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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Moonglow (Darkest London, #2)

Moonglow - Kristen Callihan (Originally posted December 2012 at Book Lovers Inc)After the excellent series opener that was Firelight, I was not sure what to expect of this book, Moonglow. So much of the first book’s success was built on the two main characters, their delicious antagonism and slow-burn romance. To reproduce it exactly wouldn’t be fun, but why mess up a formulation that works? Moonglow manages to do both, seamlessly transitioning from its preceding installment and yet establishing a unique and memorable experience in historical paranormal romance.The character of Ian Ranulf, Marquis of Northrup and onetime heir apparent to the werewolf throne, is a complex one whose tale really spans the length of two books. In fact, in order to really appreciate his full journey one ought to read book one in this series, Firelight. From that book, Northrup emerges a nemesis, almost, of the first book’s male lead. It speaks well to the author’s skills of character development that Northrup is made to seem despicable and is yet likable.I like to frame my understanding of the female lead, Daisy Northrup, in the context of her two other sisters (both of whom serve as leads of their own installments). She’s a woman of great beauty and keen intelligence, but she sees herself as nowhere near the beauty of her younger sister Miranda, and just a shadow of the formidable mind that is her older sister Poppy. In other words, she holds much draw, but frames it all the wrong way. So it’s a pleasure for the reader to follow her development beyond her own stale notions of her power and ability. I do wish that some of Daisy’s paranormal powers were explored a bit more; it seemed a bit like an obligatory yet vestigial element, at times. But she herself was always an enigmatic figure.What I most enjoyed about this book was the delightful interplay between the main characters, and the superb emotion that’s wrought from them. Daisy and Northrup are And as for the emotion…once this story’s plot really opens up, it grips you in a pathos that cuts deeply. It’s always nice when, even though you know you’re reading a romance (and hence are all but guaranteed an HEA), you sit on pins and needles worried for the romantic leads, unsure of how they’re ever going to overcome their dire situations.The murder mystery that’s woven through the story is a deep and twisting one, one that requires the reader to pay very close attention or risk becoming a bit confused. Having read the book through, I must say that there are some small plot points that I still don’t completely understand, mostly involving the mysterious attacker that plagues London’s society. I dunno, I might have blinked, missed something in the quick succession of minor but important details.As with Firelight, Moonglow really depicts the city of London as gritty, with a dank atmosphere in which you can find bright spots here and there. It’s a character unto itself, and though there’s a playfulness in narrative tone every so often, you can almost feel the heavy fog around you.As with Northrup’s tentative character development in book one, so too is there a tentative character development of the main character of the next book. Winston Lane’s introduction as a central-figure-to-be is done rather seamlessly, integrating it fully into the main plot progression and avoiding uneven storytelling.In fact, I’d say the stage has been magnificently set for book three. There is no cliffhanger, per say, just a fine mess of another situation that reflects the realities of this world and the hopes of any hopeless romantic. :-) Count me in for the next round, please!