A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell.
Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn't expect it to turn up angry.
Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude... and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.
Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn't the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.
My friend Memory, who is a total book enabler, talked a lot of positive talk about The Magpie Lord earlier this month. I stared at the cover for a few days and then finally took the plunge and bought it once my other friend, Jenny (also a book enabler1) started talking it up, too. Turns out I am very susceptible to peer pressure!
Current feelings about this book can be accurately represented with this gif:
HOLY HELL was this book fun! It has a lot of things I like in it, all wrapped up in a big ribbon of YAY. It has magic and romance and mystery and FANTASTIC WRITING! A historical setting! A grumpy valet sidekick! Terrible family history leading to misunderstandings leading to SEXUAL TENSION leading to teaming up to fight the baddies! Sexytimes that do not interrupt the flow of the story!
Sometimes there are these books that you love and you can’t really articulate why you love them so much, y’know? Beyond “it was good,” anyway. But let me try:
I loved the story and the characters and the writing. The world-building was just the right amount to establish how this magical Victorian world is different from ours, without going into SO much detail that it got boring. The pacing was super fast– this isn’t that long of a book, actually, at about 200 pages– but it never felt rushed. Just exciting!
You know a book has killer pacing when you a) can’t stop screaming at your ereader while b) flicking the pages forward faster and faster. I basically died, is what I’m saying. The Magpie Lord killed me.
The plot was just as important as the romance/sexytimes parts, too, which I very much appreciated. Turns out I am not much into dom/sub kind of romances, but it was so light that I didn’t get scared off. And I loved the characters SO MUCH.
Stephen is such a woobie, though he’s the kind who doesn’t know he’s one. (I can’t resist a good woobie character, especially when they refuse to sit around feeling sorry for themselves.) Lucien is not a woobie, though he has a tragic backstory which makes him somewhat alluring, and I liked that he has a job (even if it’s illegal).
Lucien and Stephen together— they kick major butt (literally) and it is SUPER ROMANTIC. More butt-kicking couples, please!
I will DEFINITELY be reading the second book soon and I can’t wait for the third, which comes out October 28th of this year!
Read: September 22, 2014
- She also has a podcast! Go listen to her podcast, it is awesome. ↩