Argeneau Series, Book #30
Heat Factor: Excepting that they have to stay joined for a half hour, it’s not super sexy
Character Chemistry: A little bit of fated mates, so we’re so-so here
Plot: Immortal flies in to meet his maybe life mate, is embroiled in all her problems with other rogue immortals
Overall: I was so delighted by the Argeneaux that I am gutted that this book relies on a homophobic characterization
Paranormal romance is one of my new favorite things. Want to know what’s fun? Immortals. Like, the whole concept of them. And the idea that they’re, like, 1000 years old and are just getting around to finding a life mate (which is sort of its own ridiculous, but HEA whatever) now. I haven’t read nearly enough vampire books, and I thought I should change that, so I put Lynsay Sands’s Immortal Born on hold at the library. About a hundred years later, just when my reading list was full to bursting, my hold came in and I delved into the world of the Argeneaux.
I’d read some of Sands’s Highlander smut in the past, and I would argue that the writing in Immortal Born is a bit more playful and less stilted/removed than medieval Highlander times. She can write, anyway, and I knew that going in. I tend to avoid series that are never ending (6 books tends to be my max), and the Argeneau series is currently at 31 books, but I’m here for a good time, and maybe I’m missing something great, so let’s jump in.
In Immortal Born, we meet immortal Magnus (who was a flipping VIKING y’all), who has flown from the UK to Canada because he has been informed that the Argeneaux there have found him a possible life mate. He’s trying not to get his hopes up. It’s adorable.
Fun story though – his possible life mate, Allie, is in the hospital after she was found trying to break into a blood bank to steal blood for her adopted immortal son. Are you with me? This is going to be epic.
But she’s being chased by these rogue immortals and there’s this whole adventure story. Blah, bah, blah. You know the drill.
The story is pretty predictable (probably SUPER predictable if you’ve read the other books), so what makes it fun is Sands’s playful writing style in a suspenseful narrative. And the entire premise of this world is straight crackers (the immortals are Atlanteans with nanotechnology in their blood), but Sands doesn’t take it too seriously even while creating the suspense plot drama.
In terms of romance, I’m a bit so-so. There’s a degree of fated mates because the reason a life mate can be identified is that an immortal will have certain symptoms, like being unable to read the prospective partner’s thoughts. But the potential life mate can say no, so I guess it’s more like a compatibility thing? Anyway, per usual, my issue with the fated mates aspect is that it undercuts a lot of romantic development. In this case, Magnus goes into the relationship knowing it might be forever, so he’s already invested. Allie is like, “WTF, I don’t know these vampires and why would I suddenly fall in love when I’ve spent four years running away from vampires who are out to get my son?” BUT once exposed to the Argeneaux, Allie begins to understand what her 4yo (who acts like a 6yo) son will be capable of and realizes that she needs to be immortal if she wants to keep him. So even though she doesn’t love Magnus, Allie strikes a deal and agrees to be his life mate.
The thing is, Allie goes into the marriage / transition to immortality thinking she doesn’t love Magnus and this will be a sort of partnership, but then she wakes up from her change and her bloodlust makes her horny AF so…all that distance is suddenly out the window? I liked where they were before the transition, and I liked their relationship after the transition, but there wasn’t enough of the in between to get me from A to B comfortably.
Also, I enjoyed Magnus, but he was also sort of a mixed bag. He struts around in a suit, acting like a put-together, alpha-ish sort of protector guy. I mean, he’s an enforcer in the UK branch of whatever agency the immortals run to protect and serve. But he’s not a badass in the book. He’s a bit of a cinnamon roll, actually, who’s taking care of Allie and her son while they’re in a rough spot. So on the one hand we’ve got the picture of, maybe, Gerard Butler in a suit jumping out of an exploding White House, and on the other hand we’ve got, like, Chris Evans in a t-shirt and jeans making pancakes. I just don’t know.
So there’s all that. It’s really fun. Which makes me angry bear that I can’t recommend this book because it contains straight up homophobic content in that the only same-sex couple in the story of a gazillion paired off immortals is…the villains. ARE YOU FOR REAL RIGHT NOW? This book was published in 2019! By HARPERCOLLINS! Find a damn sensitivity reader. So I can only go with this was a deliberate choice on the part of Sands. And, to quote Ingrid, “Oh, no no no…”
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