So back when I started first following the CBR (CBRV I believe) Malin reviewed The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne. I then proceeded to read and enjoy it, without realizing that it’s actually book 4 in a series. Enter 2016 and I’ve decided to give the whole series a fresh go starting, in order, with The Spymaster’s Lady. ArtfulSophist has already reviewed this one this year, and I have to say I agree in many aspects.
This is the story of Annique Villiers, spy extraordinaire of France, and Robert Grey, titular spymaster for England. They meet while being imprisoned together with another English spy by an evil French spymaster. Annique sets them free and together they set out for England. Adventure (like the fixing of Annique’s blindness) and “fun times” ensue even with the evil Frenchie on their tail.
What I enjoyed about this one was definitely Grey. He’s one of my favorite hero tropes, the strong, stoic on the outside, extremely passionate on the inside types aka the Protector. I greatly enjoyed his character and the hoops he went through. I also as a whole really liked how this was more of an adventure tale with some romance thrown in, instead of all romance all the time. I need a little variety in my reading to spice it up.
What I didn’t like as much was the character arc that Annique went through. At the start she’s a scarily competent spy, especially as she’s blind. She’s crazy good at what she does, is ten steps ahead in the game, and doesn’t fear like normal folks. Once she regains her sight ( I didn’t feel it was really necessary) it felt like her character completely changed, especially once they reached England. What started out as a highly promising book devolved quite a bit to my frustrated yelling of, “C’mon woman! Have you not listened to what the other characters said!? How single focused are you?!” I ended cranky.
So overall it’s 3 stars, because it was 4 stars for the first half and 2 stars for the second. I shall continue on with the series because duh, but this one just didn’t finish up the way I wanted with all of the potential at the start.