Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
I didn’t think I could possible fall any harder for this gothic Victorian world, but Winterblaze, the third installment of Kristen Callihan’s utterly fantastic Darkest London series, has made me do just that.
Winston Lane is a lost man. Not only is he terribly scarred from the werewolf attack and incredibly angry over Poppy’s deception, he’s also lost his job as an Inspector. With everything that defines him gone, the calm he is known for has started to crack.
Poppy is racked with guilt over her deception, furious with Winston for not giving her the chance to explain and at a loss when it comes to her broken marriage. As a member of the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals Poppy has larger problems though when a powerful demon escapes hell. It’s her responsibility to catch it and Poppy is ruled by her sense of duty. When she realizes the demon has set its sights on Winston, her two lives collide once again. Coming together to battle the threat, Poppy and Winston will have to put their difference to one side and trust each other if they have any hope of surviving.
There were so many twists and secrets it’s hard to go too deep into the plot without spoilers but suffice to say, everything I thought I knew about this couple from pervious books didn’t even scratch the surface. They came across as such a stable couple but the fall out from Wins attack and Poppy’s secrets drop us into the middle of an emotional stalemate.
Winterblaze couldn’t be a more perfect title for this pair. On the outside they are icy toward each other, neither willing to make the first move towards reconciliation but underneath they are smoldering with a mixture of anger, lust and deep love. Through a series of flashback chapters we see the beginnings of their relationship, showing just how much their dynamics are changing, especially with fourteen years of history between them.
Unlike her sisters, Poppy has been aware of her supernatural abilities for many years and wields them like a pro. Those combined with her extensive training with the SOS make her a force to be reckoned with. She is an amazingly strong character, something that shines even brighter against the period backdrop, but this strength becomes her downfall when it comes to her relationships. She battles hard to open up, not always managing it quickly enough.
Winston’s much rougher round the edges than the gentlemen we were used to and I very much liked angry Win. He has a tough time in this book, struggling to come to terms with everything that has happened but this is a great example of when sometimes everything has to be striped away from a character for them to find out who they truly are.
The action and romance are intrinsically weaved together to make a plot that is heart-stoppingly fast paced. I absolutely adored the big bad; he was deadly and charming, weaving his sinister plots throughout and expanding our knowledge of this supernatural world. Jack Talent and Mary Chase are also along for the ride, bringing with them a whole new set of problems for later books.
Winterblaze was everything I was hoping for and more. I felt every emotion under the sun reading this and it has cemented Darkest London as one of my absolute favorite series.
Sexual content: Sex