I hope the author forgives me for my speculations, but I am just sharing my personal impression of the book.
It seems to me the story was started some time ago, like a decade or two. When the author came back to it, tho, she did with gusto and somehow propelled the time period from regency or maybe even early 20th century to 2013 without a single glance back. All that I like had ended with Chapter 12. Chapter 13 welcomed us with a very sudden and very vicious addiction to cell phones, texts, voicemail and turning the damn thing on and off. Energy bars, credit cards, modern technology and modern jargon (started with "dunno") is suddenly all over the place.
Everyone is high on caffeine and sugar, hence, I assume, all the giggling, chuckling, laughing, smiling and so on (thesaurus was thoroughly exploited in this story). MC did a 180 and turned into a complete gigglepuss by 60%.
Then, there is all that food and clothes. The author is like a vice, she latches onto a subject and can't let go even after a new shiny pops up :(
Consort/Master dynamics, inappropriate and overused crude dirty jokes appeared to be all wrong to me. Maybe I am overly PC, but I cringed most of the time when Julian stepped in to discuss his responsibilities as a consort. Why is he even male? O.o Alex's "mounds" got pretty old and overused pretty fast; several characters managed to come off as sexist as**oles.
I started the book looking forward to a mystery. I got over my disappointment on that matter very early in the book and decided to enjoy fantasy of manners, magic and The Courtship instead. Chapter 13 (yes, I know, I already mentioned it), disappointed me again. The Courtship stopped. The old charm disappeared. Modern world and modern jargon with multiple new inane characters, whose names mostly start with J, took over.
Means of communication: first it was just a messenger or an occasional phone call, then it was cell-cell-cell, and t-h-e-n, because Alex/Julian relationship is not cheesy enough, we got Horace, The Messenger bird, who carried Alex's and Julian's letters in his chest where its heart supposed to be.
I did enjoy bits of a story, finding the courtship and magic fascinating, too bad it was given up for clothes, food, drinks and endless empty banter. Is ever a revised, well edited version comes out, I will give it a second chance. For now I can only give it one star.
A very quick read. Cut out headache-inducing bickering and meaningless dialog and the story shrinks from 224 pages to about 124. Cut out rivers of blood and gun-waving, and you get it down to about 70 in no time. Then tune out the descriptions of posh surroundings and you are looking at mere 60. Pull out and burn the bush that the author beats around instead of moving the story forward and you can get maybe 40 pages of the actualstory.
I am not going to review that story, just want to mention that yet another creature went through pain and suffering and was almost destroyed emotionally and physically so we could read about Arman and his guns.
After years of being imprisoned, used and abused by his father, Holden is finally settling down in Stillwater, a small New England town. He's been on the run for a long time, trying to cover his tracks by changing his name and moving from one place to another as far away from his home state as possible.
A happy protective bubble of Stillwater seems like heaven. It has a few quirks, of course, but which town does not? Everyone knows everybody and people are mostly friendly. That is until Holden meets Daniel, a local vet (who is a veteran). An injured cat and the severity of the injury make Holden a catnapper when he refuses to surrender the poor kitty for euthanization and flees the clinic.
Daniel knows what Holden is and confronts him shortly after catnapping. From that moment on the town secrets and the mysterious creatures start coming out of the woodwork full force. Every time you turn the page, there is a surprise. Every time you think you finally know who/what the person is, you are proven wrong. Things, people, situations turn and twist; there is humor, there are pockets of darkness and despair; there is an amazing diversity of characters (not going into details on the characters' subject, cause - spoilers! ;))
I could not get enough of the book and really wanted to give it five stars, but here is this:
- it ends smack in the middle of things. I can't even call it a cliffhanger, more like the author roughly separated the manuscript in two without much thought.
- the story lost its momentum around 80%. Instead of fast paced it became stagnant with characters sitting around in one spot for weeks, waiting for the next full moon, reflecting, eating pizza and even (finally) having sex, since there is literally nothing else to do. But it looks like things are going to pick up with a vengeance in book two :D
Otherwise, an excellent read and pure pleasure :) Highly recommended