Title: Stranger (Blades of the Rose #4)
Author: Zoe Archer
Publisher: Zebra 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Summer Romance - Paranormal; Books Around the World - England
How I Got It: I own it! (from the Borders closing sale)
Gemma Murphy has a nose for a story - even if the boys in Chicago's newsrooms would rather focus on her chest. So when she runs into a handsome man of mystery discussing how to save the world from fancy-pants Brit conspirators, she's sensing a scoop. Especially when he mentions there's magic involved. Of course, getting him on the record would be easier if he hadn't caught her eavesdropping...Catullus Graves knows what it's like to be shut out: his ancestors were slaves. And he's a genius inventor with appropriately eccentric habits, so even people who love him find him a little odd. But after meeting a certain redheaded scribbler, he's thinking of other types of science. Inconvenient, given that he needs to focus on preventing the end of the world as we know it. But with Gemma's insatiable curiosity sparking Catullus' inventive impulses, they might set off something explosive anyway...
The last book of the series definitely got back on track. After the ridiculous revelation from the third book, Rebel, I was glad to see the story get back on track. The characters, both new and old, made the book feel like an epic. Everyone coming together from across the world to fight the Heirs and take back the Primal Source made for a great adventure. I loved seeing more of Bennett, London, Astrid, Lesperance, Gabriel, and Thalia. The Heirs were appropriately vile. But it was Catullus and Gemma that shined the most. I loved Gemma's tenacious spirit and Catullus' cool intellect. They make a perfect pairing. I really bought the romance.
As to the story, I appreciated the inclusion of the mythical beings of England. A nice touch to see pixies and trolls and Queen Mab. When Catullus and Gemma journey into the Otherworld, I was momentarily reminded of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. Thankfully, this book took the story to a new and different version of Otherworld. I especially loved the encounters with Queen Mab and of course Merlin. And finally, the epic battle was worthy of the end of the series. Everything was larger than life (some things literally) and the danger was great. Of course the Blades win, but with great losses. I was satisfied to see that there were injuries and losses. This wasn't some magical battle where the good guys come through unscathed while vanquishing all their enemies. This was a real battle.
Overall, I've really enjoyed this series. While I wasn't a fan of Archer's contribution to the Bianca D'Arc's zombie series, this one definitely drew me in. I loved the mix of magic, romance, and adventure. I even got some geography and culture thrown in for good measure. Recommend!
Blades of the Rose