Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-466-8
Fantasy Romance, 2009
Amber Eyes sees Maya Banks tackling a ménage à trois theme, and if you have read anything by this author and love it, this may be enough incentive for you to grab a copy of this story right away. After all, Ms Banks tends to writes as if she’s powering some nuclear reactor with all the steam emanating from her prose. This one, however, isn’t that steamy, so I’m afraid I have to focus on things like the plot and characterization.
Hunter and Jericho are two guys who stay at a remote mountain cabin when they are in need of R&R. Don’t worry, these two guys aren’t some cardboard creepy “We’re gay, until we decide we need a woman to join our bedroom games, and then we aren’t that gay anymore, hurray!” type of male characters typical of polyamorous romances. When the story opens, the two men have observed a cougar for some time now. Hunter has grown to regard it fondly while Jericho isn’t that keen on that creature. Shortly after the story opens, the two men find the cougar injured and despite Jericho’s reservations, Hunter takes the creature in for some TLC. Imagine their surprise when they eventually learn that this cougar is a shapeshifting human named Kaya.
If this plot sounds similar in many ways to Golden Eyes, that is because this story is set in the same setting and, I don’t know, whether the plot parallels are deliberate on the author’s part. This one, however, has a more meaty plot than the previous story, and there are some more efforts made into developing the characters.
While I don’t have any significant problem with the plot or the characters, I find the dynamics of the three characters slightly off. For a long time, Hunter and Kaya have much better chemistry with each other to the point that poor Jericho comes off like an intrusive third party. Jericho, somewhat ironically, is however a more well-developed character than Hunter, but his character development arc unfortunately is all about him rather than his relationship with Kaya. The poor darling still comes off like an intrusive third person by the last page. I have this feeling that I would have enjoyed this story more if Jericho walks away at some point in the story to allow Kaya and Hunter to explore their chemistry better.