A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell.
Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry.
Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude… and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.
Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.
Am I the last person to read this series? It certainly seems like it. It’s been sitting on my kindle for ages, waiting for me to finally decide to pick it up. And I’m ever glad I did!
I’ve been in the mood for historical reads after finishing Tournament of Shadows, and if nothing else, I knew KJ Charles can write a great historical. But I got much more than just that; I got magic, mystery and amazing characters, on top of a well-developed plot and great writing.
I loved the world building in this one. Historical and paranormal/fantasy have been some of my favourite genres ever since I was a teenager, and I loved how KJ combined them. The writing was brilliant and I was immersed in the story from page one. None of the explanations from Stephen felt like “info dump” to me, and I could follow all of them without problems. I love when the fantasy part is so well-woven into the world that everything seems natural, and KJ Charles achieved that here.
Now, the mystery, I love a good mystery – I didn’t grow up reading Agatha Christie’s books for nothing – and while this one wasn’t one of those that have me biting my nails to the bone, it was a solid one. I kept wondering who was behind all of the attacks, and there were some moments that made me gasp and reach for something that wasn’t there. I really enjoyed all the tense moments while Stephen tried to work things out and the resolution of the big mystery.
And finally, the characters. I think it’s one of the first times I’ve adored both MCs from the beginning of the book. Lucien’s sarcasm won me over, and I really liked Stephen’s force and his sense of right and wrong. There was also a lot of chemistry between them, and I loved seeing how that one grew. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel to read more about them.
So the finish line: there was not one thing I didn’t like about this, and I’m starting the next book as soon as I can.