Dana reviews Unhallowed (Rath & Rune Book 1) by Jordan L. Hawk. (Published July 17, 2020. 279 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: It was a no-brainer decision since I love this author’s SPECTR series, Whyborne & Griffin series, and Hexworld series. I am expecting I will love this one just as much.
Monsters. Murder. Librarians.
Librarian Sebastian Rath is the only one who believes his friend Kelly O’Neil disappeared due to foul play. But without any clues or outside assistance, there’s nothing he can do to prove it.
When bookbinder Vesper Rune is hired to fill the vacancy left by O’Neil, he receives an ominous letter warning him to leave. After he saves Sebastian from a pair of threatening men, the two decide to join forces and get to the truth about what happened to O’Neil.
But Vesper is hiding secrets of his own, ones he doesn’t dare let anyone learn. Secrets that grow ever more dangerous as his desire for Sebastian deepens.
Because Kelly O’Neil was murdered. And if Sebastian and Ves don’t act quickly enough, they’ll be the next to die.
In this author’s Whyborne and Griffin series we were told a tale about a sorcerer whose blood was a mix of human and non-human, and he and his twin sister were created to be a part of the Maelstrom that lives beneath the town of Widdershins. Of course there is a lot more than that. There was romance, danger, action. In a town such as Widdershins, the people didn’t flaunt the oddities, but the paranormal was not unknown. The townspeople often stepped up and helped the main characters when the battles came, particularly the Librarians of the Ladysmith Museum. Unknown to the main characters, the Librarians were a force to be reckoned with, and they had pledged to protect Widdershins at all cost. Now in Unhallowed, we meet some of the librarians a little more closely and we get the chance to see them shine.
This story takes place a few years after the events in Deosil, the last book of the W&G series. Vesper Rune has come to Widdershins to work as a binder at the library and he may or may not have some nefarious business to handle as well. Growing up Vesper was raised by his occultist mother and grandfather to welcome in the “Masters” but he didn’t have the stomach for the killing that went along with it so he and his brother escaped. Now he arrives in the town where the battle actually happened, though he doesn’t seem to know that detail. Vesper is a pretty decent guy, but he is being played by a con artist follower of another cult, and he and his brother have some pretty big secrets to hide about their own genetics.
Sebastian Rath appeared briefly in Deosil, when he ventured out from Widdershins to warn Whyborne about the things happening in the town. He had injured himself doing so, so we didn’t get to see him in action. Sebastian is a normal human but he has seen quite a bit living where he does, and he might just be the right person to care for Ves and his brother Noct. His own family has flaunted the rules of society and are accepting of his attraction to men and they want to help Ves and Noct even if they are the Dark Young.
Before they can try for a happy ending, though, they must stop the man who is trying to bind himself to a book and the evil spirit who’s bones it is made from. There is also a possible murderer among the librarians who is also trying to use the book. Hailey’s Comet is appearing in the sky and the town and the country are on edge about that as well. It definitely plays a part in what is happening in Widdershins and there is an exciting and nerve-wracking fight to protect the town before the end. With one book rebound and safe, there are three more Books of the Bound that need to be found and protected. I look forward so much to staying in this town even though the main characters of the previous series have traveled across the world. I really enjoyed meeting these new characters and look forward to more.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 stars
Jordan L. Hawk is a trans author from North Carolina. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave him a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When he isn’t writing, he brews his own beer and tries to keep the cats from destroying the house. His best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook.