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.
Why authors feel it's OK to introduce a nosy, pushy, inconsiderable and overall annoying female character aka "best friend" into a perfectly good if a tad slow story? To compensate for angst? Because it's not working. All I am thinking about right now is how many stars I should take off.
I hope it won't cross Ben's mind to introduce Dani to Malik.
While Alec is an overgrown, clueless child, Morgan is a lying, pushy weasle with a sharp set of claws he is desperately trying to sink into Alec.
Both characters are chaotic and prone to contradictions. Alec is petrified he'll end up in hell because of his "madness", but has no problem doing other stupid things that might land him in that particular place. The whole Penny/Morgan's sister story is so messy, that I am afraid to say more, lest the whole thing sucks me down like quicksand and I end up with a small novel for a review.
From the moment we meet the little fox, the story becomes predictable, the lies and excuses transparent. The plot calls for Alec to remain in the dark, but to the readers the whole affaire is blatantly clear, which makes it a frustrating read.
When Morgan came out to Alec, the scene was so anticlimactic I almost DNF-ed right there and then. Actually, to be honest, I did stop reading and started skimming, doing my best impersonation of Dr. Spencer Reid.
Sorry, but I can't give this more than 2 stars.