I was first approached to read this series in 2017. At that time I hadn’t heard of Sebastian St Cyr and was hesitant to read the twelfth book in the series, so I read the first book with the intention of reading the series before this one, but sadly that was overly ambitious and I only had time for book 1 and then moved right into this one.
At that time I enjoyed the mystery and didn’t feel lost in the mystery itself, but definitely felt lost with some of the other plot points threaded through out the series. As a result, I felt that it was a worthy while read but I missed the nuances of the narrative and didn’t focus on the mystery as much because I was trying to figure out what had changed since the first book.
Now that I am re-reading the entire series from beginning to end, I am finally back to where it all began, with the twelfth book and I was eager to see if I enjoyed it more or less this time around.
London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he’s never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a 15-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory. One of London’s many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin’s fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished.
Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city’s most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: Someone from society’s upper echelon is preying upon the city’s most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm. (Summary from Goodreads)
Take Two Review
I enjoyed this one so much more this time around! I felt like I could really focus on the mystery and appreciate all the ways in which the characters have changed from book one until now. This mystery was like Law and Order SVU meets Regency England, it was fantastic and intriguing. I couldn’t get enough of the story and was up much later than anticipated night after night until I finally finished!
When I read it the first time through, I felt as though it could be read as a standalone, and I still stand by that notion, but there was so so so much that happened to Sebastian in the other books especially in regards to his family that I felt like added so much to this story and I was glad I went back and read the other books in the series so that I could get that full experience.
This murder not only made me uneasy, but it was down right disturbing and even though I had read the next two books in the series one time through, I think I am going to enjoy my re-read of them both even more now. This mystery was solid and had lots of potential suspects and motives but continued to circle around a couple of key characters. Up until now, Sebastian has used the lives the victims to construct a motive and potential suspects but in this book, the victims are random and no real motive seems evident which makes this book unique in the series and I can’t say enough positive things about it. I think this one is one of my favorites in the series. An excellent installment.
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