Title: Balefire (Whyborne & Griffin #10)
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Genre(s): Historical, Romance, Paranormal
Page Count: TBC
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Whyborne’s Endicott relatives have returned to collect on the promise he made to help them take back their ancestral manor from an evil cult. In exchange, they’ll give him the key to deciphering the Wisborg Codex, which Whyborne needs to learn how to stop the masters.
To that end, Whyborne, his husband Griffin, and their friends Iskander and Christine travel to a small island off the coast of Cornwall. But when they arrive at Balefire Manor, Whyborne must not only face the evil within the ancient mansion, but the painful truth about his own destiny.
The mark of a good series is that there is always more to tell and it doesn’t feel tired or forced, such is the case here. By the time the reader gets to number 10 in the series, characterisation is largely already given and this is certainly the case with the core characters presented here. There are new characters introduced and where they are anything other than contextualisation of the setting and survive the rigours of the plot; it is likely that we will see them again. Of these, there is one that is both young and brings a new variant of the magical system. Hopefully, he will return to bring a different voice to the next book.
The plot is rich and utilises both the environment and the magical system to good effect. The location is new but feels to be part of the same magical world. Tension is introduced throughout where the twists and turns of the story place effective obstacles in the way of the central characters. There is loss of life and characters at key points. It should be noted that where a large number of characters are summarily removed from the plot, there is no clear or definitive exploration of what becomes of them.
There are baddies of differing power and influence that are dealt with largely without loss. Some of the weaker ones go easily, though the main baddies tend to take a more concerted effort to overcome. There is one case however where the baddie is eliminated far too easily.
The theme of family and the importance of children are driven home throughout the story. Although to one of the central characters this is likely to be important, this seemed a little too heavy handed and unnecessary to the plot overall.
There is limited passion in this story as the central relationship is well established and such things can be overdone. There are moments of passion and these handled effectively. There is clearly a strong and abiding love between individual pairings as well as the close-knit central group.
The pace of the story is slow, to begin with as the story needed to be set up and new characters and locations presented. However, once this is done, the story offers a good adventure that has clear development and purpose and is sufficiently different from the books that have gone before to raise the tension and excitement.
As would be expected, the end of the story resolves the current plotline but there is certainly more to be said, as the ultimate struggle is yet to be concluded. I look forward to the next and final book in the series.