5 emotionally touched and sensual stars.
I can't believe I actually put this in my TBR for so long. Sometimes I felt that with the ever increasing TBR list, there is often a hidden gem awaiting me to actually pick it up and read it. I was actually expecting it to be yet another vamp story, all the lust, a lot of sex and the vamp politic. But I'm so wrong. This really exceed my expectation maybe due to the slow start of the book and the confusing POV in the beginning chapters. But don't worry, it gets better by 20% and get much much better towards the end. I'm so damn glad I didn't DNF it in the beginning.
Dr. Giovanni Vecchio, a 500 years old vampire appeared to be an mild manner philosopher that is always polite and composed, in other words, uptight who visited the Special Collection library at the university once a week to transcribe the Tibetan manuscript. Initially, I felt that he is totally nerdy. Hah! He can be so deceiving. This is where he met Beatrice, who prefer to be called B, a young part-time librarian that Gio recruited to assist him in his hunt for rare and highly treasure books.
The author had a different take on the vamp here with each of them having their own element, either Fire, Earth, Wind or Water. I have to admit that the first few chapters are kind of slow and I don't really connect with the characters. What makes me continue reading was due to some of Gio's weird behavior that makes me totally curious. Like what's the deal with him using his pencil to push to the car window down and his reluctance to take the elevator.
Anyway, things start to get interesting when we learned that Beatrice's presumably dead father was not actually dead, instead he was turned. Beatrice makes a deal with Gio to be his assistant, while Gio will help to locate her father. Meanwhile, some anonymous party donated some old letters pen to someone named Count Giovanni and Gio desperately needs to find this anonymous person. When Carwyn, another vamp and best friend of Gio showed up at his home, things gets funnier. I totally can't imagine him being a priest, what with his surfer dude appearance. We usually read about the heroine had a bitchy bff. Well, here with had Carwyn, Gio's kinda kickass bff. He and Gio had this bromance vibe going on and I adore him for being so supportive to Gio and played some crucial role in getting Beatrice and Gio together. He have me laughing so hard with his "Do you like Gio? Check yes or no".
I really like seeing the friendship blossomed between Beatrice and Carwyn and Casper, the butler as well. She had been lonely for so long with only her grandma with her. The thing that going on with Gio confuse even herself, although she is intrigue by him, but she didn't jump into his arms. I guess this two people had too much thinking going on in their big brain and is kind of intellectually stimulating to finally read about people who really use their brain instead of their nether region.
The build up to the climax is really quite unexpected. With all the talking about old books and literature, I thought we will have a battle of wits instead of fist. But I totally love the battle scene that took place where Beatrice was captured by Lorenzo. He is this totally creepy villain, which I'm sure will serve a big story arc here. But I hope there will be another bigger villain behind, because although Lorenzo is kind of creepy, but I still think he is not overall strong and badass enough.
Just let me take some time to gush about Gio, who I daresay gonna be one of my favorite book boyfriends if he keep up being so swoon worthy in the remaining books. Beatrice used to call him Mr. Frosty, but Carwyn said he is definitely Opposite. Of. Frosty. Yeah, as per the title, he is The Hidden Fire. He appeared all uptight and cold as a cucumber in the beginning, but later we can see how he burn with passion. Usually in PNR, hundreds or thousands years old vampire can easily fall for a mortal heroine and they start lusting over each other. You know the drill. But the author is playing the age card here. Gio actually felt that he is too old for Beatrice and he can't help but know that eventually all mortal will grow old like his butler, Casper. Casper used to be like his son, but as years passed, Casper grew older and older and before long he might leave him forever.
I find Gio really admirable for thinking of Beatrice's benefits and there is some serious UST going on, with stolen glances, things they said to each other, things they don't say to each other and it kind of driving me crazy. It was really emotional towards the ending, when Gio starts to reveal his past to Beatrice and they had to face the reality that awaits them. When Gio muttered "Ubi amo, ibi patria", I'm so desperately in need to locate an italian dictionary right away, because I just know he said something really significant to her. And when Beatrice get it translated, I totally melt and in love with Gio. The ending was kind of bittersweet, but I'm totally happy with the direction, since there is another 3 books to make up for a HEA. Gio is a hero who thinks with his brain, his heart and soul and never with his dick. I never thought I will actually enjoy a romance so much without all the smut.