Saturday, August 30, 2014

SUNNY - ARC BOOK REVIEW: "Evernight" by Kristen Callihan

Once the night comes . . .

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.

Evernight is book 5 in the Darkest London series.

I started reading this series after the 2014 RT Convention.  I attended a session where Kristen Callihan was on the panel and I won a copy Shadowdance. Having never read any of the books, I decided to start from book 1. I quickly became immerse in the world of shifters, elementals, demons and other immortals.  But more than anything, I became enamored with the stories. Kristen Callihan has a way of writing deeply emotional stories with suspenseful plots.  Getting so involved in their humanness, I don’t think of the characters as paranormals. Evernight is no different.

I would rank this story only second to Shadowdance (which I would nominate as one of the top three books I’ve read this year). I’m not sure I will ever recover from the despair I felt over Jack’s story.  This story also starts with a hero who experiences an excruciating past. Will is desperate to get revenge against the person he thinks is responsible for his current condition.  For me, although Will is a strong character, it is Holly that is unforgettable. She is human with an elemental gift over metal.  She is an inventor, an engineer, a mechanic succeeding in 19th Century, male dominated world. She is a member of the SOS (The Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals). As Q is to James Bond, Holly Evernight is to the SOS. What makes Holly’s character unforgettable is that she is the stoic one in the relationship. Will is the passionate one. As a sanguis demon, “bonds were emotional ties that wrapped about a sanguis’s soul quickly and dug in deep.” Holly grew up in a household in which she was loved, but didn’t necessarily feel a lot of affection.  She holds people and relationships at arms length.  She can legitimately sequester herself in her lab and others would not necessarily know she is hiding. She is not mercurial, but rather slow and steady, methodical and process driven.  It is Will who brings her to life, shows her joy, helps her live. Ah, so satisfying.

One thing that strikes me about this book is how superbly the author builds suspense. There are multiple story lines developing and, unlike some other stories I’ve read recently, one thread does not take away from the other.  The narrative is delicately balanced.

This also has one of my favorite endings in any book.  First, I love the look-across-the-room instant. It is heartbreaking.  Secondly, there is a classic meet-at-the-train-station-moment that made my knees buckle and brought tears to my eyes. It is an intensely emotional moment written so well you can see them running across the platform and hear the music in the background.  Another ah, so satisfying moment.

When you buy this book, be ready to be thrilled. You may want to start on a weekend because you will not want to put it down.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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