Blacker than Black - Rhi Etzweiler 4.5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! I know I say that about quite a few books but this one was amazing, exceptional, just darn right fascinating! It's intense, captivating and I was drawn in from the first paragraph. I just could not put this down.

Twins Black and Jhez are experienced Nightwalkers. They live in a world where vampires, or lyche, feed off anything and everything's energy, or chi. Black and Jhez sell their chi to these lyche and in return they steal a piece of the lyche's chi as well. They've been doing it for decades and never been caught. Until Monsieur Leonard Garthelle, the ruler of York, tricks Black while he's feeding. Now, the twins are in deep trouble. They're not only finding out they're criminals but realizing that Black is somehow, strangely, bonded with Garthelle when he took Garthelle's chi. Stealing chi is a serious crime, though, punishable by death and their only salvation is Garthelle. Either serve Garthelle by helping him spy on his fellow lyche or die for their crimes. It's not hard for them to choose which option. However, while they're helping Garthelle, things take a turn for the worse and now the twins are no longer just spying on the lynche, they're trying to solve a murder of one. Nothing is easy, though, especially with Garthelle's constant lying and holding things back. On top of that, Garthelle and Black's bond seems to be getting stronger not weaker and the intensity between them is scorching while their feelings sky-rocket. The thing is, Black doesn't trust lynche, in general, and can't trust Garthelle either especially with his constant lying. When Black finds out what Gartelle's real plan is, the betrayal might just be more than their fledgling relationship can take.

I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVED. THESE. CHARACTERS. I'm not kidding. Black and Garthelle (Leonard) are so intense together. Black is snarky and flippant. He's jaded and bitter and does not trust lyche but there's something about Leonard that pulls him in, that makes Black toss his caution to the wind and want to constantly be around Leonard and it's not just the chi bond they formed that's doing it. Black is actually attracted to Leonard. Leonard, on the other hand, is a scheming, sly, deceitful and sometimes violent guy. He'll do anything to get what he wants and while his motives at first are of using Black to get that, it doesn't take long for Leonard's feelings to change into something much deeper.

Seriously, Black and Leonard scorch the pages with how sexually charged their interactions are. They bicker and banter and basically get on each others nerves but the sexual tension is so freaking hot. It's one of the things I loved about this book because there isn't a lot of sex but oh, baby, I still felt like I burst into flames whenever they'd get going. I loved that these characters weren't traditional people. Jhez and Black, when you think about it, are just a different kind of prostitute and Leonard is a manipulative bastard. The story makes it all work, though, and while i didn't like Jhez sometimes (talk about PMSing) I loved how she challenged Leonard constantly.

The plot of the story is great. Just the fact that lyche feed off energy instead of blood is unique in itself but having Leonard blackmail Black and Jhez into helping him, making them become entertainment, all so they can be Leonard's eyes and ears was engaging. When Black and Jhez go from spying to finding the murderer, the book became even more enthralling because we get to see and learn more of the lyche. We see how they view humans and how their society works. It was very mesmerizing to see how this world worked and getting to see these characters developing and learning things about themselves as well. I loved watching it all unravel.

There were a few things I had a problem with. For one, I was confused a time or two about some technically advanced stuff that I didn't really know what they were. I felt like the ending was a bit abrupt, that the story was going really good, at a great pace then the ending comes and leaves me with a few questions and a sudden stop after the really big showdown. I was a bit sad because I wanted so much more of Leonard and Black and then they were just.... gone :'( Another thing, while I didn't necessarily have a problem with this, the writing style is a bit strange. Not something I'm used to and that's first person present tense. I believe that's what it's called. It took a little getting used to and even though it felt odd, I still could not put this book down to even sleep.

In the end, I really loved these characters and this world. It's fascinating, bewitching in fact. I really hope this isn't the last we'll see of Black and Leonard but more than that, I really hope there's another book about them that'll come soon because I could never get bored of them. They've become a new favorite couple of mine. Definitely recommended!