Forevermore by Kristen Callihan #Review

Forevermore by Kristen Callihan #ReviewForevermore by Kristen Callihan

Series: #7 Darkest London
Genres: Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published by Forever on June 28, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars      three-half-flames

With much anticipation, I picked up this book to get the story of the enigmatic and dark, Sin Evernight after all that happens leading up to this point.  But we all know that with this series, it is never that simple.  Sin’s story unfolds, but it is tied to the story of another, his childhood friend and the only woman he will ever love and can’t have, Layla, who has her own interesting history.

This is book seven in the Darkest London series.  It is a series that really should be read in order particularly this book with threads that tie it in to all that has come before.

Sin Evernight has been away for over a year after the events that led to his family turning their back on him after his alleged betrayal and his transformation into an avenging angel who is tasked to bring the supernaturals of the world to account for evil deeds.  His mentor calls him back to London on an assignment that disconcerts him.  He is to guard the famous singer, Layla.  She happens to be his childhood friend and his secret love.  He is dark and has a past that he is ashamed that she should know because he couldn’t handle her rejection or disgust like how his sisters treated him.  But if she is in danger, he will protect her with his very life.

Layla is scared of all the mysterious changes that seem to be transforming her into something other.  As the secrets come out, she must accept and come into her own quickly because the world is on the brink of hard, dramatic events.  And, somehow, she must convince Sin to let her be with him and let her into his bruised and broken heart so she can help him heal.  He is so much more than she ever imagined, but his darkness does not scare her.

Alright, this was a good, solid read.  I enjoyed it and pretty much devoured it in one sitting.  The author added another layer to the supernatural world of this series by focusing on the angels and the demonic powerful beings that are the highest order of demons.  It was also neat the way the author brought things full circle to explain how every significant event for all the characters in the series were orchestrated to bring about what happens in this book with Sin and Layla.  Impressive stuff and I appreciated such skill.   I loved that past characters particularly Archer and Miranda got more than token cameo appearances.  It truly was a really good read.

But now I’m going to give you whiplash and say that I was also disappointed with the story.  It missed being amazing for a few reasons- some I can point out and there is also something that I can’t quite put my finger on.

I felt like the author’s decision to split this story so that there are really two love affairs going on might have been a mistake.  Layla’s guardian and her mother get nearly as much page time as she and Sin.  Depth and development in Sin and Layla’s story suffered as a result.   Their story was good, but it was also little more than an average historical romance much of the time as they meander from ball to ball with Layla flirting with men trying to make Sin jealous and Sin working hard to deny the attraction between them because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of her and his past has scarred him so he doesn’t think a physical relationship is possible.  They get some sweet, some passion, and some exciting moments, but it could have been so much more.  There was no build up really.

Another part that suffered because of the focus being split was Sin’s personal story.  And this more than the romance, was where I was especially disappointed.  This man was forced to be a sexual slave for years, forced to spy on his family, and then he is transformed from an elemental magic user to being an angel of justice.  His sisters cut him from their lives and he’s a real mess.  His story should have been given lots of page time as he grew and healed.  Instead, this stuff gets touched on in a fleeting way and swiftly resolved.  As an unwilling sex slave, he is averse to being touched and he gets nauseated at the idea of sex, but this is gone in a wink in one passionate encounter with his true love.  I get that this is a romance novel, but either don’t go there with the character or if it does add in the trauma, give it the attention needed to make if feel real.

Maybe it was the above mentioned things, but even though I read swiftly and eagerly, I never fully connected emotionally.  I wanted to, but I felt a distance.  I mourned this distance as this was probably the last book in the series.

This will seem like I was very disappointed or didn’t like the book when actually I did like it leading to me wanting more to make it go from good to great.  I do not hesitate to recommend this series to those who enjoy a blend of historical romance with urban fantasy and steampunk.

My thanks to Grand Central for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #226 SP

About Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan is a child of the 80’s, which means she’s worn neon skirts, black-lace gloves, and combat boots (although never all at once) and can quote John Hughes movies with the best of them. A life long daydreamer, she finally realized that the characters in her head needed a proper home and thus hit the keyboard. She believes that falling in love is one of the headiest experiences a person can have, so naturally she writes romance. Her love of superheroes, action movies, and history led her to write historical paranormals. She lives in the Washington D.C. area and, when not writing, looks after two children, one husband, and a dog — the fish can fend for themselves.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • This book has been all over the blogosphere recently. I really want to try this series out, but I need to catch up on some others first. Great review!

    • I understand that one, Lekeisha. I have a wish list full of books that I want to read when I finish what I’ve got started. 🙂 I think you’ll enjoy these.

  • Debbie Haupt

    Ooh it sounds so good but book 7, gahhh 😉 too many books so little time LOL

  • Sounds like an interesting book. I do like the premise of the story line.

  • I just skimmed your review, because I am a couple books behind on the series but I have really loved this world that Callihan has created!!! I do love the mix of historical and steampunk with PNR!! Too bad you felt a bit disconnected, that is always the worst but at least it was engaging.

    • Yes, I was disappointed not to be more into it though it was still a very good story that I read in one sitting. Loved this series! I’ll probably re-read it some day.

  • I don’t know a lot about this series but I have seen this book around quite a bit lately. I never know what to think about a book that I can binge read but still feel disappointed when it is over. I may need to check out this series just to see what it is all about. Great review!

    • I know that seems confusing. I love the series, but I only liked this book if that makes sense. The other books in this series are easily five star reads for me. There is a blend of historical romance, fantasy and suspense along with a flavor of steampunk- so a bit of everything. 🙂

  • Sounds like an interesting story. I’ve not read much steampunk or historical. I do need to try more of that genre and the PNR aspects of this one should help me span the gap.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Yes, these are good to help with that. The steampunk is almost non-existent save one or two books depending on the characters, but the fantasy/paranormal element is strongest with the historical setting. I think the blending is what got me into steampunk, too.

  • I’ve read books before that pull off the two love affairs angle successfully. Sorry this one didn’t work out so well, but this series, characters and book all sound intriguing! Great review!

    • Yes, I have too, but as the series finale and all the build up for Sin’s story made it very hard not to be disappointed when he had to share half the book and with characters that have never really been in the story before. It’s a creative and engaging series even if this was not my favorite story.

  • Always frustrating when you can’t quite put your finger on an issue. The split of a story between couples is so tricky. It’s rarely done well in my experience :/ This one does still sound pretty good even with the issues. She’s one I’ve meant to try for ages.

    • Yes, even though it isn’t as good as the rest of the series, it is still pretty good. You definitely have to give them a go someday. 🙂 Though, her contemporary books are pretty good…decisions, decisions…