Rating: 4.5 stars
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“Promises to the dead don’t mean much. Especially ones that should never have been made.”
Sebastian’s brother is dead, which, sure, isn’t great, though the two of them didn’t exactly get along. But someone has to do something about it. Their coven won’t. And of their remaining family, Sebastian’s sister won’t — Hugo cared less about her than he did about Sebastian — so that leaves Sebastian. Having been kicked out of the coven, it’s not like he has anything else to do, anyway. Besides, they were brothers and that should mean … something?
Adam’s lucky to have a touch of fae blood in him. It helps keep him looking young and sweet-faced. Even so, at nearly twenty-two, he’s getting too noticeably old to keep his job as a counter boy at Ganymede. His boss likes him enough to let him know there’s a spot in a high-priced brothel for him, should he want it, but Adam instantly starts looking for another job. Part-time, for now, since he still wants to keep working at Ganymede (the pay is good, the clothing allowance is wonderful) as long as he can, but it’s better to start looking now.
Adam finds a job a the Whiskey Den. It is a shifter bar, but Adam doesn’t mind. The boss is nice, the pay is nicer, and it’s a respectable job. Or it was, until Adam walked in on his boss and Sebastian making out? Well, not quite. Just close enough, as Sebastian was trying to use his magic to force the shifter to tell him what he knew about Hugo’s death. Adam is, somehow, able to smooth things over — not that Sebastian will ever be able to come back, but Sebastian somehow ends up convincing Adam to help him find out what his brother had to do with the bar.
Between car rides, cookies, coffee, and kisses, Adam can’t help but wonder if the it’s the witch or his own heart casting a spell on him.
The Whiskey Den is the second book in the House of Witches series and it helps to have read the first book, Club 669. In the first book, Sebastian made bad choices — choices that could have cost him his life if it weren’t for Charlie, Adam’s friend, asking for mercy. So Sebastian gets to live, just without a coven, which takes away much of his magic, as well as his community. If it weren’t for his roommate, Gideon, Sebastian would probably have downed himself in sex and alcohol and never come up for air.
His power as a witch isn’t very strong. It’s enough to sense and manipulate the emotions of others, and seduction is his go-to attack for dealing with people. That and fire, but really, too much fire can be a bad thing. It can also get him noticed by the covens, and he might not survive another confrontation with the Witch King. The first book went far more into witch politics, while this book focuses on Sebastian and Adam, who are both on the fringes of society.
Adam is an orphan who has been on his own for a very long time. Currently he shares a house with five other people who are friends of a sort. Charlie, his best friend, and soon to be bonded spouse of the Witch King, wants him to move into the Witch headquarters (called the Monastery) with him, but after the kidnapping and imprisonment from the first book, Adam isn’t certain he wants to. Or if he even can. But life is dangerous without some protection, and other than a touch of fae blood, all Adam has is luck.
There is a lot of world building in this book, adding depth to this magical dystopian world first introduced in Club 669. The book is clearly setting up for another entry in the series and I’m certainly excited to see what the author has in store. So far we’ve seen witches and outcasts, and been introduced, however briefly, to shifters and vampires. If you’re into paranormal worlds with a dash of dystopia, this book is something you should really consider giving a chance.