Sunday, November 24, 2013

Early Review of Shadowdance (Darkest London #4) by Kristen Callihan

A year ago someone starting killing people in London, ripping out their hearts and severing their spinal cords and leaving their branded corpses on the plinth of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square where it faced Charing Cross. Witnesses of a questionable backgrounds claimed to have seen a person wearing a long black robe flee the area. For that reason the killer was dubbed by the newsboys as the Bishop of Charing Cross.

Jack Talent had been assigned to the case, but has had little success in finding the killer, and his spotless reputation is now being called into question. Two years ago he'd been captured by demons. He'd been rescued, but not before he'd been tortured, marked and humiliated. Mary Chase, under the guise of being his knew partner, has been assigned the task of finding out if Jack is somehow involved in the killings. Unbeknownst to the general public, who know nothing of the supernatural world, the victims of these violent crimes had, until recently, been an assortment of raptor and sanguis demons. Could Jack be out for revenge? If so, why are some of the more recent victims turning out to be shapeshifters?

To complicate matters more, Mary and Jack don't care the least bit for one another. They're practically always at each others throats. There is a fine line between love and hate and in this book, one of those lines is about to be crossed. That is, if they can survive.


This is the fourth book of the Darkest London Series. I would not recommend diving head first into this one if you haven't read any of the previous books. I feel a newbie to the series may feel a little lost in the wonderful world Ms. Callihan created. I'd recommend reading the second and third books, 'Moonglow' and 'Winterblaze' before reading Shadowdance', otherwise you'll miss some of the essential background to this story.

Jack is a shapeshifter who can change into multiple forms. He has feelings for Mary that he wishes he didn't. It's those feelings that allowed him to be captured by demons two years ago. Mary has no clue as to why Jack appears to hate her so much, and knows he wasn't happy that she played a major role in his rescue. Both Mary and Jack work for the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals (aka SOS) as regulators (agents) who try to keep the supernatural world a secret from the general public.

Mary is a Ghost in the Machine, aka GIM. GIMs are essentially people who have died and been brought back to life and now possess the ability to disengage from their bodies and walk around in their spiritual form. As you can imagine, this talent is very useful in spying on others, but leaves their bodies vulnerable until they repossess it.

In 'Shadowdance', we finally get the back story to Mary's and Jack's animosity toward one another. Additionally, we learn a lot about Jack and Mary that we weren't privy to in the previous books. Some of the reveals are quite something. I loved watching these two finally open up to one other and reveal their true feelings. 

What I love most about the Darkest London series is that Ms.Callihan packs a lot into each of her books. They are not lighthearted fluff reads, but rather have well thought out plots with emotionally engaging characters combined with a lot of action and a fast pace. The story has a Gothic setting with supernatural beings who sport superhero type powers and/or clockwork mechanism of the steampunk variety. It has the feel of Cassandra Claire's Infernal Devices series, but with the romance setting cranked up to high. Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. Another fine story by Ms. Callihan. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

      Order of the series:

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