How many times did I wonder what Devil DeVere was like as a younger man to start him along the lusty larger than life journey that became the intriguing man I met in Wild Night’s Bride? There are hints and flashback memories through the series that made me more than curious. So when I was given the chance to read this prequel story of just that very thing, there was no way I was going to say no when I was offered the book for honest review. But then to discover that each chapter came with a lovely jewel-toned illustrated page that could only serve to enhance what was written? Hey, that’s just icing on an already decadent cake.
This was the first time I have read an illustrated adult novella so I have to say that the artwork was phenomenal. Not only were the characters portrayed just as I would imagine them to look; the facial expressions and the ability of each illustration to communicate the scene were fantastic. As I stated before, the rich jewel tones were a feast for the eyes and I adored the attention to historical authentic detail. Polina Ipatova and Victoria Vane who worked together to bring us the illustrated story are definitely a powerful one-two punch.
As to the story line itself, it opens with DeVere attending prep school with his close chums Ned Chambers and Simon Singleton who make up with DeVere the Unholy Triumverate. They came together and forged a strong friendship that helped spare them the typical prep school bullying. But that being said, it doesn’t prevent a professor from settling on DeVere as his target only to have Ludovic insolently best him at his own game. This led Ludovic to the incident mentioned in Wild Night’s Bride involving the lion and the result being to fall in disfavor from King and in further disfavor from the crazed and diseased man that was his father. His father sends him into exile which leads him to make another good friend and have a reunion that leaves him with a new perspective on his past and his future.
I truly enjoyed the mayhem that ensues wherever DeVere is present and there were several laugh out loud moments in the story. But there were also several places in the plot when the seeds of what grew into the Devil DeVere we encounter in the later books are revealed.
It was a splendid Georgian romp that I can recommend not only to the fans of the DeVere series, but to anyone who enjoys authentic historical with a dash of spice.