Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Jordan L. Hawk
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/11/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Historical, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal
Between his father’s sudden—and rather suspicious—generosity, and his own rash promise to help Christine plan her wedding, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough to worry about. But when the donation of a mysterious codex to the Ladysmith Museum draws the attention of a murderous cult, Whyborne finds himself in a race against time to unlock its secrets first.
Griffin has a case of his own: the disappearance of an historic map, which quickly escalates to murder. Someone is sacrificing men in dark rituals—and all the clues lead back to the museum.
With their friends Christine and Iskander, Whyborne and Griffin must discover the cult’s true goal before it’s too late. For dark forces are afoot at the very heart of the museum, and they want more than Whyborne’s codex.
They want his life.
The shadows of the museum seemed to swallow his words, as if taking our secret into themselves, even as I took him into me. I gasped, the scars on my right hand pulling as I gripped the desk.
Ival & Grif are at it again and they’re as steamy and expressive and endearing as ever. Whyborne’s strength and power, he carries them with greater ease, yet still feels insufficient, even insignificant. This is particularly true regarding his father. Griffin is as smooth and commanding as one would expect, reading his Ival (swoon) like a book and taking every advantage. Together, they’re one of the best duos in literature for me, a feeling that continues in this story.
Oh and Whyborne’s talent for unintentional humor is baaaaaaaaaack! Poor fellow, he just doesn’t know how funny he can be. Course, if he did, Griffin wouldn’t get the opportunity to let that sly grin appear now and then. 😉
Considering this is book seven in this series, you can expect to read some things from here on out that would be spoilers for anyone has yet to start these adventures that all began in Widdershins. There, you’ve been warned. 🙂
The mystery is afoot! As is the upcoming Christine-Iskander wedding. Iskander’s character is well ensconced in this world and this merry band of reluctant adventurers. He’s the kind of man who is an equal match to Christine, as well as complimentary. He’s definitely the only one who can keep up with her. He’s paid his dues up to this point and, interestingly, it’s now difficult to imagine this anything other than a quartet: Ival, Grif, Christine, and Iskander.
The pebble of fear never leaves Whyborne nor Griffin. The pebble that could send ripples of ruin all through their lives if the truth about their relationship is ever discovered beyond their family. For all of their success, shared history, and unstoppable love, fear of arrest, and what would surely follow, is still a part of their everyday existence. The laws in this sense are not on their side.
As with the previous books, the main plots and mysteries are new, not a continuation from the last. Despite this, you would (and should!) want to read the series in order. Besides the obvious reason of yeah!books, and ok yeah major character and relationship progression, you’ll miss some of the references that do connect each book, including this one. Two of the best examples come in the forms of Whyborne’s mother and sister. Jussayin’. Fabulous.
Family dynamics are strong in this one. Whyborne and his father, Whyborne and Griffin, both of them with Christine, Whyborne’s Ketoi mother and sister and how everyone interacts with them – there’s a lot going on here, a lot of moving parts, and most of the are imperfect human beings, or otherwise, trying to work through the past, present, and what they want the future to be. Oh and we can’t forget Saul, the cat.
Some cross-species humor for your snippet-loving pleasure:
”Persephone, I have a request to make.”
“Oh?” Her tentacles suddenly unfurled, darting for my head. I ducked, but felt them across my scalp. “Is it to – how do humans say? – style your hair?”
“Stop it!” I batted at the tendrils. Persephone had a fascination with my hair, particularly when it came to vexing me about it. She laughed gleefully. Griffin, the traitor, laughed as well.
Ah, Whyborne, I love when your feathers are predictably and lovingly ruffled.
As a couple, Whyborne and Griffin are at their best in this book. They are quicker to communicate and not assume. They pool their strengths, relying on one another, allowing themselves to lean on each other when one is weak or in need. Their ability to read each other has progressed, their partnership providing support, excitement, and joy. The maturing of their relationship has been beautiful to experience throughout this series. Another benefit to reading it from the beginning.
I figured out one of the components of the mystery early on, spotting one of the baddies. However, the twist? Holy moly! The twist that followed that same thread was a total surprise. Not the function but the form it took! It also made me get all grrrr, my protective streak coming out, particularly for Whyborne.
Speaking of, the focus of this story is on the characters. Instead of a far flung location or universe-sized supernatural force taking center stage, the cast is the star, granted top billing. This is an example of how good Hawk is at mixing it up from book to book. In particular, I’m really liking the roles Iskander and Miss Parkhurst are getting to play.
On the flipside, I was dubious about one particular character’s seeming easy acceptance of their “new” reality. My only guess is that maybe we’ll learn more about them in a future story? Otherwise, there’s not enough of an explanation as to their reactions.
One of my all-time favorite characters? Hands down, that’s Persephone, Whyborne’s sister. Her personality is fantastic and she gets treated to wonderful development and progress in this story. She’s a mix of some of Whyborne’s traits and some of their mother’s. I was grinning every time she was on page.
The final quarter of this story is non-stop, with twists and discoveries and questions, and ‘oh my, how in the world will they make it out of this?’ type exclamations. This isn’t to say that the first 75% is slow because it is not, at all. A good pace is held throughout with organic ebbs and flows. It all leads up to a finale that reads like a beloved action movie, with dastardly deeds, humor, gore, and so much more.
Jordan Hawk has done it again. In book seven! Please don’t let this be the last. Somehow I doubt it is. 😉
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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