Title: Elixir (Channeling Morpheus #10)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Length: 20k words
Publisher: JCP Books
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
**This review contains spoilers for those who haven’t yet read the earlier stories**
Blurb: Wild Bill and Michael might have thought they made it out of the subterranean vampire nest unscathed, but in her anger, Silk left Michael a taste of her wrath that’s impossible to shake.
It’s a race against time to cure Michael of a bizarre affliction, and though the hunter and his favorite vamp have few enough friends, Bill can’t ash a cigarette without burning another bridge. Now Wild Bill must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice to save his lover.
His friends? His scruples? His pride?
Review: [RIP -- BIG RED]
I’m so sad, I loved that thing
On the other hand, I don’t think that Jordan could had written a better ending to this series (I say this as I’ve yet to read the freebie short, “Jackpot”). Not only can you see the fruits of labor throughout the whole series but it ends with a bang. The evolution of the series, perhaps, is what this last story is really all about, mirrored in the evolution of the characters. Jordan writes a nice Author Note in this story about mirroring, but I think more than in most of past stories, the symbolism is obvious. I think it is because by this point, you can’t not understand these two characters like your best friends, at least if you’ve spent as much time with them as I and many other readers. This final story shows the two of them given the chance to break free of everything that has held them back and everything they’ve been fighting through, with the choice itself the freedom and not which avenue they take. The ending and where we leave them shows that we can leave them safe with the knowledge that though their lives will never be smooth sailing (because, honestly..) it is also safe to say goodbye. The same goes for the two of them, most opportunely shown in Bill’s point of view, that they have a future as well, and it might not be so bad.
The plot in this last story focuses on the direct aftermath of the story before. In “Swarm”, Bill and Michael stumble onto a warren of vampires, where Michael gets inked by a female vampire named Silk before they extract themselves and thank their lucky stars. Only, Silk has laced the ink with poison, and when the Swarm comes for them they’re in a sticky situation. Michael’s fucked up chemistry has a strange affect on the poison and they’re in deep shit, their only chance at saving him being a certain doctor Bill really doesn’t want to see again.
But this is where the series gets its payoff. They’ve both evolved and their behavior in the crisis reflects how they’ve changed one another. Michael means more to Bill than his Catholic guilt, and Michael finally considers what the fighting and killing means to Bill. Their recognition of the temperance they give each other leaves the reader feeling safe in their future. Their behavior in the aftermath was exactly what I expected of their covenant of sorts to put one another first.
On another note, I love how Big Red became a character of its own. I realized that I keep thinking of it as the trusty guide from typical fantasy. You know, the quest must be ended alone. That’s how this story felt for me, and Big Red had to bite the dust. It was sad, but I understood The rejuvenation of the character of Dr. Harmon, and changes we see in him and how he comes to life in the end only shows that there is hope after all.
I’ve waited a long time to finish this story, even though I’d read most of them before now — LONG before. But I’m glad I did in a way. It was nice to get a fresh impression of this last story and the one before. And I can say that I think this was a perfect ending for our pair. Whether Jordan ever decided to write more or not would be fine with me.