While Case of Possession, the second book in the Magpie series by KJ Charles, feels like a filler book, it’s still exceptionally entertaining and well written. The characters are wonderful with incredibly clean, evocative writing and the plot is absorbing. I do feel as though the mystery was a bit rushed and not as thorough as the previous book. Perhaps that’s because this particular outing offered more focus on Lucien and Stephen’s deepening relationship so time on the who-dun-it had to be sacrificed. It’s a minor compliant though and I’m more convinced than ever this author is a really stunning writer. I’m going to look for everything she’s written and dive in happily.
This time around Stephen is looking into a mysterious case of huge rats (ROUSes!) that have murdered several people in London while trying to stay off his boss’ watch list. His relationship with Lucien, the Magpie Lord, has caused Stephen’s powers to increase significantly and he’s under suspicion. Terrified of outing himself and Lucien, Stephen tries to handle all the problems himself. When an old friend attempts to blackmail Lucien then is mysteriously murdered, Lucien is drawn into Stephen’s case. Together they must solve a decades old disappearance and murder before anymore people die, all under the watchful nose of Stephen’s partner Mrs. Gold.
Once again the story starts with a bang and only gets better. Charles’ writing is so engaging, with charming characters and an absorbing plot, that I read almost a third of the book before I took a breath. I get lost in these stories so easily and happily. The relationship between Lucien and Stephen has been going on for several months now and Lucien only wants more of the tiny powerhouse witch. It’s gratifying and amusing to see Stephen with the control over the relationship while Lucien is the dominating one in bed. Their personalities compliment one another exceedingly well, which makes both the romance and ‘working’ relationship interesting and entertaining to read. Both characters continue to be nuanced and complicated men with more layers continuously added to them. I liked how the relationship between the men deepened but also the minor struggles both have to go through to come to terms with communicating their feelings.
On the flip side the mystery portion – the question of the long ago missing/dead shaman and girl in China – is interesting and absorbing. I didn’t put all the pieces together at first and I felt as though the story was rushing through the mystery component. The story itself reads incredibly quick, owing to all the action and wonderful writing, so the resolution and ending seems to come faster than I was anticipating. All the components are there but in comparison to the massively complex plot of the previous book, this mystery feels watered down and not as thorough. As if it’s a very intriguing vehicle to progress the main romance further. I don’t mind that and certainly do not hold it against the book, but I was hoping for something strong enough to stand on its own. That said I really quite enjoyed where the story went with the China connection and I love all the details that went into the who-dun-it.
A Case of Possession is another fantastic book in the series and an easy book to recommend. Although it can likely be read as a stand alone, I’d suggest reading the series in order to get a fuller understanding and appreciation of the main characters and their relationship. Furthermore the secondary characters – from Mrs. Gold to Merrick to Leo – are truly phenomenal. KJ Charles knows how to write complex characters with real dimension and depth and that skill extends to even briefly seen cast members. This series has so much potential and I urge readers to start now. It’s more than worth it and I look forward to enjoying everything this author has to offer.