Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne and Griffin
Genre: M/M Historical Fantasy
Length: Short novel
Mysterious happenings are nothing new to reclusive scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne, but finding one of his colleagues screaming for help in the street is rather unusual. Allan Tambling claims he can’t remember any of the last hour—but someone murdered his uncle, and Allan is covered in blood.
Whyborne’s lover, dashing ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty, agrees to prove Allan’s innocence. But when Allan is deemed insane and locked away in the Stormhaven Lunatic Asylum, Griffin finds himself reliving the horrifying memories of his own ordeal inside a madhouse.
Along with their friend Christine, the two men become drawn deeper and deeper into a dark web of conspiracy, magic, and murder. Their only clue: a missing artifact depicting an unknown god. Who stole the artifact, and why can’t Allan remember what happened? And what is the truth behind the terrible experiments conducted on Stormhaven’s forbidden fourth floor?
It will take all of Whyborne’s sorcery and Griffin’s derring-do to stop the murderers and save Allan. But first, they must survive an even greater challenge: a visit from Griffin’s family.
Source: Bought it
There is definitely an added layer of emotional darkness in this third book of the series. Though Whyborne remains out narrator, this is really Griffin’s story, dealing with his demons and the damage caused by his past. It’s not just because the two of them are dealing with events in an insane asylum, but also because of a visit from Griffin’s family, who have never accepted his sexuality.
It’s no secret in this series that Whyborne is rather low on self-esteem, but Griffin too is riddled with doubts. This is the book that brings all the reasons for this to light, testing each character’s mental strength and feelings for each other. I love the relationship these two have and how easily they accept each other. Griffin is understandably haunted by all he’s been through, but the way Whyborne supports him is beautiful to read.
It’s less fun to see the way Griffin tries to twist himself inside out to appease his family – and the knock on effect this has on Whyborne. Christine attempts to be a voice of reason – which is sadly the majority of her diminished role in this book – but at the same time her insensitive comments make it easy to see why Griffin makes these choices, given the time and what he feels he owes to his parents. I’m not sure who the whole charade makes me feel sorry for most – Griffin, probably, because at least Whyborne has always been himself before his own family.
Away from the emotional turmoil, the mystery was rather straightforward, adding a new layer to the magic gathering around Whyborne. There was one twist at the end that took me by surprise, but the rest was fairly predictable. That didn’t make it any less compelling in seeing how it all played out, though, especially as the various threads slowly joined up to tie everything together.
The absolute best thing about this book was seeing the strength each character shows, in a variety of different ways. Griffin faces down his demons in an effort to save an innocent man from the same horrors he suffered, and also for love of his dear Ival, while Whyborne takes charge of his magic and stands up for the man he adores. Neither man has ever been short of courage, but this book pushes them both to new levels.
Romantic, emotional, dark and deep, this is yet another great installment from an excellent series.
Stormhaven is Out Now.
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