Spectered Isle by K.J. Charles
Published: Self-Published on 2017, eBook, 243 pages
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Purchase a copy: Amazon| Kobo
Add to: Goodreads| Storygraph
Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense...except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.
Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there's something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.
Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.
Let’s speed past the fact that I’ve been on a 1.5 year hiatus from blogging and have fallen out of writing for fun or even reading1books, that is, I’ve read plenty of fanfic over the hiatus. Some of it even novel-length! and let’s get right to the review:
This is the first in KJ Charles’ newest series Green Men; it’s a historical horror-fantasy romance set in interwar England, roughly connected to her book Simon Feximal. This first book is about a disgraced archaeologist (+1) and an upper-crust sarcastic fucker (+1), with a mysterious evil entity and malignant government forces providing much of the antagonism.
I really like the fantasy setting, particularly as it incorporates the older, scarier British paranormal elements of a similar kind to maybe Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series. There are horror-ish elements, along the same lines as Charles’ other books like The Magpie Lord. It’s best parts are the two main characters, who have wonderfully fun personalities, and whose romance starts off on a bad foot and ends super smushy and lovely. It’s very nearly enemies-to-lovers, as they start off super suspicious and very nearly punch each other, but then they become friends and THEN the good stuff happens.
The mysterious evil entity and malignant government forces were not as successful as the romance part, I think. Spoilers2I can’t remember how to do the spoiler tag in my book review plugin. This is so embarrassing.: The entity never actually shows up, just a lot of stuff starting to appear when he’s on his way– and so it felt a little incomplete, like if Jaws never actually showed up in his movie. The government force was intimidating except when they were entirely NOT, and then at the end they were basically punched in the nose and never did anything, actually. Both of these elements gave a purveying sense of dread, except at the end something went awry with the execution. In KJC’s Charm of Magpies series, for instance, there was a much more well-built sense of dread throughout each book, and the evil forces actually showed up entirely and were defeated. The evil forces in this book felt a little undone, particularly with how much they were built up in the beginning.
I think part of that had to do with the actual form of the evil entity, which I suppose doesn’t lend itself well to a Big Boss Battle kind of showdown. Oh well.
Despite my iffy feelings about the antagonists, I LOVED the rest of the book and I can’t wait to read the next one. Apparently it was originally going to be a (fairly standard) m/f romance, but KJC’s writing went awry and now it’s a f/f with a much more interesting couple and plot. Unfortunately, it’s not coming out until September 2018. 🙁
Jenny @ Reading the End
September 2018 is so faaaaaaaaaaaar, I cannot wait. Luckily KJ Charles has other awesome books coming up, and I am looking forward to them all. 😀
Also, I mean, feel free to share some of the fics you’ve been reading. I love a good rec list!
I am excited, too! I’ve got my preorder in for her Prisoner of Zenda book and I can’t wait to read it.
I’ve somehow gotten into the habit of reading fanfics without haven’t seen the original material. It mostly works out great! It helps if I just read whatever from my favorite fic authors. I mean, honestly, I’ve been reading (and rereading) astolat’s stuff from the last year or so; I haven’t seen or played any of the things she’s written about lately, but her Witcher fanfics in particular are SO GOOD. I’ve read them all twice already!
Plus her newer* Harry Potter stuff is fun. I haven’t enjoyed anything about HP in over a decade, but I like astolat’s stuff.
* still several years old, tho