Marc and Dana review Balefire (Whyborne &Griffin #10) by Jordan L. Hawk (Published by Widdershins Press, July 13, 2018, 306 pages)
Note: a copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Check out MtSnow’s interview with Julian G. Simmons (Whyborne & Griffin narrator) HERE.
Check out MtSnow, Marc, and Dana’s review of ‘Draakenwood’ (Whyborne & Griffin 9) HERE.
Check out Dana and Marc’s review of ‘Undertow’ (Whyborne & Griffin 8.5) HERE
Check out Marc’s review of ‘Fallow’ (Whyborne & Griffin 8) HERE.
Check out Marc’s review of ‘Maelstrom’ (Whyborne & Griffin 7) HERE.
Check out Marc’s review of ‘Hoarfrost’ (Whyborne &Griffin 6) [Audiobook] HERE.
Check out Marc’s review of ‘Bloodline’ (Whyborne & Griffin 5) HERE.
Whyborne’s Endicott relatives have returned to collect on the promise he made to help them take back their ancestral manor from an evil cult. In exchange, they’ll give him the key to deciphering the Wisborg Codex, which Whyborne needs to learn how to stop the masters.
To that end, Whyborne, his husband Griffin, and their friends Iskander and Christine travel to a small island off the coast of Cornwall. But when they arrive at Balefire Manor, Whyborne must not only face the evil within the ancient mansion, but the painful truth about his own destiny.
After book 9 in this series, I thought that book 10 would be the final one, where the Masters came to WIddershins and had to be fought off. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to the grand finale, but I also know it will be near impossible to say goodbye to these characters. I was glad, when Jordan L. Hawk announced that there would be an 11th and last book called ‘Deosil’ (clockwise, as opposed to ‘Widdershins’, which means counter-clockwise). Not just because this series is my favorite book series right now and every book seems to only get better, but because I really wanted to find out a bit more about the Masters and hoped Percival would get more time to prepare. With this book you will get all of that, but it does in no way feel like a filler.
Percival has by now discovered that he and his sister are sparks of the Maelstrom in the flesh. They are supposed to stop the Masters (ancient and super powerful extraterrestrial beings, who are worshipped as gods by some and want all beings on earth to be their devoted slaves). Their blood is half from the most powerful line of sorcerers and half from the Ketoi, a race of underwater warriors. The combination makes them extremely strong and Percival and his love Griffin have come to terms with what it all meaans for them on a personal level. Still, we have seen that the Endicott sorcerers of whom they are decendents of, have much greater knowledge of all magical things. Unfortunately, they see Percival Endicott Whyborne not as family, but as abomination due to his Ketoi blood.
In this book, they need Percival’s help. Widdershins is preparing for war and all of Percival’s allies are gathering in the city. Still, he heeds the call for help, leaving Widdershins under his sister’s protection, in order to get the key to translating a book with information about the Masters that they all desperately need to read to be prepared. Obviously it is hard to trust the Endicotts and most, if not all still see him as abomination, even though they need his help. I loved this tension between Percival and the Endicott clan he is related to, as well as to the Ketoi. There is a lot of history there, but seeing it play out on a more personal level was eye opening to me and made it easier to understand everything that’s going on.
There are new and interesting developments for characters we already know and love and we do not just get important information on the Endicott history, but the mythology as we know it is blown wide open and expanded. There are many twists and turns and everything clicks together in a new way.
And if you think that without the arrival of the Masters the main conflict of this book would be a walk in the park for the MCs, think again. Percival and his friends have to witness unspeakable horrors and fight against a foe, who seem so powerful and invincible, that I had doubts the MCs could make it out alive, even though logically that would be highly unlikely.
This was one of the longest books in the series with about 300 pages, but it is very fast-paced and I quickly devoured it (and loved every minute). This book had me at the edge of my seat, worried for the characters I love – but I was always thankful to get to spend more time with them and reading this book in my favorite series felt like coming home. These characters are family and the amazing story pulled me in from the beginning.
There is nothing I do not love about this book. I can’t recommend it and the entire series enough!!!
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Oh my goodness!!!! Well, I had heard that the Whyborne & Griffin series was starting to wrap up and there was a very climactic feel to this book. So far each book has had it’s own villain of sorts to fight and conquer with a “big bad” looming in the later books. Well, the big bad is so near, I can taste the fear. I didn’t mean for that to rhyme. 😉
Even as the town of Widdershins awaits the arrival of ancient evils, Whyborne’s family members request his help in England. (I must mention that I love the way the series hops locations showing us different parts of the world.) Leaving his twin Persephone behind to guard the town while he and Griffin and their friends Christine and Iskander go to help the Endicott family, Whyborne goes to help and also to retrieve some information that he hopes will be helpful in defeating the impending monsters.
After nine previous books, additional novellas, and more reviews than that, I don’t know if there is more I can really say about the main characters, Percival and Griffin. They have grown throughout the series, and I think they have reached who they are meant to be. Whyborne has become comfortable with himself, as a gay man, as the son of the wealthy and sometimes ruthless Niles Whyborne, as a sorcerer, and as someone not quite human. Griffin has faced down the monsters in his past and formed a sort of relationship with them, realizing he is stronger than he ever thought. Even though they have reached this point and have grown in confidence, there is no doubt they need each other. They work together so well and love each other even better.
Iskander and Christine, though, do have some changes coming up. Even though they would be considered secondary characters in terms of the love story between Griffin and Percival, their roles in the series are instrumental. You can’t have this series without them. Or without Percival’s family – his mom, his dad, and his sister and her girlfriend. Griffin’s family even plays a big role in the series. It’s an ensemble cast of characters each needed to make this series as great as it is. With the news Christine brings, there is a growth in her relationship with Whyborne’s mother. And since her own mom wasn’t a very good one, it was so awesome to see her discover she has a new family altogether.
I don’t know how things are going to go down in the next book, but this book was very eventful. There were times where I felt frustrated. There was a very real sense of danger, that someone could die in this book, and the fight they were fighting felt futile. Most of the Endicott family didn’t even appreciate their help. I spent a good amount of time worrying for their safety (and still worry) even though I also knew that the author would get them past this battle in order to fight what’s to come. There were also times when I felt my heart warm at seeing the love shared between the characters. Because of the emotions the author allowed me to feel with and for the characters, this is definitely a must read. The whole series is a must read. I can’t wait for the next book.
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.