Review: “Night Season,” Eileen Wilks

Pros: Cynna and Cullen’s relationship
Cons: This volume reminds me more of other urban fantasy worlds
Rating: 4 out of 5

Eileen Wilks’s Night Season (The World of the Lupi, Book 4) didn’t catch me up quite as much as the three previous volumes, but it’s still quite good. Don’t get me wrong–I love finally getting to see Cynna and Cullen’s relationship grow, and it’s delightful that their partnership doesn’t require the use of the ‘mate-bond’ that thrust Lily and Rule together. Most series would stick with that format, and it’s delightful to see an author who’s willing to do very different things with different relationships. That said, Lily and Rule have been such delightful characters so far that I didn’t feel ready to have a book that doesn’t include them. That’s a great compliment to Ms. Wilks’s ability to create great characters and relationships. Also, while Ruben (Cynna and Lily’s boss at the FBI) does show up in this one, and we learned a little more about him, he was absent for most of the book, which felt odd once he’d been swept up into events.

Edge, the world that Cynna, Cullen, and a few others get pulled off to, is an interesting locale. The only thing that keeps it stable is a medallion that’s been stolen, and that will destroy the minds of anyone who picks it up who isn’t supposed to (and it chooses its own bearer). Cynna has been brought here to use her Gift to Find the medallion. It’s gone far enough away, of course, that Finding it will be tricky at best. And of course there are plenty of dangerous things to get caught up in along the way.

It’s nice to start seeing a little more regarding the dragons at the beginning of the book. We also get to learn quite a bit about gnomes, and even a bit about the Sidhe (although not much). Gan–the demon who’s been growing a soul–has an extended role in Night Season, and it’s fun to watch as she gradually learns what it means to not be a demon. It isn’t an easy road for her, and learning proper behavior comes to her both slowly and painfully.

Cynna and Cullen have a great relationship. It takes on the combative, not-quite-trusting nature that I’ve seen keep people apart in other romance novels, but it works out much better than I’m used to. It doesn’t feel artificially boosted. It feels as though they’re working their way through genuine and important conceptions and misconceptions, rather than exaggerated and mostly-imagined conflict. The difficulties they have in coming together make sense for them and their situation; it’s very much in keeping with their personalities.

I missed the earth-based context for the series in this novel. I guess in taking a trip to faerie (sort of) it made the book feel a little more like some of the other urban fantasy worlds out there, where before now the series somehow managed to make everything feel new, including werewolves and dragons. It’s still a great read, however!

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