is merely an excuse to get the characters to hump and develop an instant-mate bond. As if there aren’t enough of such stories out there already, sigh.