I sincerely haven’t been enthralled with a series like Kristen Callihan’s “Darkest London” in a long, long time. “Winterblaze” just continues to trailblaze the series with a unique blend of historical romance, supernatural elements, and a charming blend of action, humor, and tense stakes.
I think the one element that worked against this book might’ve had to do with pacing, especially considering the frequent trades of flashbacks that peppered the early part of the book. While I understood the motive, I think that made this particular book much harder to get through, for frequency. Other than that factor, this book was made of win, as it builds the tension higher with respect to the overarching story surrounding the Elemental sisters, with Poppy taking the reins in this particular story.
Winston Lane has left his wife, Poppy, of 14 years after being brutally injured in “Moonglow” and learning that his wife has kept a significant secret from him about her supernatural powers and respective roles. But it turns out that Winston’s not without secrets of his own as a demon chases after him to collect, and Poppy proceeds to persue him in order to save her husband. The tensions rise between them off and on with a number of revelations, but the narrative also shows them reconciling in some very steamy ways. There’s another parallel story running between this as Jack Talent and Mary Chase join up to assist Poppy and Winston, but end up in a crossfire of their own (especially with respect to what happens to Jack in this book – yikes. No doubt that’ll have significant bearings for the book to follow this.)
Despite some points where the narrative drags a little, the payoff for the revelations is well worth seeing unfold, and I’ll admit I was surprised by a number of them, as well as reading eagerly as the novel ran at full throttle towards its climax. Very nice touch of action and outwitting smarts in the conclusion of events, and it does bring together some important threads established in this series thus far. Poppy and Winston were fun to watch in lighter moments, and there were more than enough “cool” scenes to watch in the supernatural side of this narrative.
Overall, I really enjoyed the ride, and look forward to more from Callihan’s narratives here, especially in the upcoming “Shadowdance” to see Jack and Mary’s story.
Overall score: 4/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Forever/Grand Central Publishing.