Marcus Helios was a member of the Shadow Guard until one reckless act changed it all, bringing him to the edge of madness. His hope for salvation lies in a cryptic message contained within two cryptic scrolls he believes to be in the possession of an enigmatic beauty named Mina. And Mina is not about to hand over the scrolls’ secrets to a total stranger.
But someone else has designs on the mysterious relics, and on Mark: Jack the Ripper’s jilted bride. Her malevolent embrace will trap everyone within reach, and her dark plans will challenge the powers of all she is destined to destroy.
In SO STILL THE NIGHT we pick up the story about 6 months after the end of NIGHT FALLS DARKLY, in which Mark Helios, Lord Alexander, sacrificed himself to the dark side by going into Transcension (the state of the soul where it is possible to cross to the Inner Realm and destroy the Immortals) in order to defeat the soul of Jack the Ripper and save his fellow Shadow Guard, Archer Black, and his beloved. Mark is now banished and the Primordial Council of the Amaranthine Inner Realm has ordered his capture and execution. The only way for Mark to save himself is to find a few ancient scrolls that hold the secret to the reversal of Transcension. These scrolls are in the hands of Mina Limpett, whose father is in search of the secrets of Immortality. Mark has managed to keep from succumbing to the madness of Transcension but time is definitely running out, not only his time but also that of the entire mortal and immortals population.
Mina is an adventurous woman. She is independent, intelligent, sassy and caring. Her father’s quest for everything linked to immortality has left her penniless when she is confronted with the enigmatic Lord Alexander, who is trying to seduce her into handing over her father’s discoveries. She seems immune, or rather she wants to think she’s immune to Mark’s seductive charm but soon she is unable to resist his lure.
Mark is a real charmer; he has no trouble enchanting the ladies and has no scruples about using them for his own benefit. He is also ambitious and determined to be the best at what he does. The fact that he has been banished from the Shadow Guards consumes him and he’ll go to any length to redeem himself. He starts his seduction of Mina with only the much-needed scrolls in mind, and the fact that he is also physically attracted to her is an added bonus. But before long the mutual attraction intensifies to something deeper and more profound.
This was another great installment in the Shadow Guards series. It’s refreshing, original, suspenseful and romantic. I have to admit I quite liked Leeson (the servant to Archer from book 1 and Mark’s helper in this book), he brought a touch of dry humor wrapped in all-knowing wisdom that I absolutely appreciated and welcomed. In this installment I learned more about the Amaranthine world as Kim Lenox is expanding the world slowly providing more rules, knowledge and background about the Council and the Shadow Guards. There’s also an introduction of a new group of Shadow Guards whom I suspect will be playing an important role in future books: The Raven.
Comparing SO STILL THE NIGHT to NIGHT FALLS DARKLY I must say that NIGHT FALLS DARKLY wins the favorite title but it’s very close. The end of the first book was rounded up neater than this one. SO STILL THE NIGHT ended a bit more confusing and with a major cliffhanger that raised a lot of questions that will no doubt be answered in the next book. However, overall the plot in SO STILL THE NIGHT was more elaborate and more intriguing. I am very curious as to where Kim Lenox is taking this world of the Shadow Guards. I have faith she is taking us to a good place and I have the feeling that there is so much more to this world than has been displayed in these first two books. I really love the world building, the characters and the overall plot arc that is continued throughout the separate books, with a partial conclusion in each one, adding to the whole.
With SO STILL THE NIGHT Kim Lenox brings her readers back to the gritty London scene at the end of the 19th century. She mixes that vivid setting with an impressive and unique paranormal world, which she builds up thoroughly and consistently, and the cherry on the pie is the romance between Mark and Mina. I am ready for Selene’s story now.
Was it possible she’d grown lovelier since he’d last seen her? His eyes narrowed. Perhaps it was simply the fact that she’d shot him. He’d always admired women who handled their weaponry confidently, and well.
Leeson and Mark about seducing Mina:
“So what is your plan to seduce the girl?”
Mark flinched. Were his methods so predictable? So clichéd?
The old man prodded. “Come on now. We’re not tow rascals telling tales. This is strategy. Have you managed to bed her yet?”
“Don’t be shy, boy. Have you danced the horizontal polka or no?”