Well, wow. I loved this book so completely that I’m not even sure how to start reviewing it.
First – we knew, didn’t we, that Mark’s book would be great. Second – Pen. Pen is everything I’d hoped for but also so much more. He is that perfect mix of arrogant and terribly fragile; he is fierce and beautiful and terrified. He’s a wild and untamed thing.
KJ Charles’ eloquent, poignant portrayal of Pen’s gender-queer identity hit me like a literal blow to the chest. I know this is something a lot of people are working their way through right now. In my own case, people close to me have children who are struggling for acceptance as they are. Seeing this struggle put into writing – how completely assured Pen was of his identity, how wrong he felt when forced into a societal gender role – really brought it all home. I won’t lie, there were more than a few spots in this book where I had to break out the tissues.
More than any other book in this series, the two leads had to work through some serious hurdles to get to their happy ending. For starters, Pen had some justifiable anger at Mark that they needed to get through. But aside from that – there were more external barriers, such as Pen’s status as a peer, his rather protective sister, and of course the villains out fouling things up for all our characters in this series.
I would gladly stay in the Sins of the Cities world and spend more time with all these characters – there are so many more stories I’d like to hear. I hope KJ Charles indulges us with a novella or two at some point. In the meantime, An Unsuitable Heir was a satisfying conclusion to one of my absolute favorite series.
**I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review of this book.**
It’s no secret to readers of my reviews that I love KJ Charles’s writing. In fact, I’m fairly convinced KJ Charles has never written a bad book; that in fact everything she’s written is spectacular. So when I tell you that I’m pretty sure this is her best yet, that should mean something.
An Unnatural Vice has all the grittiness of her Charm of Magpies series and all the class conflict of the Society of Gentlemen series, rolled into one perfect package. We get to revisit characters from An Unseen Attraction while also meeting Justin Lazarus, the Seer of London, a man of infinite talents and insecurities. The plot thread begun in An Unseen Attraction about the Earl of Moreton’s bigamy and its consequences continues here, with more violence and mystery as the heroes and secondary characters frantically seek the missing heir.
The ending is a delight, and I find myself desperately hoping that the next book (as indicated by the “to be continued…”) will be about Mark Braglewicz and the young man he’s in such a twist about as this story ends (no spoilers here).
A 5-star, must-buy.
5 stars because KJ Charles can do no wrong.
I absolutely loved this unconventional m/m historical.
Clem was a very untypical hero, and Rowley had a delightfully creepy occupation, but the two of them really worked well as a couple. The crime element of the story added an interesting edge. And as always, there was plenty of spark and steam between the two lovers!
Also, Clem was every bit as hot as this cover might imply. Maybe more so.
Don’t miss this one; and it’s worth your while to go get the rest of K.J. Charles’ stuff while you’re at it.
*Free ARC provided by NetGalley – review in no way influenced by this!*
5 unapologetic stars.
Look, let’s just get it out of the way: if you didn’t like Hold Me, we probably can’t be friends. That’s how much I liked this book. It gave me all the feels in all the right ways and places. Why, you ask?
OH my gosh, this book. I love this so much. I don’t even know where to start.
Jay: I adore his arrogant, idiotic character – I know a lot of people who are too smart for their skin and he fits right in. He can’t get out of his own way half the time and he knows it, and his character arc in this story is gorgeous.
Maria: Despite appearing on the surface to have more baggage, I think she actually does less growing in this story; she’s done a lot of it already off-screen. She is unapologetically girly AND smart, and I adore her strong sense of self.
The story: I think it’s about forgiving yourself, forgiving others, and remembering to look beyond your assumptions. Whatever the case, it rang so very true for me – I loved this book more than almost anything I read in 2016 and it’s possibly even my second-favorite of Courtney Milan’s delightful work (Unraveled will always be #1).
I’m eagerly anticipating more books in the Cyclone series (yes, even books with Adam F***ing Reynolds). Where’s my time machine?
4 yes-please stars.
The Soldier’s Scoundrel was terrific enough that I pre-ordered her next book, which is a big leap for me to take on a new-to-me author.
Some of what worked so well:
The tension between Jack and Oliver is perfectly crafted, and it’s delightful watching Oliver step in his assumptions over and over. Their attraction was totally believable and both managed to be strong characters with compelling motivations. The plot itself was well-paced and kept me turning the pages, but was not so over-packed as to distract from the interactions between the characters.
I hope to see many more like this from Cat Sebastian.