What I’m Reading: Issue 1

Okay, I’ve been debating on something to post here. Obviously, there can’t be sales going all the time or things would just get dull. Right? Right. So I want to do something a little different. I want to talk about things I’m reading right now. I’m not going to rate things I’m reading; if I’m discussing them at all, it’s because I’m enjoying them.

Darkest London series
by Kristen Callihan

Firelight: Darkest London Book 1

I’ve been reading the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan for the last few days. I had picked up the first book, Firelight, on a whim because I had enough Discover Rewards points to get a free book on Amazon. The 4th book in the series series had been recced by some of the steampunk communities I’m on. Honestly, there isn’t a lot of steampunk to the series. Yes, it takes place in Victorian times and there are fantastic elements… but it’s more fantasy than science fiction. There is the whole secret society thing going on, which does give vague steampunk leanings, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call the series itself “steampunk”.

Actually, saying it’s fantasy romance is even a bit of a misnomer. It’s a very paranormal series. The first book has a firestarter for a heroine and a man who is slowly turning into a demon as a hero. The second book, the hero is a lycan (not a werewolf, because werewolves are what lycans become when they lose control of the wolf and are no longer men) and the heroine has abilities that I will leave a secret, because it’s a pretty big spoiler for the end of the book. The third book, the one I’m on now, there is a lot more on this Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals. There are demons, ice witches, shapeshifters, and body jumpers (my best explanations for the GIMs: Ghosts in the Machine).

Like I said, I’m on Book 3, Winterblaze. I read Firelight in one sitting over the span of a few hours. Once I was almost done with it, I went ahead and ordered the rest of the series that is out right now: Moonglow, Winterblaze, and Shadowdance, the last of which was the one that was recced by the steampunk community and got me interested in the series in the first place. I got the books in the mail yesterday, and I finished Moonglow in my brief awake period yesterday. I’m about halfway through Winterblaze now. I will be taking it (if I don’t finish it tonight) and Shadowdance with me to read tomorrow.

I also picked up the two e-book short stories in the series. The first, Ember, is pretty much the cut scenes from Firelight. The second, Entwined, takes place between books three and four, so I’m waiting to read it until I’ve finished Winterblaze. I will admit to the fact I’m looking forward to reading Book Four, the one originally recced, Shadowdance. The two main character, Mary Chase and Jack Talent, have appeared in previous books (Moonglow and Winterblaze for both of them), and I’m interested to hear their stories.

The author is pretty productive too. The first book, Firelight, came out in January 2012, the second in July 2012, the third in February 2013, the fourth in December 2013, and the fifth is due out in August 2014. I’m in serious envy of her writing speeds here.

And that… was a babble. I suppose the long and short of it is that I’m happy having a new paranormal romance series to read since the last one I enjoyed jumped the shark in a pretty serious way (not naming names here). This one is pretty well self-contained, with established rules and boundaries that have so far been respected. We haven’t hit upon a single overpowered character as far as I’ve gotten, and the characters themselves are interesting. There is even a background character, Billy Finger, who might upstage a lot of the scenes he’s in, but Callihan doesn’t let him hog the spotlight. She seems to have done her research on Victorian history, slang, and mannerisms, which is a huge plus in my mind.

All in all, if you like Victorian romance or paranormal romance, give the series a try. Let me know what you think.