Erotica ~ Mature 18+
I think I love this book even more than Death by Silver.
Same quality writing (still, there are a few pesky typos, but who cares, they are just that - typos), with amazing characters. Take Dolly Hall, for example. He dies in the very beginning of the book, but his presence is palpable all the way through the end. Challice, the poor soul. Stuck in a straight marriage, thinking himself an abomination at the same time longing for family and kids. There is not much of him in this story, either, but I couldn't help worrying about him and his wife.
Magic. Spells. Curses. Sex magic. Forbidden magic. Evil creatures. Half House. No, literally, Half House :) Yeah... pretty cool!
London. I was attached to both my ipad and my phone, following the streets on Google Maps and checking out the landmarks while reading. I only visited all the usual tourist traps for the most part when I was there, but it made it easier for me to orient myself. London is one of the most spectacular cities I've ever seen (step aside, Paris!) and one of my favorites.
Evil sorcerer. Well, not quite a sorcerer, but he used some pretty weird messed up magic. This time he was much harder to pin. In Death by Silver the murderer was very predictable and it caused me a lot of frustration. Every time the said criminal was on page, I couldn't help but yell at the boys: Right there! See? How can you be so blind! Figure it out already!
I could not put the book down and didn't want it to end. If you love KJ Charles, you will like this, too.
The MCs are under much pressure where their affection for each other is concerned (those were the times *sign*), so don't expect prolonged or explicit sex scenes. But the tenderness is there.
Very much recommended.
I am reviewing a DTB version.
Wow! That was the longest prologue I've ever read!
Now I can go back to page 1 and start enjoying the book.
Many reviews that mention re-reads make sense now.
Few thoughts on the book, the writing, the characters, the shenanigans. No spoilers, just want to keep my outrage contained in the spoiler tags.
Tho I like it when authors dump you right in the middle of things and you have to start running the moment you hit the ground, this was not the case. I sure did do some legwork, but it was mostly bouncing up and down on the same spot, trying to get hold on my bearings. What? Who? Where? How? but most often than not WTF? were the questions popping into my head every other paragraph.
None of the places, politics, history and even characters, including one of the MCs, are explored enough for readers to fully comprehend the magnitude of events that the author is bestowing upon us until it's almost into the second half.
* Felix doesn't get to shine in the beginning of the book; hell, Felix doesn't get to be or do anything before all hell brakes loose. He doesn't get. to. be. Although SM keeps showering us with "Felix is This" and "Felix is That", all we see is a mad, wounded, bleeding dog instead of a shiny pretty thing, and its running, whimpering, to his abuser after being called "a whore". That one word and an unsubstantiated implication to go along does not justify Felix's violent overreaction. I am sure it's all perfect in MS's head, but she clearly prefers not to share any additional bits with us (and there are more to come).
Where is this person who thinks quick on his legs? SM's shiny version of Felix should handle it in no time flat, instead he is seeking out his uber abusive master he hasn't seen in years and loading on drugs like there is no tomorrow.
Felix the magnificent, "whose deadly wit is the terror of the court” my ass. Whiny little pup!
* The book is packed with too many elaborate names that mean nothing, people who never show up and have no impact on the events, places we never go to.
Not sure why French rev. calendar was used. To give an instant historical setting? Sorry, it didn't work. You can't use a calendar and a bunch of French sounding names to instantly set the stage, unless its real France and the time is set roughly during the very end of 18th/beginning of 19th centuries. Same goes for Troia/Greece. These tricks confuse, not clarify events or describe places or historical periods in fantasy fiction.
I jam fond of French history and literature, but even then it took me a few minutes to zoom in on Pluviôse, I simply did not expect it. It was one of my first in the long line of WTF moments. I am sure many of us remember the calendar, but then there are many who do not.
*Please, translate for the overwhelming majority of your non-russian speaking audience, what the hell Morskaiakrov means. Would it kill you to make a footnote: *Morskayakrov (russian) - Sea Blood. In current setting it implies that the family who operates the boat has sea in their blood. They were born into the trade and sea is their home and their life.
Please, quit making people feel inadequate and leaving them tongue-twisted and cross-eyed.
* Too many side stories. For what purpose? Ah.... of course. Page count. But they slow down the flow of the main story and leave loose ends all over the place.
What was the deal with the hidden attic at St. Crellifer's? Great escape route. Great way in. But was it utilized? I really hope it will come handy later, because as of right now it's an opportunity and reader's time wasted.
*POV switching. Two paragraphs here. Half a page there. Past Tense, Present Tense... I am looking forward (not!) to colons in The Virtu, that's on top of Italics and Mildmay's bad and inconstant speech antics.
*Would it greatly burden you to have a glossary of terms and names in the beginning of the book? If anything it will expand your page count.
*Please, mention your septads in the glossary of your quirks. Two septads and six is an amusing take on 20 questions, but - really? Really? Invent your own question game and leave decimals out.
OK, shutting up now. There is more in my updates if anyone cares.
This book made me angry. Felix, too, at the very end, with his lack of gratitude and common sense made me angry. BUT. The story held my interest. I am starting The Virtue today. That counts for something, I guess.
PS Shannon. I feel bad for him. Felix is one ungrateful piece of ...work.
Want to mention: inconsistencies, contradictions, messed up narrative (not always sure in which timeline I was), cliches and various other wtf-ery waiting for you on every page and in every paragraph. But, yaoi novel, what did I expect. I went for something naive and low quality - a quicky, if you please - and I got it for about 60%.
And then BIG guns came out.
NOT A SPOILER, BUT A SERIOUS WARNING (this is all in the book, not my words, except for "wtf", so keep your finger off that "flag" button):
The book took a turn for pure brutality: brutal rape, brutal beatings, brutal murder, brutal zombies, brutal weres, brutal winter, just effing brutal all around with a bouquet of taboos thrown in just for the shocker. It includes consuming human flesh, tearing off limbs, sucking out brains and eyes, ripping out "bowels", fisting, tearing up assholes (literally, of course), dancing on the bloody floor and stomping through the guts, watersports, piss enemas, knotting, implied incest (why not go all the way, wtf?), bestiality and manimal sex/rape (shifted form). I am sure I missed a few juicy bits while rolling my eyes. Please, don't hold it against me.
1 star for the first 60-65%, which still contained a story. The rest - super-massive black hole.
Thank you for your time.
PS Must mention: one of the scenes in the book reminds me strongly ofPrisoner in the Viewfinder. Particularly the scene on the cruise ship with Michael Arbatov, his uncle Yuri and Akihito. A young blond photographer, a pure soul, raped and abused by bad Russian homophobic mobsters.
I am one of those people who, when hearing about domestic abuse, ask "why can't she/he just leave"?
There are plenty of books out there describing the abuse itself, but very little in the terms of the reasoning or history behind it. This book, however short, manages to encompass not only the dynamics but each individual history, the reasoning, the emotions of both men involved. It even explains "but I love him/her" excuse most victims use to stay with the very person who treats them like crap. In the end, while hating Sky suffering, I felt sorry for Tate the Abuser. Really sorry, as in "please, let there be a sequel and may he find someone who will set him free".