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Jackdaw by KJ Charles

Jackdaw (2015)

by KJ Charles

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“Of course I’ve got a conscience. He’s sitting right here next to me.”

3.5 stars

I'll try any m/m fiction K.J. Charles puts out - not only is she my favorite romance writer, but she actually puts forth a good plot combined with the love stuff, a trait that isn't as common as it should be.

I knew I'd like it at least a little - see statement above - but it did lose some stars for personal preference alone. I dislike reading stories about fugitives,brushes with the law, and misunderstandings. This had all of those for most of the book, which dampened my enjoyment. There's something frustrating about that story lines, and it's the reason I put off reading this so long. It held up the first half of the book.

The writing was top notch and I loved the main pair after they get settled and past their differences. The betrayal was a big time one, so this wasn't any kind of flimsy angst invented for plot sake. Ben feels viciously betrayed by the man he loved and trusted when not only did the man lie to him about being a thief, but he left him behind to take the fall and suffer through hard labor imprisonment.

It's hard to believe two can come together and still go forward in a romantic relationship after that, but as it plays out it makes sense to the reader as much as to the character. Eventually we both forgave. Ben is simple but wonderfully loyal, and Jonah is a playful but reckless character with a heart-jolting grin and deep grained distrust of society and the way it should work. The betrayal isn't gotten over quickly, it's explained and worked through - the angst was real, but not annoying because it was accompanied by anger and nothing whiny. It was realistic and the way they worked through the issues gets a mini-applause.

The ending - sigh, that ending was beautiful and almost made it a four star.; KJ Charles didn't disappoint. The ending made up for a lot of the angst, I loved both of the characters, and seeing Crane and the others at the end was also great. I have to admit since they were on the other side of the law before, they irritated me earlier in the book (shocking, I know, loved them in their own series...) but it wasn't their side I was on this time. Besides the MC's, you get a cast of great characters in the village.

There's a heartfelt warmth once the two work past their differences, and that ending could almost bring a tear to bitter eyes. Bedroom steam isn't as potent as most of her other works, but this is probably because the characters were already in an established relationship.

I loved the world of the Magpie series; this offers paranormal ability, but it's not a crime type drama or mystery. It's a historical drama type tale where two vulnerable men find each other in love and eventually realize that's the one thing worth fighting for in the end. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I've really tried to keep spoilers to a minimum and kept things more to generalities, but I'm sure there are some spoilery things here...

Possible spoilery things ahead

While this book could be read on its own, I liked reading it as part of the series; there were little interplays between the characters that wouldn't mean as much (such as Ben and Stephen's conversation, where Stephen explains what happened with Lady Bruxton, whereas if you'd already read the series you'd know what had happened first hand, so to speak). It also made the conversation between Ben and Lord Crane more fun, and the parallels between the two couples' relationships more obvious.

Ben and Jonah make an interesting couple, one that I liked quite a bit--Jonah is described in one scene as being happy as a puppy (or something like that) and that sort of sums him up, in a way. He isn't a bad person, he is eager to please and he loves to make people happy, which is why he's so suited for the job he ends up in at the end of the book. And like a puppy, he acts in ways that will insure his survival and doesn't think much of it because he hasn't been taught differently. Even Stephen didn't know he was from the justiciary home he was, which had been shut down because of how they treated the practitioners they were supposed to be "training" but using as slave labor instead. Jonah learned early on the safest thing was to run, and no one really cared about him, for himself, so why should he care about others?

Ben's statement near the end to Lord Crane about how when someone was down, and everything they do is wrong and they keep getting kicked and whatever they do they're on the wrong side of the law, and how is that right? (badly paraphrased) is interesting, and sums up what has happened with Jonah. He also says you can't really help who you fall in love with to Stephen, so he says the right things (without knowing it) to the right people.

The latter is an old, old question--why do we fall in love with people who seem like they throw our lives into turmoil? That we know are "bad" for us. Only Ben and Jonah, once they clear up the lies between them, actually seem to be able to work things out. And Jonah shows definite growth of a conscience, and a desire to protect those he loves who accept him for who he is. The Green Man's own bucca. ( )
  waclements7 | Oct 27, 2015 |
LOVE. So much delicious angst in this book. And it won the "made Robyn cry more than once" award, which very few authors have done. ( )
  RobynBachar | Mar 1, 2015 |
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added by gsc55 | editThe Blogger Girls, Gyn (Mar 8, 2015)
added by gsc55 | editRJ Scott (Mar 1, 2015)
added by gsc55 | editMy Fiction Nook, Heather (Feb 28, 2015)
added by gsc55 | editThe Novel Approach, Rena (Feb 26, 2015)
added by gsc55 | editIt's About the Book (Feb 18, 2015)
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