Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. True, Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician’s disappearing act bothers Crane more than it should. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, Crane knows a smart man would hop the first ship bound for China. But something unexpectedly stops him. His heart. Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to. The rats are closing in, and something has to give...Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
So remember how much I loved The Magpie Lord? Take that love and apply it to A Case of Possession, because it was just as good a read!
All the great stuff from the first book is in here– great characters1, and interesting setting/worldbuilding, fun (yet scary) magic stuff, tricksy mystery, etc. etc.
It’s not just a copy-cat of The Magpie Lord, though. For one thing, there are Chinese vampires instead of evil wizards. Also, things are complicated from being in the city rather than the country: there’s a larger cast2, for one, and people are more apt to stick their noses into things that don’t concern them. Which means blackmail and also snide comments about people’s sexual/romantic proclivities.
This kind of historical accuracy is excruciating because it can go SO WRONG. It could lead to melodrama and ridiculous characters and scenes not out of place on the crappier sort of soap operas. But KJ Charles handled it really well. Crane and Stephen have a lot of potholes on their relationship road, and they hit quite a lot of them during the course of the book. And then they worked through them by talking about it like adults!
I LOVE IT when couples work through problems together. Especially when it’s done in a way which doesn’t ring false– drama for drama’s sake is never good, and luckily that sort of nonsense is avoided here. Crane and Stephen have issues they need to work through together, and they do it. Or start to, at least!
Having relationship troubles (when done right) is so very satisfying, because it gives the relationship/the characters in the relationship so much more depth. People IRL don’t just meet someone and then live HEA, and I expect the same of any romance leads (in a series, anyway).
Also, the relationship troubles meant Crane pined a lot for Stephen, which is good. More pining in romances, please!
Guess what? I liked A Case of Possession so much I went ahead and pre-ordered the third book, which came out Oct. 28th! It’s waiting on my Kindle for me right now. Woohoo!
Read: October 19, 2014
I haven’t preordered a book in over a year! I like preorders; if you do them early enough they’re end up like surprise presents you bought for yourself. What’s the last book you preordered?
- including Stephen’s magic partner, who I was very excited to meet. She is snarky and hard as steel, but with a marshmallow center. Love her! ↩
- which at times felt a little too large, but I think that’s just compared to The Magpie Lord, which was very focused on Crane and Stephen and had a very small cast. ↩