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By Mary Calmes
Read: March 2020
I found it hard to put Romanus down. Reading is not my day job…so I tend to do it in short spurts in the evening as I am preparing for bed. I found myself pushing myself with “one-more page” mantras while constantly glancing at the alarm clock on my nightstand. Because Romanus is a short book, there was always something happening as things moved quickly. There was no time for the doldrum pages that you find in some books. Therefore, I had a hard time finding that natural place for me to set down a book for the evening. Coffee was my friend during this book, in a good way! Thank you, Mary Calmes.
The Story Line
A tired Mason just coming off a double shift as a firefighter stops to help an (apparently) naked elderly man wandering the roads at night. Driving him home and to
make sure he is taken care of medically. Little did he know that would plunge him into a supernatural world of Goji (Gargoyles).
Mason has had relationship challenges with other men his entire life. Suddenly, at first sight, he becomes infatuated with a member of the warrior class, Luc. Mason trying to be cautious of the sudden romance, finds he can not control himself around Luc. Luc finds himself in the same situation with Mason, given he is considered a lower class but WANTS all of Mason.
The addition of Mason to the group and the romance between him and Luc interjects some discord among some of the members of the clan. There are those who want the status quo, which leads to opening some mysteries of a prophecy and introduces some additional plots.
What Did I love
I have read several m/m romance tales that include shifters or other paranormal beings, but this was a first for me with gargoyles. Admittedly, I have always had a fascination with gargoyles. My husband has gotten me little statues, calendars, and related gifts featuring them over the years. When I stumbled upon this book, I was hoping it would not be disappointing. I was not, Romanus delivered! I found myself completely engulfed in the world.
Mary Calmes does a great job building a society that is apparently intermixed within our own world but out of sight. There are classes, societal norms, rules, myths, and needs of the gargoyle society that the author portrays despite being a short novella.
The good part about the book was that is was not lots of sex for the sake of it. There were only a few scenes as their relationship progressed. I will also say however that those physically romantic scenes between them were pretty hot. (SPOILER: Particularly the one that was outside in the bed of the truck.)
What did I not care for
There were two areas that I struggled with. The first is an inherent challenge in first-person perspective writing. Since the book was Mason’s point of view, he would explain things to himself that ended up sounding a little self-excusing. One example of this happens within the first couple of pages. When he stops to help the older man he sees, he reaches behind his seat to pull out a blanket. Mason tells himself that he is always prepared because that is part of being a fireman (I am paraphrasing). Personally, I do not find it odd to have a blanket in the back of the truck, but it came across as odd to tell himself that in the first-person point of view.
The second item was when Mason and Luc meet for the first time. Mason had an immediate connection due to Luc’s attractiveness. However, Luc barely noticed Mason. But in the span of a few moments of conversation with the leader of his clan, suddenly had a deep attraction to Mason who was standing there throughout. I ultimately shrugged this off to be just part of being a short, fast-paced book that did not have time to drag this out and develop. Ultimately, it played well in the overall story.
Why I recommend the book
I would recommend Romanus! A quick couple hour read, it clearly sets the stage of future stories that could move in several different directions. The story is well put together and moved at a quick pace. This kept me from getting bored.
One of my favorite lines in the book came when Luc was asked if he was gay by Mason. His response was: “The word is trite – I love who I please”. Despite a little bit of cliché, it worked perfectly in the scene.
About the author: Mary Calmes
This was my first Mary Calmes book. In my research, she is a prolific writer with a number of different series in her line up. She has nine other different series in addition to the Romanus series as well as stand-alone novels AND novellas.
She is a woman after my own heart. Her bio says “She bleeds coffee and thinks chocolate is its own food group”. She is someone I would be interested in having a cup of coffee with!
Check out her website: Mary Calmes.com
This is a book that has been out for quite some time despite my recent discovery of it. There is a sequel (hang in there, I have a review coming). There are some rumors more might be forthcoming or the series might resurrect. Personally, I am hoping the rumors are true!
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- I DID NOT receive a copy of this book from the author or publisher. I purchased it outright.
- All these opinions are mine and I received NO compensation for this review.
- This post contains affiliate links. They are no cost to you but help to keep my little site afloat. Check out my disclosure.