Gateway to the Past is Book 3 in Andy Peloquin’s The Last Bucelarii series.
The Hunter is a driven, conflicted, cold-nerved killer. That’s what I love about him. There’s never a dull moment around this guy.
He’s also rather sexy, if you’re into the bad-boy type.
This is actually my introduction to Peloquin’s series, so I’m a Book Three walk-in. Nevertheless, I never felt compelled to put the book down and start over from the beginning. There is enough background to feed new readers while keeping the pace for fans more familiar with the series. And now, having finished of Book Three, I have already snagged Book One to start this disaster over from the beginning.
When I say disaster, that’s a compliment. Bear with me.
Peloquin knows how to pen a dark tale. He is a master of tone and is adept at using plot and setting to build suspense. There is an overall feel about Peloquin’s world reminiscent of crawling through an old, crumbling storm-drain right before a downpour, wondering when the flood will arrive. And not knowing how to get out.
I found myself a little distanced from the Hunter at first, but I suspect that was intentional on the authors’ part. How does one draw close to a character who doesn’t really know himself? Are you supposed to love a murderous half-demon driven by a screaming dagger to feast off the life-force of the living? But, as I followed the Hunter through this gritty and sometimes gruesome journey into his past, I felt like I got to know him just a bit.
And I liked what I found.
I wouldn’t marry the guy. I’d never hire him as a baby sitter. But I’d go with him on a coffee date.
The Hunter has a strange, inglorious nobility. He doesn’t murder indiscriminately, but picks and choses those he deems deserving of an end. When he has the luxury to pick and choose. But, hey, at least, he tries to have some standards and morals.
He is somewhat capable of attachment. Somewhere in his past is a lost love he feels compelled to find. And in his current story arc, there is a little boy who depends on him. Though, while I’d like to think that the Hunter’s motivation for protecting this child comes from genuinely compassion, I can’t escape the gnawing fear that his motivations are far more base in nature; being around the boy soothes the voices in his mind.
In summary, Gateway to the Past is a well-written, consuming story into the mind of monster who has been separated from his life, his morals, his purpose, and his memory.
Basically, he’s lost everything and isn’t aware enough to miss it. This is a fascinating journey of self-exploration into the haunted mind of a demon. Peloquin delivers on his promises and doesn’t hold back. He doesn’t spare the weak-stomached. His writing is exactly what it needs to be to make this work. That’s a big recommend.
I’m going to enjoy this series.