- Read my review of the first book in the Rath & Rune series, Unhallowed.
We return to Widdershins to continue the quest set up by the events in the first book. Sebastian and Ves, though still retaining their jobs at the Ladysmith Museum library, have the blessing of Head Librarian Mr. Quinn to seek out the remaining Books of the Bound. The surface-level plot of this story revolves around that mission, beginning with a murder mystery and ending with a high-stakes battle for their very lives.
The intricates ways this plot highlights the theme of family bonds in this book is where Hawk’s writing shines. Mr. Quinn even states plainly at one point that family can be blood and/or chosen, but not necessarily the same either way. Ves learns that he and his brother Noct might not be as safe from their blood relatives as they thought. Sebastian uncovers more secrets about his own bloodline, both regarding his mother and how he might be more closely bound to the Books than by magic alone. In true Widdershins fashion, the town’s top families are also closely entwined with what’s going on. Also in true Widdershins fashion, Hawk doesn’t shy away from certain horror elements that I think make this series a true cross-genre novel rather than a typical paranormal romance.
The mystery and action might lead the pacing of this book, but plenty of moments still exist that allow this book to keep the romance tag. Ves and Sebastian continue to settle into their relationship, with a few understandable hiccups along the way. I love that while the conflict does touch on Ves not being completely human, it’s still completely relatable to any romantic dynamic. This book also features a surprise romantic subplot around other characters, hinted at in brief moments, that I completely swooned over.
Though this second book did not enthrall me as much as the first in the series, I still enjoyed it immensely. The entire cast of main characters continues to be a delight, and I look forward to another visit to Widdershins when the search for the next Book of the Bound becomes available.