Read May 2021
Recommended for fans action-packed UF
★ ★ ★ ★
My favorite installment in the series yet. It’s full of a variety of types of action with a little more emphasis on the human political sphere and less on the work of the gods or fae than in prior books. The focus is on regaining the McGuffin–I mean, Morrigan’s Staff–and in this installment they end up traveling to England and France.
What I enjoy about this series is the wide mix of folk and mythology, vaguely integrated into the normal world. Coupled with the action, it often means that what might be expected with a typical werewolf/vampire/Fae urban fantasy will turn into something else as soon as it mixes in Odin, Fenir and Hermes, along with ghouls and gargoyles. (I think Turner’s world-building has come down to belief=existence, except the Fae? I’m sketchy on the details, but to be fair, I think she is as well.) At any rate, take the mythos mash-up and mix it with a gay male romance and it resets almost all my normal genre irritations into something fun and distracting.
At the slight risk of spoilers, one of the better things about this installment is that it does not involve Patrick going off by himself as a sacrifice/pawn in some obviously doomed ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy. I mean, who does that? Who fights a known, sizeable group of others and thinks, ‘oh, the best possible choice here is for me to go by myself.’ (By book five in the series, you should have figured out the answer to that question–someone who has self-esteem issues). Turner has found a new set of strategies for Patrick to use. Or maybe he’s finally becoming convinced he has some value? Oh, wait; cancel that. Patrick totally does that in a completely predictable scene. But aside from that one time, I mean; otherwise, it’s all different.
Perhaps along that note, the emotional growth of our leads continues, but this time it is as Jono faces his past. It’s one of the ways in which this feels set apart from other stories, not using misunderstanding to create artificial problems between the two as major plot points. Or, conversely, the ‘I’m-hiding-it-to-protect-you’ plot point, which also drives me bonkers (you can see why I don’t do well with most paranormal).
One disappointing note is that the comic relief from Wade, the adolescent dragon, isn’t working as well. Comments around his bottomless stomach are literally almost the same through the entire book with only the type of food changing. So although he serves his moments of amuse bouche (particularly with cultural foods and cats), he is not used as well as he could be.
At any rate, it was fun and far more distracting than I actually wanted–I had hoped to just read off and on between other projects, and ended up sitting down and finishing it in three big bites.