I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Evernight is book 5 in the Darkest London series that is romance, paranormal, historical, supernatural, mystery, suspense, and steampunk. I'm not usually a big reader of paranormal, supernatural, or steampunk but I am starting to love each book in this series more than the previous; do not be scared away if you also don't usually read books with these elements. Kristen Callihan has created a world that is wildly imaginative and intricate with captivating characters. This book is dangerously close to being the best I have read so far in 2014.
If you have read the earlier books in the series you will remember Holly Evernight, Will Thorne, and the horrific circumstances that brought them together. This picks up a couple months after the previous book and Will is on the hunt for Holly to exact revenge for the part she played while he was a captive. When he meets up with her, he is unpleasantly surprised that any advantage he might have had are useless against Holly. This is due to Holly being an elemental; while also being a genius inventor Holly can control metal. Will was originally half human and demon but now having a clockwork heart made out of platinum that over time seeps throughout his body turning him all metal, he is consequently at the mercy of Holly. Will finds a relief and control over the metal in his body that he never had without Holly and Holly finds a protector against unknown assassins trying to kill her; thus we have our two protagonists bound together.
I have now thrown out the terms, elemental, demon, and clockwork heart, which if you haven't read the series could make you feel confused and overwhelmed. There is no way for me to shortly and coherently summarize all the components that make up this incredible world Ms. Callihan has created. Suffice to say there is the group Suppression of Supernaturals (SOS) who Holly works for and is dedicated to protecting humans from rogue supernaturals and the Nex, a group of supernaturals who wouldn't mind revealing themselves to humans and being in charge, who Will previously worked for. The battle of these two groups is the main tree that the rest of the story arcs branch from but we also have the Ghosts in the Machine (GIM) former humans who have died but been brought back to life with clockwork hearts that flitter between both sides, a bigger spotlight in this book on the fae, and introduction to the Alamut, a group of shadowy assassins. There are also appearances by past main characters that involve a werewolf, more elementals, and a half angel. Again, this can all sound overwhelming but Ms. Callihan does an amazing job of describing, introducing, and interweaving all of these components, without info dumping, world building in such a way that everything is so fantastical. This book would definitely be better read as part of the series so everything is understood but I'm here to tell you the main couple, Will and Holly, are great enough together for someone to randomly pick this book up and read as a standalone.
Holly is a very composed and literal individual, which probably stems from her being a genius and tinkering with mechanics all the time. She also suffers from agoraphobia due to her imprisonment where she meets Will. Will is used to decadence, dirty talk, and general shenanigans due to his demon side. There is some resentment from Will as he blames Holly for what he has become because she created his clockwork heart but that dissipates fairly quickly as he realizes she was as much a victim as him. The way he teases and brings out her feisty side will have you grinning ear to ear and the poignant scenes with such deep heartfelt emotion between the two will have your heart feeling two sizes too big for your chest. Holly tries to keep a wall up enough times that you may find yourself getting angry at her before she finally gives in while I know readers are going to fall helplessly in love with Will. Their out of the bedroom and in the bedroom scenes are scorching. The sexual chemistry made up of anticipation, push/pull, desire, and the way Will calls Holly "love" and dirty talks, will have you fanny yourself. This couple also has such lightness to them when they are together that reading about them is immensely pleasing.
Everything happening is so intriguing that there is never a dull moment and I never wanted to put the book down. I did feel Holly recovered from her agoraphobia pretty quickly and the ending felt somewhat rushed as certain things seemed to be wrapped up with too tidy of bows; these are rather small complaints, though. Even with all the complex story arcs swirling around Will and Holly they were dynamic enough to remain front and center, never over powered by the story. This series started off good and only improves with each book; this latest one is my favorite. Whether you like paranormal, supernatural, or romance this series and especially this book more than delivers. I will definitely be anxiously anticipating the next in the series which will be about Adam, the father of the GIMs and Eliza, Holly's cousin.