My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a truly lovely story with a really strong sense of place.
It skirts between a pseudo almost medieval feeling, with herbology and apothecaries, small villages and bawdy houses, through into the references of railways and bigger cities, and it works well.
The fantasy side comes with talk of auras, fated pairings and possible werewolves, but overall it feels like a low industrial steampunk vibe.
Or, as my lovely friend Dani eloquently describes – it’s Dickensian in feel (why that escaped me I do not know 🤣 )
I loved all the characters, not just our two heroes. Each of the lads who works at the Moon Flower has a unique personality and the town itself is vividly created.
Azriel and Galen are super sweet and clearly attracted to each other from the start. There’s an interesting plot device used by Christina to help their physical relationship grow, which I really loved.
There’s some angsty bits, but it never becomes overdone, and even the “villain” of the piece is more of a hindrance rather than a definite threat.
Still, the pacing was good, the ending ties up nicely for the two young men and leads into the groundwork of what will be the second, and concluding, book.
I’m intrigued for that one as it concerns one of the lads who another is convinced is actually a werewolf who’s forgotten he is one.
Another cool idea which I’m eager to discover is where Christina will take her story setting!
The cover is also utterly fabulous by the extremely talented Sarah Jo Chreene.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.