This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Steampunk Romance
Published by Forever
Released on August 26, 2014
Since the end of Shadowdance, I’ve been awaiting the fate of Holly Evernight and Will Thorne so I was relieved that the wait was finally over. Whew! My patience was really strained after things were left the way they were. And now that I’ve scarfed it up in two days, I am pleased to report that it was worth every agonizing moment. As usual, the author took me places that I could never imagine with her incredible historical paranormal world and the characters that inhabit it. The twisting plot, darker backdrop, deftly drawn characters and taunt action all worked for me.
This book is part of the Darkest London series and in my opinion needs to be read in order particularly between this one and the last one for it to make any sense.
Holly was directly responsible- though under duress- for Will’s torturous time being used as an experiment and for it altering him permanently into a half demon half metal monster which is why his sudden murderous appearance at her home nearly a year later is a surprise, but not an utter shock. As a scientist and an inventor, she was captured and forced to work horrific deeds on other captured beings and she holds herself guilty for her part in their misery, pain and, in some cases, deaths. But this empathy isn’t visible to others who see her emotionless logical exterior that she presents to the world. In fact, she keeps herself under tight wraps because she is scared of life outside her laboratory and home it seems. It isn’t until Will Thorne invades her life that her perfect, sterile world is shaken up.
Will doesn’t know how he came to be at Holly Evernight’s home because the pain from the metal taking over his body leaves his mind crazed. She thwarts his murderous attempt at revenge and even heals him with her elemental power over metal through touch. She is like an Ice Queen when she does it though. Her clinical demeanor makes him feel like a disgusting experiment to her and she doesn’t deny it when he throws this in her face. No, she just gets stiffer and continues to be in the face of his fury. They strike a bargain of sorts when he learns that he is not the only one that attempted murder on her. She will use her power to keep the metal from taking over his body while she searches for a cure and he will in turn act as her protector and keep her safe from those that would harm her.
Thus begins the journey of sorts for Holly and Will as they progress from hostility and lack of understanding for each other to grudging respect and tentative friendship to something more. All the while, they seek to work out the plottings of those around them. And I do mean plottings plural because several groups seem to have an avid interest in Holly and Will. Some is overtly dangerous attention, but others are less easy to tease out and seem almost vested in their survival. In the end, impossible choices face them and severe sacrifices are needed to end all the machinations around them.
This was one twisting plot that was tough to work out who was up to what. Honestly, I ended up just sitting back and not trying to figure it out. Holly and Will took turns at the narration, but occasionally others- those others with agendas around them- would get brief scenes that left me baffled and more tense as it was obvious that Holly and Will were in danger that they couldn’t even see for reasons that were left a mystery to the end for the most part. I confess there were a few moments when I felt the story lag, but it was just a mild sensation and nothing got near a need to skim before the pace would pick up again and suck me back in. This action part of the story was equal to the character and romance side.
As to that, I had to really take a rein on my patience when it came to Holly. I wasn’t fond of her at first. She was one of those types that had a brilliant scientific mind, but understood little about people. She came across as an emotionless brute in a dress. Her multiple rejections of Will had me cringing with the unwitting cruelty and yet she expected him to just bounce back from each new flaying with kindness and compassion. I read on hoping the author would work some amazing character growth and give me something to like and admire and eventually she did. Holly felt regret, guilt and true remorse and made good with Will. She grew out of her former assumptions about Will and his race of demons and she let him teach her to embrace the joys of life outside her laboratory.
[quote]She cared about him, to a frightening degree. But she needed him to understand and did not know how to explain herself. “I can take a dirigible apart down to its gears and screws, but when it comes to interacting with others, I…”
Face burning she shut her mouth.
“I know, petal,” Thorne said. “And even though you possess…ah…slightly maladroit social skills, that does not negate your kinder actions.”
“Well, I’ve mucked up this apology, to be sure.” She worried the corner of her lip with her teeth before blurting out, “Will you accept it? Believe that I think highly of you?”
Though he made not a sound, she could almost feel his amusement. His tone certainly conveyed it, husky as it was. “Yes, love, I accept.” He paused before adding softly, “Thank you.” Holly and Will, Loc. 3125 of Evernight[/quote]
Will had his issues, but they slipped away quicker. Will let go of his hate and need for vengeance pretty quick when he saw the shackle scars on Holly’s wrists and the crippling agoraphobic fear she lived with as a result of her own escape from the fiend that imprisoned them both. He also learned to appreciate Holly’s finer qualities and really see her past that brilliant scientific mind and her inventions that seemed to be all that others saw in her. Will has been alone and flitting through life until Holly, who grounds him and gives meaning.
Oh and together? These two had a passion together that was just decadent pleasure and pure molten fire. I choked up during one scene near the end which told me that I’d come a long way from the time when I was less than pleased with Holly. I totally bought into these two and wanted them together so badly.
As to the tie-ins with main characters from other books, Jack and Mary were present and there was a brief appearance of Poppy along with St. John the younger brother now emerging as a strong character, but the others were merely mentioned. Recurring secondary characters like Adam and Julien did have stronger roles. In fact, I’m going to toss out there that Sin or Adam will get the next book and I can’t wait for either.
I like where things are going with this series. It hasn’t lost any steam even five books in. The author has gathered together so many elements and crossed several genres so it’s free of many limitations allowing for it to explore nearly any direction she wants. So in the end, I was left very satisfied with this book and ready for what comes next.
Like I said, this one crosses several romance sub-genres to it will have appeal to a wider audience- historical, paranormal, and steampunk romance fans who like good action, intrigue and scorching heat between their couples would all possibly want to take a gander at this series.
My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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