This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Steampunk Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on September 2, 2014
A friends to lovers romance set against the scintillating backdrop of a paranormal steampunk London world…sigh. It’s sheer bliss to pick up each new installment in this series and know that I’m going to experience a story on a visceral level and not just read it. It hasn’t mattered who the main characters are or what their particular trouble is; I still sigh, cry, laugh and barely breathe in turn. The latest installment was no different though I have to tell you some uber-stubborness was frowned upon even though I did understand the motive behind it.
This book is the fourth novel in an exciting series that has stayed strong throughout. I think it would be a mistake to read it out of order because of the elaborate world-building, overall story arc and recurring characters with their ongoing plots appearing in the story.
This story opens with Garrett now the Master of the Nighthawks after Lynch stepped down and he is struggling. He doubts his leadership abilities, he has subordinates that are giving him a hard time, a new brutal murder case has come up, he struggles with the craving virus that has increased since his near-death injuries from the case before and still, it is the thing he feels for his partner of nine years, Perry, that distracts him the most. Ever since their last case when he saw her gowned as a beautiful, poised woman and she playfully nearly seduced him before stepping back, he has realized that he never saw Perry for who and what she was before. Now instead of just his partner, she is a woman that he wants more than the blood he craves, but Perry has hidden herself behind that emotional wall she has kept up since he has known her. There is no getting past that wall to know the real her except that peek she gave him at the theater. But now they can’t run around avoiding each other, a fiend is loose in the East End.
Perry reinvented herself when she came to the Nighthawks and Lynch took her in. She suppressed her female traits and worked as hard or harder to prove herself than all the male Nighthawks. Becoming strong and eliminating any weaknesses has also helped her keep the nightmare of her past at bay along with keeping her oblivious yet still observant partner from discovering her feelings for him while he still only thinks of her as partner and friend. Now, though, she is brutally shocked to see the evidence that two monsters from her past have resurfaced. One is likely the murdering fiend they seek while the other is playing a devilish game of his own that she fears will come back on her. She must find a way to lead the Nighthawks toward a solution to the case without imparting anything about her past and she must fight off Garrett’s newly awakened and untrustworthy feelings for her for his own protection as well as her own.
Each book tackles a different type of problem though all are tied together too by the growing power threat of the Prince Consort and about the characters personal fight with the craving virus. This one was less of an all hands on deck battle type of problem and more a personal war so it had a different feel to it. The virus and the political rumblings are there in the background, but this case was about the nightmare from Perry’s past resurfacing. The set up for this one had a mad scientist laboratory/experiment on human subjects part that totally had me squicking out because that sort of thing is my horror show kryptonite. I was also totally engaged in getting the whole of Perry’s secret past and boy, was it a doozy. The villains are both scary and powerful. I was holding my breath through many well written suspense and action scenes. The final climactic scene was strong and had my flipping pages so fast to see how it would end.
The romance side of things was probably the most prominent theme of the plot though it barely worked for me. This made me sad because I really wanted it to work because I liked the hero and heroine since they were introduced. It was a long developing one and I wasn’t sure if the story would end before they got their act together. Though once it finally got rolling, it was pretty explosive. Garrett could make Perry’s body just hum. They were a passionate pair, but were also pretty awesome as working partners too. The tension between Garrett and Perry just kept ratcheting up tighter and tighter until I was actually past patience with them- particularly Perry. Her ‘doomed Juliet dying airs’ mental monologue and behavior had me twitchy to smack her. I hate it when tough female characters somehow morph into ninnies when it’s their turn to be the romance heroine. She’s loved the guy for nine years and when he finally comes to his senses? She dinks around for the whole book until…yeah, you guest it ‘too late’ she bewails. She blew hot and cold. Garrett did all the chasing and one-sided romance just doesn’t work for me.
And speaking of Perry. She was really the lead role in the book and she drove me nearly insane much of the time. She was all to pieces, but made the mistake of honestly believing she had it under control. I’m not talking about her very real and legitimate fear of the monsters from her past. I totally got that and would have thought she was odd if she didn’t freak out when they reappeared. No, my issue with her was the way she handled her relationship with Garrett and how she stubbornly sat on her secrets and her emotions bringing potential harm to others. She refused to give up anything knowing the danger they faced. Garrett came clean about his secrets, but she clutched hers even tighter. He tried so hard to get her to see that she needed to trust him and the others who she has known all along to have her back, but she kept insisting on martyring herself to save others even when she barked at Garrett not to give up. Lady! You ripped his heart out. He told her that she is his anchor and reason for trying not to succumb to the craving virus so the first thing she does is a duck and run like an emotional coward. Garrett was right in a way when he accused her of using the Nighthawks and him without giving anything in return. As the reader, I was privy to her motives. I got her reasons; I really did, but it didn’t mean I agreed with them.
This last stuff makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy the story when for the most part I did, but lets just say that I enjoyed other heroines and romances in the series much better. I like where things are going as the series story arc is building for a big grand finale. I can’t wait for what will come next after the set up in that last chapter. Those who enjoy the melding of Steampunk and Paranormal Romance should give this series a try.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review.