“But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours.” – Lord Crane to Stephen Day
Flight of Magpies is the third book in K.J. Charles’ fabulous Charm of Magpies trilogy, and while I am so excited to finally read it, I can’t help but be sad that this magnificent series is coming to an end. Truly I think Charles had a breakthrough with The Magpie Lord, creating a story unlike any I have ever read. She managed to continue that success throughout the second book, and now once again with the third. It is all just fabulous, but before I get too far, let’s start from the beginning.
Although they are deeply committed to one another, things aren’t going so smoothly for Lucien Vaudrey, Lord Crane, and his boyfriend Stephen Day. Stephen is totally overworked in his job as a justicular, or magical law enforcer. His protege seems to be stealing from wealthy homes, someone magical is killing police officers, his partner is laid up sick, and Stephen has more work than he can possibly handle.
Things are even more complicated since Crane clearly hates it in London and is only staying in town to be with Stephen. Stephen knows Crane is making big sacrifices to be with him and wonders just how long it will last before Crane decides Stephen is not worth it. Stephen’s overwhelming sense of responsibility makes it impossible to walk away from his job, however, despite all the current challenges. Not to mention that something odd is going on in the sex/blood magical bond the two men have.
As things heat up with the investigations into the thefts and murders, the men soon learn that an old enemy is back, one who seeks to harm both Crane and Stephen, as well as to take advantage of Crane’s magical energy. As Stephen digs deeper into both cases, it becomes clear that they are not only related, but that their enemy is quite formidable. Rather than cracking under the strain however, the challenge instead brings Stephen and Crane together, determined to work as one to stop the crimes. But their enemy is strong and willing to use the men’s love for one another against them. It will take their combined strength to save themselves and stop the evil before it destroys them both.
So as I mentioned, this is the third book in the Charm of Magpies trilogy and I have to say I am just as impressed at the end as I was at the beginning. This series is truly thrilling, romantic, and so inventive, I really can’t say enough good things about it.
Charles creates something so clever here in her mix of historical and paranormal. The story is mostly set in the real (historical) world, but infused with the existence of magic, both good and evil. On one side, we have Stephen, determined to do good and to root out practitioners who are using their powers for evil. And on the other, we have the many folks who get greedy and power hungry and use their abilities to destroy. It sets up some great battles between good and evil throughout the series and makes for super exciting stories filled with suspense, tension, and truly terrifying moments. Once again we get so much excitement here as Stephen and Crane face off against an old enemy, nearly losing their lives. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see how it all ends.
This combination of genres also allows for some really fascinating world building and character development. On one hand we have Crane, descendant of the Magpie Lord who was the most powerful shaman ever in England. Crane has no power of his own, but is a channel that Stephen can tap into. For all of his extreme wealth, good looks, strength, and dominance, Crane still is weak compared to his poor, diminutive partner. Stephen is truly amazing in his power and it just a sight to behold when he gets things going.
I love how this magical power dynamic plays between the two of them. We see it all along the series, and it is repeated here, that while it appears Crane has all the power, it really all belongs to Stephen. In part it is his magical ability, but it is also the fact that his need to stay in London and work as a justicular is what shapes their entire relationship. I loved that here we see Stephen finally recognize how much Crane sacrifices for him and really evaluate what it is he wants out of his life. I also adore the little details here. The way that magic transfers between them. How Crane’s magpie tattoos get up fly around when they have sex. The way Stephen is strong willed in everything, yet gets soft and submissive when in bed with Crane. And the way that the gruff and stoic Crane can get so beautifully expressive and loving when he opens up to Stephen about his feelings. The two are so wonderful together, I just adore them.
So I really can’t say enough good things about this series. Truly I think everyone should read it. Even if you are not normally a historical fan, don’t let that scare you off. The paranormal elements add such a unique twist that I think everyone can find something here to love. For my part, I adore it all. I love Stephen and Crane intensely. I adore the wit and banter between Crane and his manservant Merrick. I find the series suspenseful and exciting with fascinating plot lines and thrilling action. If you haven’t read any of these books, you must start at the beginning. And if you have already read the others, I know you are not going to want to miss this one. Totally fabulous and most highly recommended.