From the BLURB:
After facing down the forces of Fairy in mortal combat, Persephone Alcmedi still must deal with the aftermath. Not only does Seph now possess deadly secrets she must hide from the arcane and mundane world alike, but the dozens of magical creatures who’ve taken up residence behind her cornfield need food and shelter, and there’s still her foster daughter Beverly’s tenth birthday party to plan.
And that’s not all. . . . Seph’s boyfriend Johnny has revealed himself as the wærewolf Domn Lup, and the ruler of the wære world is en route from Romania to make sure Johnny really is the “king” he claims to be. But Johnny’s hiding a dangerous secret: his magic is locked in his mysterious tattoos. He and Seph must find a way for him to reclaim it—fast—despite those who have no intention of letting Johnny gain his full powers. Seph knows that, in the arcane world, strength is always a necessity and power must be constantly proven, but how far is she willing to go to succeed . . . and at what cost?
‘Arcane Circle’ is the fourth book in Linda Robertson’s ‘Persephone Alcmedi’ series.
‘Arcane’ picks up where ‘Fatal Circle’ left off, with Persephone having defeated the fairy-foe. . . but at a high cost. Werewolf, Johnny, has been scratched by a phoenix across his mysterious power tattoos – and he cannot heal himself. But worst of all, Persephone had to stake the vampire, Menessos, and kill him (again) in the hopes that he would reawaken.
Then there’s the fact that Persephone’s acceptance of the Lustrata mantel (bringing justice and harmony to all supernatural races) has reopened some of her long-faded scars. . . like her mother’s abandonment. What happens when Persephone’s new-found fame brings her mother calling?
I really like Linda Robertson’s ‘Persephone Alcmedi’ series. The first book was ‘okay’ for me, but in quick time Robertson’s series has become a heavy-weight addition to the urban fantasy genre. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the first book came out in 2009, and the series is already four books deep. Well, I continue my adoration of Persephone in this fourth instalment. . . even if I still have some (small) qualms.
I think ‘Arcane’ is Johnny’s book. Johnny is one of the best elements of the Persephone series, and definitely a fan pleaser – he’s a rough looking werewolf rock star, whom Persephone first shied away from for his widjit tattoos and motorcycle-riding. But four books in now and Persephone and Johnny have now officially embarked onto a full-fledged romance.
But there’s still some uneasiness in Johnny’s life. He doesn’t know how he became a werewolf. . . or where his tattoos came from. He woke up one day to find himself covered in mysterious tribal tattoos (from dragons to foo dogs) and he has no memory of his previous life. In ‘Arcane Circle’, Johnny is given a chance to uncover the truth of his past. . .
So this book definitely feels as though it’s Johnny’s. . . even if by book’s end there are more questions than answers. And I've got to beg the question – how fully can Johnny give himself to Persephone and their relationship if he doesn’t even know himself? It poses an interesting romantic conundrum to be explored in future books – and it’s definitely an obstacle like no other I've read in paranormal romance.
‘Arcane Circle’ may have been Johnny’s book, but it is not Johnny who holds the greatest fascination for me. The vampire, Menessos, is my favourite character. I don’t know if it’s because he’s so mysterious, and perhaps once Persephone unlocks all of his secrets I will lose fascination. . . but for the time being he is the character I want more of. We know that Menessos is the ‘first’ vampire; he bears a striking resemblance to Persephone’s King Arthur fantasy and he once embarked on an epic (and tragic) ménage a trois relationship that seems to be achingly echoing in his affections for Persephone and her feelings for Johnny. Like I said. . . fascinating!
“Oh, Persephone.” His whisper was raspy and dry.He knows I’m here.“For a moment it felt like dying all over again,” he said slowly, seductively, “and then suddenly it was as if one hundred thousand volts of electricity were delivered straight into my heart – a heart prickling with thorns, pierced by your hand, and broken by your love for another – and then it beats effortlessly, as if it never stopped.”
Unfortunately, Linda Robertson always seems determined to leave Menessos (and fans) dangling. From the events of ‘Fatal Circle’, and that cliff-hanger ending, it seemed that ‘Arcane Circle’ was destined to be Menessos’s book. . . not the case, unfortunately.
In ‘Arcane Circle’ Menessos and Persephone share a hot n’ heavy scene, and Persephone uncovers more about his failed ménage relationship. . . but the old vampire is peculiarly absent for most of the book. He has sporadic scenes and a fairly dead-end storyline. Persephone feels stirrings and rumblings in their changing relationship – but her stubborn refusal to acknowledge any feelings and betray Johnny leaves her avoiding Menessos . . . and fans without their favourite.
‘Persephone Alcmedi’ is a series that has come leaps and bounds. . . and is still powering strong. ‘Arcane Circle’ reveals unsettling secrets from Persephone’s past and introduces fascinating characters for future books. But there’s still a big part of me that wishes Linda Robertson would just stick to revisiting the (still) most interesting character she introduced in the first book.