Series: Whyborne & Griffin: Book Ten
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Length: 306 Pages
Category: Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal
At a Glance: It’s a rare talent that can craft a series of this magnitude and keep readers so captivated. I will be on pins and needles with the rest of the W&G fans, waiting for that eleventh and final installment!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Whyborne’s Endicott relatives have returned to collect on the promise he made to help them take back their ancestral manor from an evil cult. In exchange, they’ll give him the key to deciphering the Wisborg Codex, which Whyborne needs to learn how to stop the masters.
To that end, Whyborne, his husband Griffin, and their friends Iskander and Christine travel to a small island off the coast of Cornwall. But when they arrive at Balefire Manor, Whyborne must not only face the evil within the ancient mansion, but the painful truth about his own destiny.
Review: Curse the Endicotts. If I survived this, I was never leaving Widdershins again.
Ten books, man…Ten. Jordan L. Hawk introduced Whyborne and Griffin to us nearly eight years ago, and has taken us on a crazy, fantastic ride. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over. BUT, let’s not get ahead of ourselves—it’s not over yet! In Balefire, Hawk puts Whyborne and Griffin and the rest of our beloved crew through their paces yet again. There is still work to be done before they are ready to face the masters, and, unfortunately for Whyborne, in this book, most of that work takes place far from Widdershins, off the coast of Cornwall at Balefire Manor, the Endicott family’s ancestral home.
The Endicotts are, with a couple of exceptions, still the same charming and lovely (read: horrible and nasty) people they’ve always been, never missing an opportunity to call Ival an abomination, or to openly discuss their disdain for the Ketoi. So, when Rupert Endicott shows up in Widdershins, requesting Whyborne’s aid, I was pretty gleeful over the fact that they not only desperately needed Whyborne but also the help of a Ketoi envoy. I was even more gleeful over the fact that said envoy turned out to be Heliabel. I loved what a large part she played in this story, and that she got to show what a complete badass she is. And, they need all the help they can get, trust me. When they realize what’s actually going on at Balefire Manor, they probably wish it was just the Fideles!
The elements that have been working so well throughout the entire series are still successfully utilized here. Hawk’s wonderfully subtle, dry humor, for one—so often showcased by Whyborne or Christine. This exchange between Griffin and Whyborne killed me:
“Is something wrong, my dear?”
“Oh, nothing.” Or everything. I’d settled dangerous creatures beneath the woods adjoining a busy town. There was a very long list of people who wanted me dead. The end of the world was coming, and I didn’t know how to stop it. “I’m fine. It’s a beautiful evening isn’t it?”
And, there is a running gag in this book that’s to do with Christine, and that plays against Whyborne’s obliviousness, that is so, so funny. I don’t want to spoil it with more detail, but it’s sure to be a hit with readers. Also, Hawk continues to explore the importance and power of family. We see the horrible things family can do to one another, and how some people can twist the meaning of family; and we also see the beauty and power that can exist in a family that is entirely chosen, based on mutual respect and love. Whyborne is able to face down the Endicotts, because his true family, the family he has built with Griffin, Christine, and Kander, along with Persephone and his mother, always has his back.
There were a couple of small detractors in the book for me. I found myself getting a bit impatient for the climax. I was wanting to jump ahead at times rather than savoring every paragraph…every word…as I have in past books. I think in a series this length, where there is SO much going on and so many details to recall and keep straight, that time between books becomes a factor. Also, I felt like Whyborne and Griffin’s relationship was lacking a little of its usual fire. And I’m not talking about a lack of sex scenes…but rather, just some of their usual closeness, that swoon factor they always have, was lacking somewhat in this one.
Those small issues aside, the book was amazing. Balefire is a fantastic setup for the final showdown in the next book. There were the dual POVs we love so much, a new character or two that I hope we see again, and an action-packed final third that, as usual, had me on the edge of my seat. It’s a rare talent that can craft a series of this magnitude and keep readers so captivated. I will be on pins and needles with the rest of the W&G fans, waiting for that eleventh and final installment!
You can buy Balefire here:
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