Series: Darkest London #4
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal Romance
Published by Forever on December 17, 2013
Reviewed by: Julia
References to rape, sexual assault, sex scenes.
Once a heart is lost in shadow...
Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case—and the last thing he relishes is a partner.
Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.
Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights—even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past...or risk losing Mary forever.
The Darkest London series teases your expectations, pretends to follow the rules, and then goes all terrain through the underbrush of unexpected events. Despite containing elements of a great Paranormal Romance and an enthralling Historical Fantasy, Callihan's stories manages to break all the rules and become something altogether different. A perfect meld of magical suspense, alternate history, and romance, these books offer one surprise after another.
Unfortunately, it is just these unexpected elements that made SHADOWDANCE start a little slow for me. Though Mary and Jack are familiar from past books, I was distracted by the shear number of obstacles and secrets swirling around them. Not only is Jack being investigated as a serial killer by his own colleagues, but add to that his secret history with Mary as well as both of their past sexual assaults and Jack's childhood traumas, and the story was muddled and overstimulating for the first few chapters. One by one these tangled threads are straightened out, however, and I eventually settled into the rhythms and realities of the story. But that initial distance came back to hurt me in the end. After taking a while to warm up to this romance, I found myself cooling off again as the mutual sexual traumas of the main characters were dismissed with little more than a nod once the sex scene ramped up. It felt like surviving rape was little more than a device to keep these two relatively asexual and apart, which was distracting and clumsy rather than emotionally compelling.
Though this particular romance wasn't my favorite of the Darkest London series, the worldbuilding and mystery was as strong as ever. Even better, Callihan's next hero and heroine have my undivided attention, and despite three starts for SHADOWDANCE, EVERNIGHT is already on my TBR list.