Title : Stormhaven
Author : Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin, Book 3
Publisher : Jordan L. Hawk (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal, Romance
Length : 67,513 words
Published : December 3, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
Mysterious happenings are nothing new to reclusive scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne, but finding one of his colleagues screaming for help in the street is rather unusual. Allan Tambling claims he can’t remember any of the last hour—but someone murdered his uncle, and Allan is covered in blood.
Whyborne’s lover, dashing ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty, agrees to prove Allan’s innocence. But when Allan is deemed insane and locked away in the Stormhaven Lunatic Asylum, Griffin finds himself reliving the horrifying memories of his own ordeal inside a madhouse.
Along with their friend Christine, the two men become drawn deeper and deeper into a dark web of conspiracy, magic, and murder. Their only clue: a missing artifact depicting an unknown god. Who stole the artifact, and why can’t Allan remember what happened? And what is the truth behind the terrible experiments conducted on Stormhaven’s forbidden fourth floor?
It will take all of Whyborne’s sorcery and Griffin’s derring-do to stop the murderers and save Allan. But first, they must survive an even greater challenge: a visit from Griffin’s family.
A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!! Give yourself plenty of time, settle into your comfiest chair, and prepare to be consumed by the latest uncanny adventures of the incomparable Whyborne & Griffin. This book rocked my world!! Reading it was like watching a 3D movie on a huge screen. Jordan L. Hawk advances the awesomeness of these intrepid lovers while gifting us with another unforgettable tale.
I am ecstatic to have had the opportunity to review all three books in this marvelously engaging and imaginative series – Whyborne & Griffin have found a permanent home in my heart. J This series must be read in order.
“This is Widdershins. People go missing all the time.”
As the story begins, Whyborne is loudly bemoaning the coming of electricity to Widdershins, a fact I found very amusing being as he is so keen on exploring the magic spells in the Arcanorum grimoire, yet can’t bring himself to be in awe of this modern new “convenience”. As it turns out later, he is able to make use of electricity, all be it in a convoluted fashion. It has been a few unremarkable months since the bizarre events at Threshold Mountain, but things are not going to stay quiet in Whyborne and Griffin’s lives for long. While out about town with their friend Christine, the men happen across the scene of a gruesome murder. They find Allan, a museum colleague of Whyborne’s, covered in blood and babbling incoherently outside of the home of his freshly slain Uncle. Allan of course becomes the prime suspect in this murder, although he insists he had seen another person disappearing into the night. Allan’s brother enlists the services of Griffin to investigate the murder and prove Allan’s innocence by finding and identifying the person who fled the scene. There are a few things about the case that deeply unnerve Whyborne, not the least of which is that Allan is being held in Stormhaven, the lunatic asylum outside of Widdershins. This means Griffin is going to have to visit Stormhaven to interview him, not an easy feat for a man who himself was once confined to such a wretched place.
Of course Whyborne accompanies Griffin to Stormhaven, no way is he going to allow the man he loves to enter that foul place without having his back! This had me remembering something from the first book in this series. When Whyborne first learned that Griffin had been in a madhouse, one of his thoughts had been: “I wanted to find whoever had sent him to the asylum and pummel them senseless.” For now suffice it to say that Dr. Zeiler, the superintendent at Stormhaven, is none too pleasant, and things get a little heated there as the story progresses …. Allan maintains his innocence, and also claims the fleeing mystery person stole a peculiar ceremonial bowl from his Uncle’s antiquities collection. This assures that Christine is also on board with helping get to the bottom of what is going on – with her expertise she can be of invaluable help sorting through the collection – and riding shotgun if need be , literally!
As the investigation ensues, a few other potential calamities are brewing. Whyborne is having dreams. They are recurring, startling realistic, highly disturbing dreams in which he finds himself in an underwater labyrinth of ruins, where voices call to him from gruesome, half formed apparitions. Where are these voices stemming from? What meaning do the dreams have? Coincidentally, it seems as if the smell of the ocean has grown overly strong (even for the seaside town of Widdershins) to Whyborne’s senses, and the latest spell that he has mastered just happens to be…setting water into motion. Hmm, he can now control, fire, air and water…whatever would Griffin say!?! Of course Whyborne shrugs off the dreams, explains them away with his logic, and doesn’t trouble Griffin with them, or the fact that he has been doing researches with spells again. This is due in part to yet another momentous happening – Griffin’s adoptive parents, Ma & Pa Kerr, have come to visit him in Widdershins.
“My inclinations meant many drawbacks in terms of society, but surely one positive was not having to receive the approval of my lover’s family”
The above line from Whyborne’s inner dialogue had me laughing out loud, as did so many of his inner thoughts. At the same time, it was disconcerting to experience how he and Griffin had to maintain the ruse of being merely friends as a façade for Griffin’s parents. Christine voiced her disapproval of this deception to the guys loud and clear, especially when it became evident – much to Whyborne’s chagrin – that the Kerrs had hopes of doing some match-making of their own. You go Christine! I just love how she had no issue voicing her opinion about this and well, everything! (I nearly choked on my drink when she never missed a beat replying to Whyborne’s tiara comment.) To be sure, Whyborne was cutting Griffin some slack due to the fact that Griffin and his parents had a loving, supportive relationship, unlike his own estranged relationship with his father. Since he loved Griffin, he was willing to do whatever it would take to keep him happy and safe. Or…was he? The dichotomy here was interesting. Whyborne’s parents know of his “inclinations”, his mother wholeheartedly supports him and his father had not exactly disowned him. Griffin had loving parents, but feared they would have nothing to do with him were they to know his true sexuality. He did have good reason for caution, as they had let him be run out of Kansas years earlier after what they had hoped was merely a youthful indiscretion with another boy. Even given that, I wanted to shake Griffin a few times as penance for the misery he was (somewhat unwittingly) subjecting Whyborne to. Indeed my heart ached for them both. The couple had no difficulty declaring their love to each other in private, but alas, perhaps societal constraints could not be ignored forever, or so Whyborne believed.
Yet, Whyborne & Griffin are indeed very much in love. They demonstrate this in spades by speaking sweet words and sharing in decidedly emotional and physically explosive lovemaking. The two are clearly deeply attuned to each other, and read each other so well. I got completely choked up (and thoroughly steamed up) while reading these depictive scenes ♥ Still, while Griffin says wonderfully confident sexy stuff such as this to Whyborne: “What is between us is fire, and passion, and a need I have never felt before for anyone. I am not some flower, bruised if you touch me the wrong way. I want everything you have to give me”, Whyborne harbors some thoughts such as this:
“I’d always trusted him with my body, and with a great deal of my heart. But I’d always held a little something back in reserve, a part which refused to think of a real future with him.” Oh geez, there’s something in my eye…sniff 😥
As they get deeper into the investigation of the murder and the missing ceremonial bowl, it becomes apparent those events have some type of a connection to a sinister conspiracy going on at Stormhaven. Whyborne finds reasons to confront his father about whether or not The Brotherhood is still in existence and if they may have a hand in the doings. He was also able to uncover information which eventually linked the ominous dweller of his underwater dreams to the investigation. The pieces were coming together. Could it be possible there was room in Widdershins for more than one nefarious sect to have taken root? :-O
This story really hit me emotionally. My heart dropped into my gut when Whyborne’s father disclosed a fact which made Whyborne want to puke. L My heart also went out to both Whyborne and Griffin as they handled everything that was thrown at them. They were dealing with so much at once! Whyborne was juggling his concern for Griffin coming face to face with the inner workings of an asylum again, his confusion about what the possibilities were for he and Griffin to have a future together, and oh yeah those dreams…they had morphed into unavoidable voices in his head that had started to control his thoughts and actions. Griffin, though obviously under a lot of strain, was so stoic about facing the asylum, he was focused on getting Allan out of there as soon as possible, and he honestly thought he was doing right by putting up a front for his parents while they were in town. Would he realize the extent of the inner turmoil Whyborne was experiencing before it was too late – for Allan, for Widdershins, indeed for his very future with Whyborne?
I was stoked about some of the great reveals in this story. Some questions I had from the first book in the series were answered. We learn some juicy bits about Whyborne’s ancestors. Griffin also confided more details about his past to Whyborne – some involving the asylum were not so pretty and seriously fueled Whyborne’s loathing of the staff and practices at Stormhaven. I’m obviously once again leaving out some details, including many that pertain to the wildly effective and imaginative paranormal aspect of the story. I want the reader to discover these as Whyborne and Griffin experience them and piece them together. A key element I love about the W&G stories, no matter how imaginatively creepy and horrific the paranormal creatures are, the evil perpetrated by humans always surpasses anything undertaken by said creatures. The parallels here between what the evil doers have done to the hapless asylum patients, and what they’d like to do with the mysterious dweller and Whyborne, are effectively dreadful.
All aspects of the story twine together brilliantly – the underwater monster of Whyborne’s dreams, his connection with it, his heightened magical ability, and one twisted man’s desire to control it all. I was absolutely on the edge of my seat and biting my nails during the dramatic scene where everything culminates, as all of the forces in the story combine. I will state once more that to me, the written words made the action as vivid as if I were watching it unfold on a 3D movie screen. Picture this: a possessed Whyborne, positioned commandingly on a seaside cliff, arms outstretched, dominating the forces of nature…. Wicked awesome, and hot! 😛 And yet, even while caught up in the tumult, he never loses his inner cynic: “Why didn’t I know any spells which might actually be useful? Like conjuring a decent suit from nothingness?” It is so endearingly Whyborne-esque for him to be entertaining such thoughts while in the midst of performing death defying acts and saving the world from destruction.
While the two men definitely have their vulnerabilities, Whyborne really comes into his own in this story. He bravely faces up to all the obstacles and monstrosities he encounters, and confronts everything from the torturous methods of the asylum doctors to dear old Dad’s manipulations (hell yeah Whyborne!). Yet still he harbors doubts about his self- worth. He continues to employ a sense of logic to all he faces while his dynamic spirit rises to the forefront. Will Whyborne’s innate goodness be enough to keep him from succumbing to his newly awakened, dangerous powers and the pull of his dreams? Griffin as always, embraces life with gusto. He stays so strong when facing demons in the present, and from his past. While he yearns for continued love and support from his family, will it be his deep abiding love for Whyborne which proves to be THE ultimate saving grace for him?
Jordan L. Hawk is a master storyteller. Her spellbinding ability to concoct intriguing, rock solid characters and meld them into such a dynamic narrative truly sets her apart. The writing is always clever and fluid. As Whyborne would say, repeatability – of the best kind! 😉
Stormhaven left me breathless, enormously entertained, and wanting to read it all over again. Wait, I did! I am already beyond excited about what is to come next in the series. There are so many great possibilities to explore in future storylines… Are Whyborne’s magical skills inherited? What the heck is the mystery illness his mother has had since his birth? (I desperately want to know more about her – she rocks!) Will we be seeing more of some of the characters we met in this story? What became of Griffin’s long lost brothers? Will we hear more about Guinevere, Whyborne’s older sister, or his (supposedly deceased at birth) twin sister? Hmmmm, time will tell!
If you have not read this series – do it now! The three Whyborne & Griffin stories are definitely among my top reads of the year. Hmm, scratch that…. of all time! 😀
Rated 5 stars by Dianne