Title: A Velvet Glove
Series: Arcane Hearts: Book Four
Author: Nazri Noor
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 404 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: Nazri Noor has consistently built and enriched this world from the beginning, which has done nothing but made me enjoy every new facet or thing I learn more than I did in the book before. What happens going forward is anyone’s guess at the moment, but we can safely bet it’s going to get dangerous for everyone involved.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Jackson Pryde is too cool for school.
In the middle of shearing talking sheep, Jackson Pryde and Xander Wright are visited by Hecate and Freyja, queens of magical might within their pantheons. The goddesses have summoned Jackson for a meeting among immortals, a convocation of entities who wish to study the strange nature of his prismatic powers.
Jackson’s busy enough already. Work is underway for the rebuilding of the artificers’ guild. Rumors abound that his childhood hero is searching for a suitable assistant. And a chance assignment sees the boys visiting the heart of where their bitter rivalry truly began: the elite academy of Grayhaven.
Good thing a visit to Xander’s alma mater won’t unearth old grudges and ancient insecurities.
Review: “We come to raze, my love. We come to pillage, to reclaim what was and what is rightfully ours.”
Jackson Pryde and Xander Wright go through some things in this installment of the Arcane Hearts series, and this time, so does their friend Beatrice Rex, who is grumpy and snarky, but that’s what it takes to make it in the House of Needles, so it tracks. I love her. Then again, I love their friends Preston and Sedgewick too, and let’s not forget about Jackson’s AI (artificer’s intelligence), Lore, whose personality is becoming more endearing by the page. In short, I’m a big fan of the people (and the AI) in this series. They’re a little bit of fabulous.
Well, except for Xander’s parents. I don’t like them, but that’s another story. One purpose they serve is to show how fortunate Jackson was to have parents who loved him to pieces.
It’s not often, in a fantasy setting where everything could go sideways at the literal snap of a finger—and sometimes does—that the word ‘sweet’ applies, but Nazri Noor adds a dash of it to the series in Jackson and Xander’s relationship as well as Jackson’s connection with Lore. There’s a slight hiccup in A Velvet Glove between Jackson and Xander, but nothing I knew these guys wouldn’t work out together. Noor has consistently built and enriched this world from the beginning, which has done nothing but made me enjoy every new facet or thing I learn more than I did in the book before. We’ve learned some new things about Jackson just as he’s learned those things about himself, but his goal has remained consistent—rebuild the Halls of Making and restore artificers to their rightful place among the Black Market’s Guilds. Sounds simple enough. Except for everything standing in his way.
On a trip to Grayhaven—Xander’s alma mater and the place that made him and Jackson mortal enemies for a time—Jackson unexpectedly meets his idol, Ermengarde Frost, who happens to be the author of his favorite book ever. She’s there to give a lecture to students on her specialty, mythozoology, and the way he goes all blushing, tongue-tied fanboy over her is kind of adorable. There’s a smidge of “never meet your heroes” there, though, when her confidence in her superior knowledge leads to an encounter with the very threats Jackson and Xander have been working so hard to eliminate. Everything that the series has been building up to is now escalating, and to the surprise of no one who knows anything about the fae . . . they’re behind it.
Noor has introduced more myth and legend into this installment of the series, which offers up some exciting and tense moments, because these primordial beings are supremely interested in Jackson. They have no qualms about making him a guinea pig for their own edification, if not amusement, and what it all means becomes important to Jackson, to Xander, to the Halls of Making, to the Black Market, and to everyone who lives there. Pandemonium indeed.
Jackson remains the cheeky, funny, attention loving, never too humble to brag a little, heart of this series, and yet, there’s just that little bit of doubt in him that he can still go blushing and bashful at a compliment. What happens going forward is anyone’s guess at the moment, but we can safely bet it’s going to get dangerous for everyone involved.
You can buy A Velvet Glove here:
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