„It was obvious that there were layers upon layers of lies that I needed to peel away with everyone else. I just hoped the truth didn’t turn out to be more horrible than the lies I’d been living with.”
The quote above is the Embracing Death quintessence, but I'll start by recommending to you to not skip the first book of the series because it is the one that provides motivation and gives weight to everything that follows. The discerned threads at the end of the first volume only reveal another bundle of lies, plans and hidden interests or those you trust or should be on your side. And maybe some of them are on your side, but not as you wanted.
„The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes we don’t get much of a say in it.” Damn him for throwing my words back at me.”
Embracing Death takes place on two distinct levels, but closely related in which Sam and Austin are already victims and seem to become executioners. Sam's struggle to resist the death addiction will cause an unexpected (or not) victim that can bring destruction to many, but that also represent the realization of some plans that have been started long ago. Plans in which Sam, Austin and many others are simply pawns, simple currency. The noble or at least good intentions were discarded long ago, if they ever existed, and betrayal comes from those that you least expect.
Regarding Sam / Austin relationship, the author manages to get readers’ empathy who will quiver for the tragic of their love. Tragic brought not only by the macabre set in which they must evolve, but also by what seems to have been predestined to them. I do not know if it has relevance for other readers, but my opinion is that the intimate dosage of the first volume was better. The intimate scenes are necessary to highlight the characters feelings, but the string is stretched a little bit too much. I’m not some prude, but these too many hot memories tend, in my opinion, to emphasize the physical side of the Sam / Austin relationship in the real detriment of the spiritual one. But that's my opinion and I saw that many other readers have appreciated the scenes.
I understand Nixon too. His love seems as strong as Austin’s, and his actions that are more or less decent start to make sense after special past “medical” events and some hidden skills are revealed. He is in a constant struggle to change the future, marked by the predictions that come true even if the initial decisions that led to them have been changed. In addition, the quote below also fits perfectly to him.
„If you sit in the dark long enough, your eyes will adjust. If you completely immerse yourself in death, eventually it will welcome you home into its sweet embrace.”
With powerful emotions, with candid self-assessment, changes, unexpected deaths and events, with an alternation of reality, of the past through lost memories, and also through death euphoria, the pages pass, and you will not feel how you reached to the end of the book. I would say that Embracing Death has set the stage for the final volume. Alea iacta est, the decisions were taken. The struggle for survival it’s to come.
"If you’re looking for a happy ending to this story—my story, I would recommend that you stop reading now. [...]
I’m not a hero, not even a dark hero. I am the villain of this story. I just didn’t see it until it was too late. [...] I will burn the world down to get him back and that’s just what I intend to do."