Did I love this book? I loved this book!
I had had it noted in my 'to acquire' pile since the fall, when it was published, simply because I enjoy a good historical m/m story. As the weeks passed, I kept seeing it mentioned in my Twitter feed as a good book, indeed, a fabulous book. I saw it mentioned in a few blogs and on Facebook a few times. Finally, when Heidi Cullinan mentioned that she was reading it and OMG, she was loving it... well, if you've been following along, you know that Heidi is one of my faves and a recc from her is GOLDEN, so I bought it and it went into the 'read it soonest' pile.
All this to say... Heidi has yet to steer me wrong. :)
I love the setting! Sort of an AU Victorian universe where there's magic. And the writing! I really enjoyed KJ's voice, it was easy to read, fun, and evocative - the only problem I had was the use of the word 'obscene' and it's progeny, 'obsenity' about 6 or 7 times in the span of about 4 pages - or one scene - near the beginning of the book. But that was the only problem I had.
The characters! OMG, Stephen and Lucien and Merrick... I loved them all. Stephen, the diminutive justicar, wielder of magic - indeed a sort of policeman of sorts. Self-effacing, witty, he works under a lot of constraints and still manages to shine. And not in an objectionable way at all! He's not a know-it-all although he easily could have been. And Lucien Crane, the newly-minted earl. Dangerous and haughty with a chequered past, he almost... ALMOST fell into the asshole hero trope, but you know what? He was afraid. He admitted to being scared. Not about the growing feelings he feels for Stephen, but for the situation, for the things that any sane person would be afraid of. That endeared him to me. And then there's Merrick - the manservant, confidant, protector, right-hand man, best friend of Lucien. I loved him, pure and simple. I loved his smart-ass mouth, his love for Lucien and his wit and humour.
The plot works. It's a mystery, really. What's wrong with the ancestral estate of Lucien Vaudrey, the new Lord Crane? The magic hangs together nicely, the back story of the Vaudrey family makes sense and the ending leaves the reader wanting more in the very best of ways. More adventures for this trio!
Yes, the desire came quickly, but that's a normal thing. Who hasn't felt attraction for someone quickly? But the relationship between Stephen and Lucien takes it's time to grow and by the time they finally get together, it works perfectly. :)
I already have the second book in my Kobo, in my TBR file, (I mentioned that I loved this book, right?), and I think I've found another really good author. :)
EDIT: So Heidi tells me that she hasn't read it yet, but I would have put my hand in fire, as we say in Quebec, that hers was the recc that tipped me over. So who the hell was it? I don't fully trust a lot of author reccs other than Heidi's.... Another mystery!!