Firelight (Darkest London #1) – Finally getting around to this review!
Thank you guys for your patience while I got around to this book. I’m finally getting back on track and I’m already well into Human Sister from my poll. Onto the review:
Kristen Callihan’s talent and skill shines through and through in Firelight, book 1 of the Darkest London series. No surprise, this book is set in late 19th century London, England. The story centers on Miranda Ellis, a beautiful young lady with the gift of fire…or is it a curse? Growing up it’s only been a struggle to try to harness her abilities. Unfortunately, one fateful night she loses control of her power and it destroys her family’s fortune. Carrying that guilt for most of her life, she is forced to marry a mysterious but feared nobleman, leading to events that neither one ever expected.
Her new husband, Lord Benjamin Archer, has secrets of his own. Some of his closest friends are turning up dead, making him look like the culprit. So now he must find the real murder before his new bride is next. Shielding his deformity behind a mask, it further adds to the ridicule he faces on a regular basis by his peers. Though regretful that he’s brought his new wife into this lifestyle, he can’t help himself as her presence ignites a passion in him that’s been long dormant. Fortunately, Miranda is no damsel in distress and may be able to help, peeling back the layers of her new husband along the way.
As a period novel, the writing style is absolutely perfect. Callihan captures the world and the characters brilliantly. There are poignant moments that really make you connect to the lead couple. They have their angst, but there is evolution along the way to embrace their cursed powers and turn it into an advantage.
It offers a blend of all genres with historical, paranormal, romance, and murder mystery elements. While this is the beginning of a series, it appears that it will work well as a standalone. When it comes to your enjoyment, it’s just a question of what you are looking for in a book. I appreciate it for what it is, but for me I would have liked a little more action at times. Considering their supernatural powers, I would have liked to have seen that put to more use throughout the book. There are some slow moments as well when I really wanted the story would move along.
The love story is well done, and I actually experienced Beauty and the Beast vibes while reading it. I was then told that this is like a retelling of that fairytale. There are some similar elements, but the work is original and deviates enough to stand on its own. Since Miranda doesn’t actually see him, they are working off of pure chemistry and it is very strong. That made it enjoyable at times, but I admit that it was killing me to wait to actually see Archer’s appearance under the mask.
I definitely don’t regret reading this book, even with the slow moments. It seems as if the next book will focus on another character or pair. I’d like to see how Callihan plans to expand this world. Overall, I do recommend the book, but it may not be as enjoyable for everyone.