Evernight (Darkest London #5)
Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.
Love must cast aside the shadows . . .
Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.
Themes: historical, paranormal, demons, vampires
Rating: 4.5 stars
Every once in a while, I come across a truly great series, one that is completely original and grabs my attention from the get-go, and the Darkest London series is one of these series. Kristen Callihan has the ability to take you back into time, but still blow your mind with the alternate view of “history” she uses to enhance her characters and drive her plots. I never imagined when I ran across this series just how many twists and turns it would take and how great it would truly be. Whether dealing with magick, demons, murder, mayhem, love, romance, or family drama, there seems to be nothing that Callihan can’t address and make magical. This story picks up right where the previous story left off, taking us through the changes Will has undergone since his captivity and the trauma that has turned Holly into a reclusive and fearful woman. I was thrilled to see them work through their problems and find a way to happiness, and am just dying to know what might be coming next.
Will and Holly are both dealing with the fall out of their kidnappings, though they certainly both will never be the same. Will has become a monster, with no control over his mind and a desire for revenge that shapes the madness that he suffers. When he crashes back into Holly’s life, intent on enacting his revenge against her, he didn’t realize he would actually be finding a cure to the disease eating away at his body and mind. Holly is beyond surprised when she is faced with the changes she unintentionally wrought on Will under the duress of the demon that had captured them both. Determined to find a solution to their dilemma while keeping Will sane and safe, Holly finds a temporary solution, but unfortunately it requires keeping Will close and the danger he poses to her heart and soul are even greater than the ones that he presents to her body. Together they battle to defeat an unlikely enemy, find a permanent solution to Will’s troubles, and keep them both alive, but the more closely they work the more the passion between them become undeniable. But the truth of their predicament becomes even more terrifying when their true enemy is uncovered, and there is no way they can defeat the fate driving their lives without the ultimate sacrifice… unless they can simply change their fates.
Will is a unique and intense paradox, a man driven by his base nature, but with a deep and loving heart once he embraces the truth he has buried in his heart for decades. The physical changes to his body are the least of his worries as the metal that is overtaking him begins to encroach on his mind, leaving him a maddened beast more often than not, putting all those around him, even his closest friends, into the ultimate danger. Keeping Holly close at hand to defeat the metal’s spread is a temporary fix, but he’s willing to help her and keep her alive so she can find a cure for him. Only when he is faced with the truth of really having her so close he begins to understand that he needs her for so much more. While Will was an ass more often than not, his passionate nature, strangely heroic behavior and intense belief in Holly’s ability to save him make him a perfect, if slightly tarnished, white knight to keep Holly from falling into the reclusive and slightly mad tendencies of her bloodline.
Holly is an intriguing character, mainly because she is the total antithesis of every heroine of historical romance I have ever read. She is hard as nails, very scientifically minded and full of spunk, not something you’d usually find in a woman of this era. Kidnapped and taken into the lab of a demon, forced to experiment and find a way to increase the demon's power, she never imagined she would be faced with the aftermath of her experiment. Will pulls at the heart she has always denied and kept buried under scientific inquiry. Her own sensual nature has been squashed for so long that she isn’t even sure she knows how to embrace it at this point, but there is no denying the basic chemistry or the more unexplainable emotions that are ever present between them. The magical skill that keeps Will in her immediate care is one that I have only heard snippets about in the past and would love to see in person, but the most important of her skills is her ability to imagine and think outside the box as she is designing. Her ability to focus on her science, to the detriment of even her own health, makes her truly passionate side, one finally uncovered by Will, even more surprising and enjoyable to see her embracing. All in all Holly was a great character that finally reached her full potential only with the help of her true mate and her perfect match.
The originality of this story and the characters that lived through it give Evernight, the edge that most stories never have and the softness of exposing two vulnerable hearts and teaching them to love together. The enemies and dangers are vast, the science just realistic enough, the magick sometimes terrifying and sometimes beyond even my considerable understanding, but at the core the story remains the story of two hearts finding a way to defeat all enemies and find each other. Holly has lived her life on her terms for so long, never taking in to account her innately human need to connect, but when she finally is brutally reminded she makes those connections quickly and irrevocably. Will has been badly damaged, but he is not without hope of redemption. As they explore their new connection and work together to find a way to win all their battles, there is no way one can overlook the need they have for one another on several levels. The passion between them was intense and heated, and the love that develops is just as much so. But arguably, the most important of their weapons is their stubbornness and determination to find a way to win and have a future together. I am wondering just whose book will be next but I have no doubts I will love it as much as Evernight and all the others that have come before. Way to go Kristen!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.