I really needed a day to process this book before reviewing.
Pacing: The book started off well, then it moved a little slowly but I think the author was trying to show how Nicholas's world view was so drastically altered. It was very cool to see a vampire book that has such serious theological/philosophical debate (well, any M/M book actually as this is rare). The discussing of Qi was wonderful, too. Although the setting is old England, the vampires had spent 60 years in China and had adopted some Eastern philosophy. This was integrated into their world view.
Plot: Very good and could hold up without being a romance.
Romance: At first, I didn't think it was going to be romantic at all. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to like Ban. But by halfway through, it became a beautiful love story.
Historical setting: The old time-y language is perfect and fabulous. Only a couple of times I was pulled out with what I thought were anachronisms but then I figured out I was wrong.
Characters: Really wonderful and unique characters. I could picture each one and knew who was speaking just from the words spoken usually. There were lots of strong, powerful, and not evil
Vampires: Back to old school kind of, with evil master vampires and the vamps they sire, and their human devotees. But of course, there is always some room for vamps to be good. :)
I have one nitpick. (What's a maybedog review without at least one nitpick?) Qi is pronounced "chee" and one character thought he said "key." The implication was that it was pronounced kee. (Qi is the best solitaire word. If you can get the Q on a double/triple word score and i's going both ways, mega points.)
HEA/HFN? It's supposed to be and HEA, but it doesn't feel quite feel like it to me. (This second spoiler gives away part of the ending. Nicholas remembered almost nothing of Salvino's life so Jean-Paul won't remember much either so he's not the same man. Also, I hated them apart for so long and Ban having children with someone else even if wasn't a sexual/love thing. Nicholas should be involved with any of Ban's kids but they're all grown up. I was close to tears by the end. Despite my dislike of the ending, I think it was more literary (good) than what I would have done so you will probably love it.
4.5 stars rounded down because of the mild slowness at the beginning and because I hated the ending.