Ante Up, by Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspun Beyond (Dreamspinner Press)
Release Date: Nov 15, 2017
Love is a high-stakes game.
A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.
An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?
I’ll be the first to admit that the Dreamspun Beyond line from Dreamspinner Press doesn’t publish the kind of stories I would normally choose to read. But I do enjoy Kim Fielding’s books and I really love vampires so I thought I would take a chance on this one.
I expected Ante Up to be lighter than the usual PNR books I read, and I wasn’t wrong. This could be called PNR-light and it would definitely appeal to those who prefer their vampires a little more…traditional. Nice, even. I personally prefer a little more edge to my vamps, but I know that’s not for everyone.
Ante and Peter meet in Vegas where there is an instant attraction between the two. When Ante realizes that Peter isn’t entirely human and that The Shadows – the vampire mafia – are after him, it gives Ante the incentive to push through the ennui that has been dogging him for decades and forces him to open his heart to the kind of love he never thought he deserved. He just needs to keep Peter from falling into the clutches of The Shadows in order to let that happen.
The story itself is quite sweet actually, and while the chemistry between Ante and Peter isn’t exactly mind-blowing, I liked that Peter was intriguing enough to Ante to pull him from his depression. I enjoyed the paranormal beings that Peter and Ante met while on the run and had they spent more time with some of them, I think this story could have been more interesting.
Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough going on here to really hold my interest. I set the book aside several times simply because I was a wee bit bored – something that rarely happens when I read a Kim Fielding novel. However, if a light-hearted story is something you’re after, you may find a winner in Ante Up.
I have lived in Illinois, Oregon, Nebraska, and Croatia, but for a long time now I’ve called the boring part of California home. I have a husband, two daughters, a day job as a university professor, and a passion for travel. I write in many genres–contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, historical–but no matter when and where my stories are set, I love complex worlds and complicated characters. I think that often it’s a person’s flaws that make him stronger and more beautiful.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.