Desmond and Garrick (Book 1)

Title: Desmond and Garrick (Book 1)
Author: Hayden Thorne
Publisher: Prizm
Buy Link: Buy Link Desmond and Garrick Book One
Genre: LGBTQ Young Adult, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Novel (244 pages / 67,000 words)
Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Cole

Review Summary: A very well written, extremely quirky, and original vampire story that will be a great setup to a series, but is a bit slow as a standalone novel.


It’s 1815, just after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and Garrick Mortimer is a scholar extraordinaire, an underemployed and starving genius. Desperate, he agrees to sign on as tutor to Desmond Hathaway, the youngest son of a vampire family living in Yorkshire. Desmond, who’s suffering terrible heartbreak caused by another boy’s callous treatment of him in school, rebels against Garrick’s attempts at educating him and does everything he could to chase Garrick away, which proves to be a greater challenge than he first believes.

When Desmond’s older brother returns from Italy for a visit, bringing with him a small group of talentless and self-absorbed poets, his (and Garrick’s) world turns upside-down, mainly when he meets Leigh Blaise Sherbourne, a vampire poet who seems to detest Desmond and also harbors secrets regarding his past. Throw into the mix a desperate mother’s plea for grandchildren, a family-owned torture chamber, a curious cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle, and a grumpy family magician, and Garrick finds that life in the Hathaway household is a great deal more than he bargained for.


Garrick Mortimer is a scientifically minded gentleman. That is to say his mind is only geared to science. Yet only those who will bow down to scientific masters and pay their dues are ever accepted as the geniuses that they are and make a living locked in their labs. Garricks admits that he is a genius already, and as such, has no need for such horrible business as not studying what he wants to. Yet, he’s starving, and though he’s had several offers to tutor various youths throughout England, he’s turned them all down because he cannot stand company that is not as suited to learning as he is. Yes, Garrick believes that to brow-beat English youths with learning is beneath him, and he would do much better with his time to starve. Yet, after a while he is getting hungrier and hungrier. He can no longer think of excuses to send home for money. Then, like kismet, he receives a letter from Mr. Hathaway – Gentleman Vampire, offering a tutorship position to his young vampire son, who has become restless and difficult after his expulsion from school. This, thinks Garrick, is a prime opportunity. No one has ever made a scientific study of vampires and written a treatise of their account. Therefore, he posts his reply, packs up his books, sends his letter home announcing his new employment, and sets off to his new position. So what if that position affords him food? He is off on a truly important scientific study.

Desmond Hathaway, the youngest son of the Hathaway vampire clan is glum. Prone to flights of fancy and extreme melodrama like all of his brethren, he watches the bloodred sunsets from his favorite tree and pines after his lost love Phillip, who has just written his last letter to Desmond to ask that he please stop writing to him every minute, as he has work to do at school and they are no longer to remain friends, he having mistakenly taken up with a rabblerousing vampire and has now seen the error of his ways. Admittedly, Desmond is heartbroken, thinking Phillip his one true love. Now, all he has to pass the time is watching his sister throw herself off the roof over and over, weeping over her tragic literary heroes and playing with the Judas Chair in the torture room. Apparently his parents are out to torture him, because they have announced that though his older brothers were allowed to follow their fancy into disputably inappropriate vocations, they are going to parent him right. They have hired a scientifically minded fellow to finish his education (even though no vampire ever finishes their education), and give him a healthy dose of logic and discipline. Bemoaning having to learn from a mortal tutor and trying every possible disruption into his studies that any vampire could think of (like how many different places one could hide as a bat), does not get Desmond very far — as all the things that usually send mortals running and screaming make his new tutor Mr. Mortimer exclaim in wonder. There is only one bright spot in the future — his brother is returning home with his cadre of artists and poets and maybe one of them will make him his boyfriend and whisk him away to travel the world writing dreadfully morose prose. Yet, when the group arrives, his brother’s friends frighten him. And one in particular, Mr. Sherbourne, has taken an unnatural interest in him.

You can see, just from the way I’ve described this book, that it is written really, really well. Its incredibly inventive, original, and snarky at the same time. The way vampires are protrayed as creatures at the mercy of their emotions made this vampire tale very different from most. Just the descriptions of the “cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle” that the Hathaway family is purosefully knocking down so they can live in ruins and the setting of the moors and countryside are enough to set this story on a different course. I won’t go into all of the little details, just to say that they make this story come alive and they are very plentiful. Each page I turned found some new descriptive element of the different way the mortals saw the world to the way the vampires looked at it and all sorts of zany characters. One of the advantages of the writing is that the format actually follows the typical prose of a 19th century novel. To many, this might be a drawback and it certainly slowed the pace of the story considerably, but in an effort of authenticity (though how authentic a story about vampires can be I’m not sure), it was wonderfully written. At the same time, it did make the pace of the story slow. If I hadn’t been able to see how masterfully Hayden Thorne wields words onto the page, I might have gotten a bit bogged down in the excess dialogue in the sitting room and the long descriptive paragraphs. It helps to know these things going into this book, I think. Don’t expect when you pick up this novel that you will be getting a swift and steamy read. It is about a gay character, however it is a YA book rated for teens age 14+. As the genre of this story, it is about teenage angst. Normally, this would drive me batsh*t crazy, but it Desmond is written with such a deft pen and over-the-top dark humor, that I ended up loving to read about it. Also, and this was my fault, but despite the glaring 1 on the cover of the book, I actually didn’t realize that this was the start of a series until I started getting along in the story and wondering why not much was happening. With that said, I am very much looking forward to the characters. Not only do I want to know what happens in the story, but I’ve found myself really caring about the characters (grating though these vampires can be on the nerves after 200+ pages).

I don’t think this series is for everyone, although my opinion might change after reading the sequels. If you truly enjoy historical novels, that is, not novels only set in the past, but the actual format of a historical novel you might love this book. If you like or can force yourself into a slower pace, then the wonderfully set-up world in this book will grab you and pull you in. I still have mixed feelings about this story. On the one hand, I often had to put this story down because the emotionally unbalanced vampires started to wear on my nerves, but I always went back after a little break. The amazing writing and the characters themselves, however difficult to deal with, were so entertaining. This is definitely a story that you will either love or hate. So please, in the interest of deciding if this one is for you, comment if you’re unsure and tell me why and I’ll let you know what I think. Or, to get a taste of the prose and its unique style, try reading the excerpt on the publisher’s website. For those of you who have read this story, please let me know what you’ve thought. More than most reviews I write, I really want to know how my opinion fares to other readers on this one.

**On a sidenote, props to the cover artist. This is one of the best book covers I’ve see in a long time**


  • Hmmm… correct me if I’m wrong, dearest, but it sounds as though you’re saying this book is establishing the dround-rules (of a sort) for the rest of the series and thus may suffer slightly in pace due to the world-building? (That’s what I got from part of the review, in any case, but God knows I’ve been wrong before. LOL)

    I don’t generally read anything M/M with even the vaguest whiff of ‘historical’ about it, to be honest. Things that are meant to take place back in the 70s are about as far as I’ll go. However, I do tend to read Austen, Thackeray, the Brontes and so on, so I’m not sure what that says about me. Maybe that I enjoy ‘historical fiction’ that was written as simply ‘fiction’? *shrugs*

    I’ve enjoyed others of this authors books (YA is a not-so-secret guilty pleasure of mine), and from what you’ve said, this sounds like something I might enjoy. I think I’ll wait for at least the second book to come out before buying the first, though. That way I’ll be able to go directly from the somewhat slowly-paced inaugural volume to the second, which will presumably suffer a tad less from setting the scene, so to speak. *grins*

    Lovely review, Cole. Thanks for pointing me toward this book even if I won’t be reading it for a little while. *hee*


    • Hi Tis,

      Actually, I think this might be for you. It was a really masterful blend of a YA voice with a historical novel (I love Bronte too, lol)

      I think I’ll wait for at least the second book to come out before buying the first, though. That way I’ll be able to go directly from the somewhat slowly-paced inaugural volume to the second, which will presumably suffer a tad less from setting the scene, so to speak.

      This is what I wish I had done. I was worried right up until the end that not a whole lot of plot was taking place, but then it set me up for a cliffhanger. Damn I hate those! I really wanted to see what was going to happen in the next book, so thats a good call.

      Thank you Tis! I hope you enjoy it :)

  • Cole, you know I think you’re an absolute sweetie, and you write awesome reviews…but I really think I must stop reading them. “Why”, you may ask “what have I done?” The truth is, hon, everytime I read one of your reviews, my “to buy” list grows, even if I’d already considered the book and decided it didn’t interest me! I’m going to need a second job soon!!
    Another very well written review, Cole, wonderful job!!

    • I’m sorry! Sorry, sorry! Oh but how I know what you mean. At least we can commiserate over our dwindling wallets and towering TBR piles :)

      Thank you Susie!

  • Now you got me really interested in this book. When I first saw the cover it reminded me of Sweeney Todd for some reason. I didn’t really know what to make of the blurb, but your review convinced me! It’s on the list.

    I really need some time on a desert island to read all the books that are on there! 😉

    • When I first saw the cover it reminded me of Sweeney Todd for some reason.

      Yes! I imagine Sweeney Todd would be Desmond and Lavinia’s (Desmond’s sister) absolute sense of humor. That, or they’d take it completely seriously :)

      I absolutely LOVE the cover to this book. It was what drew me to this book in the first place, its beautiful. I can’t find who the cover artist is though, it doesn’t have it listed on the Prizm website. Oh well, let me know what you think of this okay? I can’t wait for the second book :)

  • Hi Cole, great review. I haven’t read any books by this authore, but I’ve thought about it. I love vampires and the writing and character development sounds great. I enjoy series. What do you mean by written in the format of a historical? I’m very tempted to get this. Thanks

    • Hi Lisa! Thank you for replying :)

      What I meant by the format of a 19th century novel is that most of the books that are classified as ‘historical’ are books where the setting is in the past, but the story is actually written in a more modern way, no matter what dialect they use or how they speak and how they live. But the actual writing of these books is formulated like a modern novel. This book is actually formulated more like a Bronte novel, or Austen, or Tolstoy (even though that is Russian Literature, the actual formats are similar). The pace is slower, there is a whole lot of sitting room conversations and a TON (pardon the pun) of social and political machinations (its like gossip girls gone 19th century). It is mostly the way the writing is on the page, though. A lot of people can’t stand this, and thats fine. But I love to read those kinds of books so this was really well done for me.

      You should go and read the excerpt of the book and maybe that will give you an idea of the way the story sounds as you’re reading it. That might help :) Let me know if you decide to read it because I’d love to know what you thought! Thank you!

  • Wonderful review, Cole! I don’t normally read YA and Historicals aren’t my favorite either but I must admit this sounds interesting.

    I’ll keep it in mind and perhaps down the road when more books in the series are out I’ll give a try. :)

    • Hi Lily! Hayden just commented that there are only two books in the series, so maybe you should wait until I review the sequel and that will give you an idea of where the story goes. I don’t really read YA (I got really burnt out on reading it) but I do enjoy historicals from time to time, but they can sometimes be a bit much. This is definitely one that you don’t want to rush, not only because of the nuances in the writing, but simply because its impossible to rush through since the pace is pretty slow. As I said, I had to put it down sometimes, but I kept picking it back up :)

      Thanks Lily, I’ll let you know about the second one when it comes out!

  • Oh, how I dearly love snarky-toned historical stories. I passed this one up last month but your detailed description makes me want to go and read it immediately. In fact, I think I will. Thanks!

      • I’m about halfway through the book – I really like it and will definitely pick up Vol. 2 when it comes out later this year. The description of the vamp family reminds me of Charles Addams (whose work I love) pretty strongly in some regards, but I find the intersection of goth vampire themes and goth teen angst to be pretty much irresistible. Really great, idiosyncratic characters. The leisurely pacing doesn’t really bother me, but I have found that I need to break the book up into small sessions rather than reading it straight through. Thanks again!

        • I’m so happy that you like it, Pea! Aren’t the characters great? They are really the drive of this series.

          About the pacing: How you’re reading it, by breaking it up into pieces, is how I ended up reading the book. I also found that I enjoyed it a lot more that way, because I could enjoy the wonderful prose over a longer period of time, and I had more time to reflect on the characters.

          Thanks for coming back and letting me know what you think :)

  • Thanks for the review Cole. This book looked really good and I’m glad it seems to live up to it. Haven’t read a historical in a while. I can deal with a slower pace if there’s more books to come. This will definitely be bought this weekend.

    • Hey Cosmonaut! I loved this book, though I wish I had the second on right now to finish the story. If you can deal with the slower pace then I hope you’ll like this one. If you remember, come back and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks :)

  • Thank you for the review :)
    Although not interesed in the book itself I like to read about everything that is being published and for the looks of it, this one is a good one.

    • Hi Helena! I’m actually glad that you said that, because while its a great book and I have a feeling it will be a great set of books, it isn’t for everyone! Thanks for replying :)

  • Hmm, I like YA books so this sounds interesting. Funny, when I fist saw the book it held no interest, but now I don’t know anyomore. Thing is I’m not too fond of series, 2-3 books is fine, but more than that is not my thing.

    • Hi luci!

      I didn’t know how many books this series was going to have (I assumed three), but Hayden commented that there were to be two books. So you might enjoy this one. Maybe you should try reading the excerpt of the story on the Prizm website. And if you have any specific questions that might help you decide, I’d be happy to answer them :) Let me know, okay? Thanks luci!

  • LOL! There are only two books in this series. Actually, it’s only one long story that got cut into two because of my publisher’s length requirements. I think the bad poetry derailed me completely (there’s a story behind the awful poems, by the bye, but I’d rather cut my losses now and bow out gracefully before I shame myself further).

    Dangle the carrot, I say! And thanks for the review, Cole, I really appreciate it. :)

    • Two books! Thats perfect! I’m so happy because I was honestly worried for some of your readers. I know that I have a higher propensity than some to deal with the vampire zaniness in this story :) For some readers, three might be toeing the line. Plus, that means I will get the story all in one go when the next one comes out. Yay selfish me :)

      This was a wonderful story and you have such a wonderful imagination and style. I’m really looking forward to reading some of your other books. I’m so glad there are so many to choose from!

      • Yeah, I learned my lesson with Masks, which I regretted turning into a three-book series, but I guess in hindsight, it was the only way for Eric’s story to develop (though maybe two books would’ve sufficed). With D&G, I freaked out when I realized that I’d hit the 60K mark, and the story was only about halfway over. Zoiks.

        No worries about the caveats in your review. I’m glad you pointed them out as I’d hate to trap readers in a book that they end up disliking for the reasons you gave. I don’t want anyone to feel cheated and then avoid any future book I put out (though I’m not above whoring myself out). It’s always good to be forewarned.

        Thanks again for reading the book! I’m guessing that the second book will be out in the summer (maybe sooner?), so it won’t be too much of a stretch, waiting-wise, for anyone who’s read the first book. :)

        BTW, the artist who did the cover is Ms. Rosek, who also did the cover for my other book (The Glass Minstrel). She’s a phenomenal artist, whom I’m commissioning for just about every book I can get away with without pissing off my publisher.

        • No worries about the caveats in your review. I’m glad you pointed them out as I’d hate to trap readers in a book that they end up disliking for the reasons you gave. I don’t want anyone to feel cheated and then avoid any future book I put out.

          I think that some of the best books are books that people either love or hate. Usually it is because the story and style of writing sticks to its guns and doesn’t change to allow some readers to be more comfortable. It might be a particular writing style that some people hate, but tells us a lot about the characters or setting, or it could be a specialized genre that really sets the tone. I think that those readers that do find your work and love it will be even more loyal because they can see that the writing has integrity. Plus, no author is going to write a book that everyone loves, so to pander to all crowds does nothing but dilute the whole craft. So I’m glad you brought that up, it makes sense, and also, one of my favorite things about reading a book by an author I’ve not read before is finding a particularly strong or original writing style.

          Well, I’ll be waiting for the second volume, if only to see if **SPOILER** Phillip gets his ass kicked :)

          I thought that the two covers looked similar in style. You really lucked out with that because those covers have so much personality and style :) Props to Ms. Rosek!

    • Alright you got me. I want the whole thing at one time : ) When can we expect the second part to come out? Sounds great Hayden I really am looking forward to reading it! Thanks.

  • Oh, now that Hayden made things clearer – I’ll wait for the second book to come out before I commit myself to this story. I tried to read Masks and, while I recognized the good things immediately, it just was too YA for me – does that make any sense? I know this one is classified as YA as well, but it seems like something that would appeal more to me. I think you sold the story to me with this: watching his sister throw herself off the roof over and over, weeping over her tragic literary heroes and playing with the Judas Chair in the torture room. LOL!

    • Oh, it is full of stuff like that! What I thought was great about it was, if you take the responsibility off of the teen for being emo all the time because they actually can’t help but be that way, and then make it funny instead, you get this mockery of teens who act like they want to slit their wrists all the time because its cool. It was so hilarious.

      Its probably a good idea to wait for the second novel just so you can read the second story right after finishing the first…

      Thanks LadyM!

  • Once again a really wonderful review Cole. You always manage to hit on all the relevant points to either intrigue the reader or explain why the book might not work for them. I probably wouldn’t have noticed this one if not for your review. I will definitely add it to my list. Thanks Cole!

    • Thank you Tj! That means a lot to me, sometimes I look at how wonderful everyone else’s reviews are written and think that I tend to get too verbose about certain things :) Oh well. If I wrote about all the little points that I take notes on (since I end up writing 100 word sentences) we’d be here all day :)

      Thanks Tj, you made my day. And you made me a poet, see?

  • Hi Cole:

    I fell in love with the cover a while ago and have been hoping the contents matched that quirky elegance. Oh this is going to be fun! Snarky, gothic, historical is exactly what this girl needs for a rainy January. And thank you for presenting such a lovely and lively review. I got a great sense of the characters and hints of the situations ahead.

    • Hi Cally!

      Thank you so much. I was hoping that describing the story that way would show what both Desmond and Garrick were like :)

      I hope you enjoy it!

  • Hi Cole, thanks for another fine review! I love a good vampire story – but there are so many variations it’s good to have a clear impression of the overall theme. This one sounds really interesting, plus I read The Glass Minstrel and really enjoyed it.

    • Hi Dianne! I really want to read The Glass Minstrel. I remember reading the review and thinking how good it sounded. I haven’t read any other works by Hayden Thorne, but I would bet if you liked the style of writing in that book then you’ll probably enjoy it here.

      Yeah, I think its really important in this case to give people a hint about exactly what kind of vampire story this is, otherwise people will go in expecting the typical fare, when really, this is almost a study of the species themselves since so much of the story comes from Garrick’s POV.

      I hope you like it Dianne :) BTW, what a cute dog! Is he yours???

      • Hey Cole,
        Spent a great part of today snug inside reading this one. I loved it :-) Wonderful writing style, very witty and yes – saucy – which of course really lends itself to the characters, especially Desmond. At times the descriptives got to be just a bit lengthy for me, but in general I really enjoyed how the author created a very vivid picture of both the characters and their surroundings. Glad I read your review and some of the posts before reading the story, so I was expecting this enjoyable, unique presentation of vamp life, and also a cliffhanger 😉 I must say though, that I read the last page 3 times and am still a bit puzzled as to Desmond’s exact state of mind?!?! But then he seemed puzzled himself! Really looking forward to part 2.

        ” what a cute dog! Is he yours???”
        Thanks! Yep, that’s Lyric, she is my constant companion and social butterfly.

        • Lyric! What a cute name for a cute dog. She looks like she just can’t wait to jump up and lick your face :)

          I know exactly what you mean about the cliffhanger! I was ready to beat Desmond over the head :) But I suppose that was just a setup to keep us wanting, we’ll have to wait for the second half of the story to find out how he really reacts. Although I’m ready for both Desmond and Garrick to get their heads out of their asses and see that they’re perfect for each other :)

          I’m so glad you liked it!

  • Thank you for this wonderful review about a fantastic book. I am such a lucky girl that I won a copy of this book on this site. I fell in love with the characters and the writing style after reading the first few lines. What an intelligent parody of the gothic novels of the early 19th century! Garrick is such an adorable dork and Desmond is just heartbreakingly beautiful in his suffering and funny at the same time. And I love how wonderfully fleshed out the other characters were – even the very annoying ones. ;)It really is like watching a historical movie with lots of British humor. I can’t wait to see how the story continues. I will enjoy re-reading it just before the second part comes out in the middle of the year.
    Big thanks to Hayden for the lovely book and to you for doing it justice with your review,

    • Thank you Anja! I’m glad to see that we had a similar opinion about the book, I liked it so much. And I can’t wait to find out what happens in the other half of the story, yay!

      Thanks again Anja :)

  • Hi Cole, thanks for the great review. You know, I love this writer and funny, I got the book in the mail the day I saw your review. I wanted to wait till I am done with the book, but I just want to say that I am loving this one so far. LOVE historical style, I definitely agree with you, it reads as 19 century written novels. I am reminded of my beloved War and Peace hehe (I am talking style wise, please do not be scared people it is NOT nearly as long as War and Peace) and I love the characters and the subtle humor, just love everything about this one so far.

    • I am reminded of my beloved War and Peace hehe (I am talking style wise, please do not be scared people it is NOT nearly as long as War and Peace)

      Sirius, it seems we love the same books! Not only this one, and Harry Potter (which I only assumed from your email, lol), but War and Peace is my all-time favorite book. I read it every year in November (because that was the time of year I first read it) and I’ve read it three times now. It is such an amazing epic story and has the absolute best journey of a character in all literature (Petya/Pierre). I was so happy to hear how much you love it too :) I hardly ever tell people that War and Peace is my favorite book because I’m always afraid people will think I’m bragging, lol.

      If you can remember, please come back when you’ve finished this one, I’d love to hear what you think of the book when you finish it!

      • OMG Cole while I met few people who read (and liked) War and Peace, you are the first person ever I am meeting outside of my culture who actually rereads it. Yay. Always good to hear from somebody who likes this book. I reread it every year too.

        And yes, Harry Potter was the reason I got online and actually started talking (and talking and talking, goodness knows for how long I discussed these books :))

        I loved Desmond and Garrick LOVED, LOVED. The humor, the metaphors, the characters, everything.

        The only thing I did not like was the ending. Cliffhangers annoy me A LOT.

        • Yay! A fellow War and Peace fan! Maybe we can get together sometime online and read it together and have a discussion!! I would love that :) If you want to, sometime, please email me cole.riann(at)

          Sorry for not replying right away. Stupid WordPress didn’t tell me that you’d replied and then it was only today when you commented on Aisling that I thought, oh yeah, I wonder if Sirius replied to my comment :)

          HP was the reason I started getting on blogs and fansites and talking at first too, from the release of OoTP to about a month after DH came out, I was online everyday reading and talking! I love HP so much, its also something I read and reread over and over again. It holds a really special place in my heart.

          Now, about Desmond and Garrick, lol. I loved it as well, and I’m glad you do too, but I know EXACTLY what you mean about the cliffhanger! I understand it more now, that Hayden commented above that it was one long book that got broken into two parts. It makes sense, but it still makes me wish I had them both to read back to back :)

  • Eh actually I will e-mail you right after I will finish typing this comment :), really want to ask you Harry Potter question :).

    I actually misread the last sentence in the ending lol, so I thought it a bit more cliffhangerISH than it really was (hides away), Just substitute waist for NECK and you will get what I read lolol. Do not ask me why, I have no idea.

    • Lol, I do that a lot. Its like your brain is inserting what it expects or wants before you actually read the word. Thats hilarious :)

      I got your email, so now we can talk about HP and Tolstoy where everyone else doesn’t have to read it :)

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