This post includes reviews of the books in the Diviner’s Game series:
- Bishop to Knight One (#1)
- Knight to Castle Two (#2)
- Queen to King Three (#3)
Bishop to Knight One (Diviner’s Game #1)
When I tried to read an earlier edition of this book, I didn’t get very far. A few months later, I read other books by this author and fell in love with her creativity and writing style. So, when I found out she had released a revised version of this book, I knew I had to give it a second chance. Though it does have some lingering editorial issues, none of the elements that bugged me the first time around remained. I ended up binge-reading this entire trilogy in a single weekend, and I loved every moment of it.
Cody solidly roots her worldbuilding for this universe in a few basic tenets that still result in a lot of seeming bureaucracy. However, what makes it all so complicated is also what makes it so intriguing and fun. Deejay and Matt are good men to their core, but it’s important to note that they are not human men. The non-human world is particularly violent, despite the guidelines that seem to define the violence rather than mitigate it, and Deejay and Matt are very much part of that world. But their moments of magical and physical violence always stem from protecting their family, especially the children they have claimed as their own. This shared connection is what leads to their developing relationship, which is both sweet and spicy in appropriate turns.
The external storyline that envelops them as their relationship evolves is also deliciously twisty. These two heroes are protagonists in their own lives, obviously, but I started to get the impression that they’re not exactly the heroes of the overall story. Cody introduces plenty of other characters along the way, and I found myself equally drawn to them and invested in their potential relationships. Overall, the story ends the way the opening book in a trilogy should: with a solid moment of connection for the main characters and plenty of opportunities for further storytelling. (I can’t make any predictions here because I wrote this after finishing the full trilogy, but I will acknowledge that the next book did not go in the direction I expected.)
Knight to Castle Two (Diviner’s Game #2)
I mentioned at the end of my review of the previous book in this trilogy that I originally had a few ideas of where this series might go. I did not expect it to go back to the very beginning of the story! The events of this book interact and overlap closely with those in Bishop to Knight One, which is always a neat trick. Technically, we already know how this story ends—but Loki and Gage play very different roles, revealing multiple layers to this trilogy’s over-arcing plot. Along the way, we also learn more about the characters of Loki and Gage and how what the other Houston non-humans assume about their Headsman could not be farther from the truth.
It is possible for morally gray characters in a complicated relationship to also be absolutely adorable, and Loki and Gage manage this in spades. Their romance arc does not follow the expected genre beats for multiple reasons, but I found myself completely invested in their story and character development. So many authors employ the “fated mates” trope as an excuse for insta-love, but Cody leans into her amazing world-building to create a unique take on the concept. What would be viewed as an obsessive and unhealthy codependent connection in a contemporary romance can’t be judged by the same rules here, because Loki and Gage aren’t human. When they’re not being adorable, this pair is also incredibly hot, even when Cody once again bucks genre expectations by blurring the definitions of sex.
I’m learning that this is not a series about good guys. It’s even better, in that it’s a story about well-developed characters doing good things in a world with some vastly different ideas about good versus evil. Cody may be writing paranormal romance, but her creativity and storytelling ability officially make her one of my favorite overall urban fantasy authors.
Queen to King Three (Diviner’s Game #3)
Once again, we return to the beginning of the story for the final installment of this trilogy. This time, the focus is on Robbie and Chanda, along with their developing relationship. We finally get some answers about both men, including Robbie’s true identity and the role Chanda has played in this entire game. It turns out these are the characters who have been most relevant all along, and their romance arc feels more like a bonus treat to accompany the compelling external plot.
For all the danger and intrigue so far, it turns out this has been all a game—and Chanda is the protagonist of the entire scheme. That being said, Cody has excelled at making every point of view character the hero of their own story, with the freedom to make choices and mistakes, despite the later revelation that the Diviners are tugging on certain strings. This book features plenty of amazing plot twists considering we technically already know what always happens next, and I was blown away by Cody’s ability to craft such a layered and intricate story.
It’s hard to pick a favorite of the three romances in this trilogy because each was as different as the featured characters. Once again, Cody upends everything I thought I knew about Robbie. Even his true personality is a bundle of delightful surprises, and I was impressed by how his anxiety is a defining aspect of his character but did not define his character. Chanda’s love for Robbie also does not fix him; instead, Chanda makes Robbie feel safe enough to express his true strength, giving him the space to act instead of constantly react.
This book wraps up the majority of the plotlines established in this trilogy but leaves plenty of larger questions unanswered. Cody’s talent with secondary characters also means I’m already excited to read more about them and extend my stay in this fantastic urban fantasy world.