I’ve posted about this a couple of times before, but it’s a common criticism from MMR (Male/Male Romance) readers that the story of Sunset (Pact Arcanum Book 1) isn’t romantic or sexy enough, just as SciFi readers criticize the story for having too much of a focus on romance. The complexity of the timeline is another common complaint, and mainstream romance readers even object to the story being “too explicit” and “gratuitous” in its fade-to-black handling of gay sex. The difficulty in writing a cross-genre story is that it does not fully conform to the narrow constraints of established genres, and so its placement in any particular genre becomes problematic. Currently, I tell people it’s non-explicit gay paranormal space opera, and just let them make up their own minds.
Unfortunately, most of the character backstory that validates the romantic elements is in Sunrise (Book 2), because I made a conscious decision to concentrate on plot and action in Book 1, which is why Sunset starts in the middle of the story and gives some people headaches. If I had left those elements in, the first book would have been on the order of 1000 pages long, which would have generated even more problems. It also created the need for flashbacks in the first book to cover backstory material that was contained in the second book, which added to the complexity of the storyline. These flashbacks are therefore largely absent from the other books in the series.
The Integrated Omnibus edition reformulates the entire series into a linear storyline, without flashbacks. Readers who found Sunset too dry or convoluted might find that version more to their taste, if they have an interest in reading the rest of the story.