I’ve been a fan of Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series from the first book Firelight. The author creates an intriguing world of 19th century London and adds original elements of the paranormal with just the right touch of steampunk. The writing is beautiful, evoking all of the senses. The featured couples are incredibly interesting and in the spirit of 19th century England, the sexual tension between the main characters is delectable. When these characters finally get together, they sizzle.
Shadowdance focuses on Ian Ranulf’s mysterious ex-valet Jack Talent and his love interest Mary Chase. Both characters had supporting roles in the previous books. Jack has been through a lot. The events of Winterblaze have deeply scarred him, both physically and mentally. Mary is a Ghost in a Machine, or a GIM, a person who has a clockwork heart and can leave her body and travel in spirit. This unlikely pairing is fraught with problems, namely that these two characters try to fight off their mutual attraction.
Jack and Mary are forced to work as a team in order to find the serial killer known as The Bishop of Charing Cross. Mary and Jack are hesitant to work together. Both are suspicious of each other. In fact, Mary suspects that Jack is the killer. There’s no insta-love here. These two bicker like little children. The banter and competitive nature between these two is quite entertaining. There is an underlying attraction, however they don’t trust each other and are quite annoyed that they have to work together.
A few words about the writing: I loved how the author was able to convey the atmosphere of London during the late 19th century. As I was reading the book, it felt as if I was right there in London, I could see, smell, and even hear the sounds of the city. Ms. Callihan can take a simple scene and add texture and dimension to it. I love the sense of humor that the author inserted into narrative and the cute double entendres which made me chuckle.
I’m a sucker for all things steampunk. I liked how the author integrated her own elements of steampunk into the story. In addition to the Ghosts in Machines, there were some freaky mechanical men as well as some other interesting devices.
The Darkest London series is a fun historical paranormal romance. There’s plenty of action, humor, and sexy times to keep you entertained. The books get better and better as you read on in the series. The books are best read in order starting with Firelight. Shadowdance is now my favorite and I’m very excited to hear that there will be more books in this series.
Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy of this book.
Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!