I have some very mixed feelings about this book. I've been waiting and waiting for Elizabeth and Alynwick's story ever since we first met them in book one of the trilogy. The way these two clearly pined for one another was captivating and I was very curious to see the big explanation of what drove them apart all those years ago. One of the things that bothered me the most while reading, was the fact that explanation let me down. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I fully expected this story to pick up where the last one left off, but it didn't. In fact, the first 90% of the book overlapped with the timeline of the other stories. I can't say it was redundant, because it wasn't. We see events and perspectives we weren't privy to before. But it did have me off balance, trying to recall details from the other books that are casually referenced here. Not only that, but I kept waiting and waiting for the big kidnapping that ended the last book. I was waiting a long time.
As the story begins, Alynwick is working to seduce a married woman with ties to Orpheus. He was hoping he could use his connection to her to unmask the villain working against the Brethren Guardians. Watching our hero whore himself out did not endear him to me. In fact, I spent the whole story waiting for a redemption of his character that never came.
After being shot in duel, Alynwick comes to the realization that he is in love with Elizabeth and regrets discarding her after their love affair 12 years ago. The thing is, she refuses his advances. She knows him for the manslut he is and will not open herself to trusting him again. So he pushes and she flees. Then he pushes more and she flees again.
I actually did like Lizzie. She is blind, but doesn't want her infirmity to define her. She is still hurt, but wants to keep living her life. She even tries to move on. But Alynwick won't let her. I actually found myself rooting for Sheldon, the other guy courting her. That's not a good sign for the hero.
I didn't feel like Alynwick properly atoned for his actions. He just kept trying to get in Lizzie's pants. Even when she is crying over the hurt he caused her. And then, when he gives his big explanation as to why he left her, instead of making me sympathetic, it actually made me dislike him more.
The writing is very good. Featherstone definitely made me give a damn about what was going to happen. And I was blown away by the villain reveal. It was brilliant and totally unexpected. It made perfect sense for anyone who has been following the series. For a new reader, though, it probably would have been a WTF moment.
I don't know. I just couldn't get past wanting to kick the hero in the 'nads. I never felt like he deserved his happy ending, so when all was said and done I was a bit unsatisfied. Hard to rate, because what was good was very good, but what bothered me --really bothered me.*ARC Provided by NetGalley