Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: The Magpie Lord
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: A Charm of Magpies #1
Heroes: Lucien Vaudrey/”Crane” & Stephen Day
Genre: M/M Historical Paranormal
Length: 178 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Available at: Samhain Publishing & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell.
Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry.
Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude…and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.
Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.
A few months ago, Heather read this book and told me it was one of the best books she read that year and that I NEEDED to read it. Of course, in my true historical phobia fashion, I said no way! It’s historical, I don’t like those… right? Obviously not because I read it and LOVED IT!
Lucien Vaudrey spent the last twenty years exiled in China. When he received notice that his father and brother both died suddenly and that he needed to come back to deal with the estate, he expects to come into contact with his family’s enemies. What he doesn’t expect is to be cursed. Forced into seeking assistance from a magical practitioner, he meets Stephen Day, a man who holds a grudge against the Crane family. While Stephen wants to hate Crane, he can’t seem to not offer his assistance. In his attempt to free Crane from his curse, he uncovers a much more sinister plot behind the assassination attempts while slowly falling for the very man he doesn’t want to be attracted to.
I really enjoyed this story not just because of the writing and the mystery but also because of the characters. The tension between Stephen and Crane in the beginning is potent and as that angry aggression lessens, a sexual tension takes over instead. The two together are HOT and I loved that there was such a build up to their attraction before anything major happened. As individuals, Crane is almost drowning in the chaos that his father and brother left behind, subjected to constant scorn just for being a Vaudrey. Stephen is guilty of blaming Crane for the sins of his father but learns quickly that Crane is nothing like family. I loved that the story showed the development of Stephen’s feelings towards Crane but also the way he sticks up for Crane to others who still believe that if he’s a Vaudrey he’s trouble. It was interesting to see the changing dynamics in the intimate relationship between Stephen and Crane, as well as, the magical aspects around the two.
I adored this story but there was one big niggle that I had. It seemed like whenever I really wanted to get details on a certain thing, the description around it would be vague or lack details on what happened or what was being said, etc. For instance, there was one part where Crane was being asked for his decision from the villain, he said something and the villain responded but we never ‘see’ that response or the villain’s reaction to it, only a mention that the villain didn’t like Crane’s answer and goes crazy. There was also another memorable part where I wanted to have more explanation on a certain ‘shrine’ (so to speak) but while it was mentioned as gruesome, it was vague in what it actually looked like. There were other parts similar to that vagueness and I found I missed not getting descriptions on those sections.
In the end, though, I still loved this book. The raw connection between Stephen and Crane is fascinating, the writing is phenomenal and the suspense and action interspersed throughout the story had me on the edge of my seat for a good portion of the book. It’s an engaging novel that definitely captured my attention and held it until the last word. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing what Stephen and Crane get up to next!
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*