Series: Darkest London #7
Author: Kristen Callihan
Format: Paperback & eBook, 336pgs
Published: June 28, 2016 by Forever
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she's managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she's received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one. St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world. So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla. For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.
While everyone calls St. John Evernight "Sin" he once had a childhood friend see him as a "Saint" instead. After years of being apart, Layla and Sin are about to have a reunion. With destinies that were decided long before they were born, these two are going to prove that fate is only what we make it.
"Right." Layla stood. "Precisely. Demons and werewolves and soul-sucking fiends." Her hands were clasped, knuckles white. "Simply another normal day in London."
A normal day for the seventh addition to Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series which has elements of historical, paranormal, romance, and steampunk. Layla is the daughter of a former villainess in the series, Lena, and has no knowledge of the very real things that go bump in the night. Layla is starting to come into powers and as a very rare breed called "Damnation" her powers are coveted. Layla was a strong character with her forceful personality and will to fight, I really liked her. However, the author had her going in completely blind to all the creatures and storylines from the previous books and never really helps her out; if I was Layla, I would have demanded at least a cliff notes version. Having Layla clueless and unknown to the Darkest London world kept her on the outside of the overall story for me, even when she was the center focus for most of the story threads.
Archer studied Sin, who was tense and sullen once more. "I know well there are things of which a man cannot speak. Mistakes that take him down dark roads he cannot escape."
Sin, our hero, we have seen before and has a solid footing in the world. As a former secret spy for the fae queen Mab, his sisters (Miranda - Firelight, Daisy - Moonglow, Poppy - Winterblaze) have frozen him out of their lives. When last we saw him, he had finally broken free of Mab and now he is working with Augustus, Final Judgment and the father of the S.O.S. (Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals). Readers have seen Sin forged in the fire and his broody, moody, and not feeling good enough for Layla has real roots, which makes his character heartbreaking and darkly sexy.
A blast of heated air brushed over them as his jaw bunched. "So help me…" He took a breath. "You keep pushing me Layla, and eventually I will push back."
She took a step closer, her satin skirts swirling around his legs, the tips of her breasts nearly touching his chest. "So push."
Our main couple is Sin and Layla and on the back of Sin's pain and longing, you'll strive for this couple to come together. There are a few reminisces of when they were children to help show their bond but even though it seems their attachment had already been created off page, I really enjoyed how they interacted together. They had a true partnership, never once did I feel one was dominate or submissive to the other, they each had their low and high moments. Layla had to poke and prod Sin at times to help him overcome his emotions of not feeling good enough for her but this only created more spark and burn for their relationship.
There is a secondary couple consisting of Augustus and Lena that provides another romance but essentially is a broader means to help the author wrap up the series. While Augustus and Lena made appearances throughout the series, they were always to the sidelines. Here we find out that they were the puppeteers all along. With a great look from mainly Augustus, we see how as Final Judgment he can somewhat see into the future and how he manipulated and set-up all the chess pieces, our characters, to get to the moments in this story. It's a nice way for newcomers to get glimpses into previous storylines and the different supernaturals but mainly a fabulous way for series readers to revisit and gain better understanding to storylines and characters. Lena and Augustus' long, suffering, and enduring relationship was also a nice other side of the coin to Sin and Layla's fresh and young one.
And as they took to the night, Sin had to grin. A strange new world indeed.
This being the final book of the series, I did feel there were at times that the wholeness of it eclipsed Sin and Layla's relationship (as a reader of the series, I didn't mind), even though I also missed all the varied supernatural character appearances and visits to their haunts. This focused on wrapping up by not singularly concentrating on characters but the overreaching of Augustus. There are enough tidbits given about the Darkest London world, which newcomers could enjoy this book with focusing on Sin and Layla's relationship, but I would still highly suggest you start from the beginning to get the fullest enjoyment. Plus, the whole series is fantastic (Evernight was my favorite). Whether it was Damnation and Judgment having their epic battle, Sin learning to love himself enough in order to allow himself to love Layla, Augustus and Lena finding their way, or a past hero and heroine taking a new path in life, I was captivated by this story and world. This is the last of the series, and was a great wrap-up, but I can't stop myself from hoping that the ending leaves way for this "strange new world" to come to life in a future (perhaps contemporary?) series by this author.
Suggested Reading Order:
Ember (Darkest London, #0.5)
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