Published: Self-Published (2017), eBook, 243pg
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Horror, Romance, GLBTQ
Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense...except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.
Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there's something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.
Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.
Let’s speed past the fact that I’ve been on a 1.5 year hiatus from blogging and have fallen out of writing for fun or even reading1 and let’s get right to the review:
This is the first in KJ Charles’ newest series Green Men; it’s a historical horror-fantasy romance set in interwar England, roughly connected to her book Simon Feximal. This first book is about a disgraced archaeologist (+1) and an uppercrust sarcastic fucker (+1), with a mysterious evil entity and malignant government forces providing much of the antagonism.
I really like the fantasy setting, particularly as it incorporates the older, scarier British paranormal elements of a similar kind to maybe The Dark is Rising and Well Witched. There are horror-ish elements, along the same lines as her other books like The Magpie Lord. It’s best parts are the two main characters, who have wonderfully fun personalities, and whose romance starts off on a bad foot and ends super smushy and lovely. It’s very nearly enemies-to-lovers, as they start off super suspicious and very nearly punch each other, but then they become friends and THEN the good stuff happens.
The mysterious evil entity and malignant government forces were not as successful as the romance part, I think. Spoilers2: The entity never actually shows up, just a lot of stuff starting to appear when he’s on his way– and so it felt a little incomplete, like if Jaws never actually showed up in his movie. The government force was intimidating except when they were entirely NOT, and then at the end they were basically punched in the nose and never did anything, actually. Both of these elements gave a purveying sense of dread, except at the end something went awry with the execution. In KJC’s Charm of Magpies series, for instance, there was a much more well-built sense of dread throughout each book, and the evil forces actually showed up entirely and were defeated. The evil forces in this book felt a little undone, particularly with how much they were built up in the beginning.
I think part of that had to do with the actual form of the evil entity, which I suppose doesn’t lend itself well to a Big Boss Battle kind of showdown. Oh well.
Despite my iffy feelings about the antagonists, I LOVED the rest of the book and I can’t wait to read the next one. Apparently it was originally going to be a (fairly standard) m/f romance, but KJC’s writing went awry and now it’s a f/f with a much more interesting couple and plot. Unfortunately, it’s not coming out until September 2018. 🙁
Read: April 8, 2018