Monday, May 6, 2013

REVIEW: "Winterblaze" by Kristen Callihan

Winterblaze (Darkest London, #3)
Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan
(Darkest London #3)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository

For Ages 18+
Paranormal/Historical Romance
Grand Central Publishing -- February 26, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Borrowed from the Library

SUMMARY
Once blissfully in love . . .

Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy's secrets are revealed, leaving Winston's trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections . . .

Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test.

Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy's love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

FIRST LINE
Winston Lane could never recall the impetus that prompted him to leave the confines of his first class railway compartment and step back onto the platform.

MY THOUGHTS
Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series is really starting to make a name for itself in the worlds of historical and paranormal romance.  I liked Firelight and really liked Moonglow so I was excited to read Winterblaze to see how where the series was going next.  I also was intrigued by the characters of Poppy and Winston whose marriage was taking an important turn at the end of Moonglow.

The last time readers saw Poppy and Winston Lane they were a couple that had been married for more than ten years and were reeling from the reveal of some pretty damaging secrets.  Winston, a disinherited second son and former police inspector, was recovering from an almost fatal werewolf attack when he discovered that his bookshop-owning wife was an elemental who held a high position in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals.  This caused a major rift in their marriage and they went their separate ways for a short amount of time.

Winterblaze has two stories going on simultaneously.  One side deals with Win and Poppy's attempts to fix their marriage and deal with a nasty supernatural mystery while the other utilizes flashbacks to show how Win and Poppy met and fell in love almost a dozen years ago.  I loved this style of storytelling and how Callihan managed to balance the two storylines with each other.

I really liked both Win and Poppy as characters.  Winston is a noble's second son who fell in love with Poppy at first sight and did everything in his power to make her his wife even if it resulted in being disinherited by his father.  He was a determined and intelligent man who adored his wife and his job as an inspector and is dealing with the fact that his entire life may have been a lie.  This is especially damaging to his ego after everything he gave up to be with Poppy.

Poppy took a bit of time to get to know due to her position in the Society and as the older sister of Miranda (Firelight) and Daisy (Moonglow).  She has had to keep most of her feelings in check and has a difficult time revealing them to anyone even her husband.  But, Callihan does a good job of showing the more vulnerable side of Poppy through both the flashbacks and her current interactions with Winston.

It can be difficult for writers to develop a romance around a troubled marriage scenario because it requires readers to understand where the couple is coming from and know that there is more to be hashed out before they get their happily ever after.  But, this book does a good job of showing how Win and Poppy fell in love and how their love has changed (for the better) over the course of the story.  Their impressions of one another had changed over the years, but their love still remains strong.

There are also many secondary characters that provide the background of Winterblaze.  Readers get to spend a bit of time revisiting previous couples from the Darkest London series, but not as much as I would have liked.  The characters that really stand out in this book are shifter Jack Talent and GIM Mary Chase.  These are two people that have been intrigued by each other since their first meeting in Moonglow, but come from different worlds and aren't too happy with their untimely attraction.  I love the way Callihan developed their relationship in this book and can't wait to see what happens to them in Shadowdance.

There is a ton of action and suspense in this book, mostly related to a supernatural threat on Win's life and what type of connection that threat has to Poppy's past.  I was really not expecting some of the twists and turns and that kept me intrigued.  The supernatural aspect of this series is getting more complicated, but it written with a sense of purpose which I admire as a reader.

Overall, I found Winterblaze to be a thrilling and romantic installment in what is shaping out to be a fantastically creative series.  I do think it could be read as a stand-alone due to the use of flashbacks and Callihan's explanations, but I would recommend starting the series at the beginning in order to fully appreciate the way the supernatural world is slowly being revealed.

***4.5 STARS***

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Firelight
2. Moonglow
3. Winterblaze
4. Shadowdance (Coming 2013)

AUTHOR INFORMATION

2 comments:

  1. Great Review! I haven't read anything from this author yet, but apparently I really need to. Putting on my TBR

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    Replies
    1. They are so good and so different from everything else I've read! Callihan is a force to be reckoned with. Thanks for commenting!

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