I read this after reading the whole Steel & Stone series, so my perspective and expectations for this book were likely influenced by that since the love interest in this one, Lyre, was an important character in the other series. I think I fell for Lyre’s playful incubus act at the start of S&S, but I could also see how loyal he was as a friend, and I just wanted to be best friends with him. As the series went on, it became more and more clear that there was more to him than it first seemed, that he was actually very clever and cunning and dangerous, and then he became even more interesting to me and quite possibly my favorite character in the series. So I was really looking forward to getting to know more about his past (since this series takes place before S&S).
Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out this book had Lyre’s POV as well as Clio’s! It was a great way to finally really get to know him more, and it also allowed the reader to see important things. We even got to see how his friendship with Ash started.
I liked Clio too. Sometimes I found her to be kind of inept, stumbling through her entire mission haphazardly, really not being very good at the spying or the deception required, but then I reminded myself that she was just out of her league, and I would most definitely be even more of a mess in that situation than she was. And I realized that I liked that part of her because it was relatable. Often times characters are super confident and smooth and competent and not at all freaked out by going into dangerous situations, so Clio was realistic in this regard. And when it really came down to it, she pulled herself together and managed to handle herself really well.
I also like how Annette Marie has made the incubi in this world truly dangerous and powerful in their own way. Well, I mean, Lyre’s family are especially dangerous because of their weaving skills, but even normal incubi have that aphrodesia magic that can take away a woman’s will (and maybe even a man’s if the incubus is powerful enough—I would still like to know about that time mentioned in one of the other books when Lyre apparently proved that to Ash lol). It’s also impressive how the author doesn’t shy away from the fact that incubi are all about sex, yet she still manages to keep it YA (albeit a kind of older YA).
The weaving, that was very cool too. This author always does a great job describing magic and making it super interesting.
The plot and pacing were where I had a couple minor issues. I thought this book was kind of slow until it got near the end, but I might just feel that way because I was expecting this to be more like the S&S books, which were often fast-paced and action-packed from start to finish. This was also different from S&S in that it seemed pretty romance-focused, and I guess that kind of threw me off a bit too. But neither of these things made the book bad, they just weren’t what I was expecting.
If anyone who hasn’t read either series yet is now wondering which one they should start with, I’d say either probably works. Both series stand on their own. However, I think Steel & Stone might do a better job of world-building and explaining everything about the daemons, so it might be helpful to read that one first for that reason.
But overall, I really enjoyed being back in this unique world that Annette Marie has created, I liked getting to experience Lyre’s POV, I liked Clio as a main character, and I thought all the magic was incredible!
Anyone who likes new adult urban fantasy, incubi, romance, action, and lots of magic.