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Maelstrom: A Whyborne & Griffin Novel (Volume 7) Paperback – December 10, 2015
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Ival & Grif are at it again and they’re as steamy and expressive and endearing as ever. Whyborne’s strength and power, he carries them with greater ease, yet still feels insufficient, even insignificant. This is particularly true regarding his father. Griffin is as smooth and commanding as one would expect, reading his Ival (swoon) like a book and taking every advantage. Together, they’re one of the best duos in literature for me, a feeling that continues in this story.
Oh and Whyborne’s talent for unintentional humor is baaaaaaaaaack! Poor fellow, he just doesn’t know how funny he can be. Course, if he did, Griffin wouldn’t get the opportunity to let that sly grin appear now and then. ;)
Considering this is book seven in this series, you can expect to read some things from here on out that would be spoilers for anyone has yet to start these adventures that all began in Widdershins. There, you’ve been warned. :)
The mystery is afoot! As is the upcoming Christine-Iskander wedding. Iskander’s character is well ensconced in this world and this merry band of reluctant adventurers. He’s the kind of man who is an equal match to Christine, as well as complimentary. He’s definitely the only one who can keep up with her. He’s paid his dues up to this point and, interestingly, it’s now difficult to imagine this anything other than a quartet: Ival, Grif, Christine, and Iskander.
The pebble of fear never leaves Whyborne nor Griffin. The pebble that could send ripples of ruin all through their lives if the truth about their relationship is ever discovered beyond their family. For all of their success, shared history, and unstoppable love, fear of arrest, and what would surely follow, is still a part of their everyday existence. The laws in this sense are not on their side.
As with the previous books, the main plots and mysteries are new, not a continuation from the last. Despite this, you would (and should!) want to read the series in order. Besides the obvious reason of yeah!books, and ok yeah major character and relationship progression, you’ll miss some of the references that do connect each book, including this one. Two of the best examples come in the forms of Whyborne’s mother and sister. Jussayin’. Fabulous.
Family dynamics are strong in this one. Whyborne and his father, Whyborne and Griffin, both of them with Christine, Whyborne’s Ketoi mother and sister and how everyone interacts with them – there’s a lot going on here, a lot of moving parts, and most of the are imperfect human beings, or otherwise, trying to work through the past, present, and what they want the future to be. Oh and we can’t forget Saul, the cat.
Some cross-species humor for your snippet-loving pleasure:
~ * ~ ”Persephone, I have a request to make.”
“Oh?” Her tentacles suddenly unfurled, darting for my head. I ducked, but felt them across my scalp. “Is it to – how do humans say? – style your hair?”
“Stop it!” I batted at the tendrils. Persephone had a fascination with my hair, particularly when it came to vexing me about it. She laughed gleefully. Griffin, the traitor, laughed as well. ~ * ~
Ah, Whyborne, I love when your feathers are predictably and lovingly ruffled.
As a couple, Whyborne and Griffin are at their best in this book. They are quicker to communicate and not assume. They pool their strengths, relying on one another, allowing themselves to lean on each other when one is weak or in need. Their ability to read each other has progressed, their partnership providing support, excitement, and joy. The maturing of their relationship has been beautiful to experience throughout this series. Another benefit to reading it from the beginning.
I figured out one of the components of the mystery early on, spotting one of the baddies. However, the twist? Holy moly! The twist that followed that same thread was a total surprise. Not the function but the form it took! It also made me get all grrrr, my protective streak coming out, particularly for Whyborne.
Speaking of, the focus of this story is on the characters. Instead of a far flung location or universe-sized supernatural force taking center stage, the cast is the star, granted top billing. This is an example of how good Hawk is at mixing it up from book to book. In particular, I’m really liking the roles Iskander and Miss Parkhurst are getting to play.
On the flipside, I was dubious about one particular character’s seeming easy acceptance of their “new” reality. My only guess is that maybe we’ll learn more about them in a future story? Otherwise, there’s not enough of an explanation as to their reactions.
One of my all-time favorite characters? Hands down, that’s Persephone, Whyborne’s sister. Her personality is fantastic and she gets treated to wonderful development and progress in this story. She’s a mix of some of Whyborne’s traits and some of their mother’s. I was grinning every time she was on page.
The final quarter of this story is non-stop, with twists and discoveries and questions, and ‘oh my, how in the world will they make it out of this?’ type exclamations. This isn’t to say that the first 75% is slow because it is not, at all. A good pace is held throughout with organic ebbs and flows. It all leads up to a finale that reads like a beloved action movie, with dastardly deeds, humor, gore, and so much more.
Jordan Hawk has done it again. In book seven! Please don’t let this be the last. Somehow I doubt it is. ;)
* Originally reviewed for Prism Book Alliance®
There's even a scene to remind us how much gay men had to fear when the law was a threat, not an imperfect protection.
I did guess who was involved with the cultists before it was revealed, but his/their plan took me by surprise -- both the goal and the *Oh, no!* method.
BTW, I'm happy to see Whyborne's hopelessly smitten secretary getting a bigger role, and an intriguing possibility.
Once again, Jordan L. Hawk manages to create an amazing story!! I continue to be impressed with her ability to keep this series going with lovable characters and exciting plots! This book had a very satisfying conclusion and yet still leaves aspects of an even bigger plot open for the series to continue. One of the best things about this series is how much all of the books connect to one another as their plots intersect. Even if it's through the smallest detail, something from previous books pops up and can be seen in a whole new light. Not only does this make for a wonderfully fluid series as a whole, but it also makes rereading the previous books that much more enjoyable as you notice little hints and clues you didn't catch the first time around...
As always Whyborne and Griffin are SUCH a great couple! I just love them to pieces! In this book, Whyborne is dealing with his connection to the maelstrom in Widdershins that he connected to in book 5 "Bloodline". Meanwhile, Griffin is trying to solve a case that he ends up needing Whyborne's help with. If you remember from the last book, "Hoarfrost", the Mother of Shadows gave Griffin the ability to see magic/arcane energy. I freakin LOVE THIS! Now that Griffin has this ability (his 'shadowsight' as he calls it) he's able to assist Whyborne by pointing out what he sees. I love how they work together by Griffin using his sight and Whyborne using his power.
Christine and Iskander are finally getting married! I loved seeing Iskander getting all worked up about making the right impression to Widdershin's society by having the perfect wedding...poor thing. Too bad Christine couldn't give a damn what anyone thinks no matter what :P
One of the best things about this book, for me, was actually Niles Whyborne. Niles has always been a bit of an antagonist throughout the series. Not in a "take over the world" bad guy sort of way...but just as an obstacle Whyborne had to deal with all the time. Someone that, as a reader, you didn't like because after reading about him through Whyborne's POV you see him as a cold, aloof, and uncaring father. I've always thought of Niles as an ok guy...sure he lacks emotion and certainly won't be named "Father of the Year" anytime soon, but he's always tried to do the best for his family. It's just that, for him, the best means money, a good house, clothes, food, and basically wanting for nothing in the physical sense. It never occurs to him that his family would also need love and emotional support. But I really do think that he's always cared about his family. Maybe not in an "unconditional love" sort of way like Heliabel but in his own way...Whyborne is sooooo different from his siblings. Niles probably had no freakin clue what to do with him after all his other children responded well to their upbringing. What was he supposed to do with this scrawny, sickly child with no ambition?? No. Damn. Clue. So he does the only thing he knows from his own upbringing and life experiences...he pushes and intimidates, because isn't that how he gets his rivals and competition to fall into line and bend to his will? Why should raising his son be any different? The man only knows how to bully and intimidate and bribe. He knows NOTHING of love and nurturing...so I think it's important to notice the ways he DOES show his affection: sending monetary donations to the museum, inviting Griffin along to dinner and holidays, things like that. In "Maelstrom", Niles offers the use of Whyborne House for Christine and Iskander's wedding which Whyborne assumes is some sort of new way to bribe him or make him owe Niles a favor. All those years as the disappointing son has made Whyborne quite bitter towards his father and unable to see anything he does as an act of kindness. So I really loved that Niles is realizing that he f**ked up with his family-with Whyborne especially-and is seeking to make amends. I loved that Niles and Whyborne get a chance to hash out all their crap and maybe get a second chance at being a family of some sort. (Wow...sorry that rant kind of got away from me.)
One lovely surprise in this book was Miss Parkhurst. She's always made little appearances in each book as Whyborne's secretary but in "Maelstrom" she has a little bit bigger of a role and I loved that! She's such a cutie and I really hope we see more of her in books to come.