So I’m reviewing a YA/NA book today, and I made a cocktail to go with it. I’m not encouraging underage drinking–I’m encouraging drinking and below-age reading. Also, I like naming cocktails, and “The Dirty Bishop” just sounds so London finery bar, right? Of course right.
A few weeks ago, April White offered me a copy of the final installment of the Immortal Descendants Series as an ARC. She had no idea that I was totally willing to pay for this ARC in sexual favors or freshly-baked brownies, or blood, so she mistakenly gave me one with only the possibility of a favorable review. Sucker. (Funnier once you read the series.) She also didn’t know that I was at that very moment speed reading the first four books in anticipation of the release of Cheating Death. Seriously, when she was emailing me, Elizabeth Tudor and Saira were rounding her rooms in the Tower. It was very tense. There were awkward discussions of youthful inexperienced sexual encounters. I possibly yelled at the book “Britain’s best monarch ever?!?!? HAVE YOU SEEN HRH HARRY’S ASS?!?!?” It’s just a possibility.
I may have been very enthusiastic with her. I may have scared her. She may check her bushes for me at night before sleeping. (Which is a rookie move, as I’d totally hide round the shed. Duh. I’m telling you, authors are so touchy about living in my PSM and my author’s dungeon. Can’t imagine why. We said we’d provide gin…and lotion.)
SO THE BLURB FOR…
In this thrilling conclusion to The Immortal Descendants series, a life has ended, the future is lost, and a war has just begun.
An explosion has split Time and Archer has paid the ultimate price, leaving Saira heartbroken and desperate to repair the rupture. But the blast has trapped Saira in an alternate future where Mongers are cornered predators and Death is the ultimate judge. If Saira and her larcenous friend Ringo ever want to see Archer alive, they must pull off the impossible – alter history at a moment in time to which they cannot return. But saving Archer will restore a timeline where Mongers have complete control, mixed bloods are hunted prey, and the Descendant world is spiraling into chaos.
As Saira uses her Clocking skills to prevent her worst nightmares from coming true, she travels from the dirty streets of Victorian London to the secret archives of the Vatican. She seeks a purpose that is greater than smashed hope, greater than lost love, greater than the prophecy that has shaped her very existence. She must use the lessons of history to free the present and shape the future. And in the end, Saira and her friends will face War and Death in the most important battle of all – the one for Peace.
How can I say goodbye???
I can’t. Really. I need more. Preferably a grown ass adult book revolving around Mr. Shaw. OR, when Ringo finally reaches peak awesome adult Ringo.
But this book, though. Cheating Death is a riveting whirlwind of a novel, and the culmination of a perfectly executed series, which never failed to disappoint while maintaining a tight historical backdrop. What April White does in this book is a literary phenomenon. It is often quite messy when authors weave in historical figures into fictional narratives, but White manages to not only highlight some of history’s most compelling figures and moments of intrigue, she also deftly patterns out her own tale amongst them without it feeling forced or even wibbly-wobbly.
If I get too much into the meat of this novel, it would absolutely spoil the rest of the series, but what I will tell you is that it’s so intricately crafted, one would think it would overwhelm. “Oscar Wilde AND Elizabeth Tudor? Why not also Jack the Ripper?” But it doesn’t. And what this installment continues is the obscene intimacy the reader feels with the characters, and the dense textural amalgam of past and prologue that keeps the reader so very involved with each bit of plot. We hate the aforementioned Dirty Bishop, we fear the mongers, we’re looking for red herrings and traps, and we never guess the end. It’s brilliant.
Saira has evolved in some ways much more than a girl of her age should–which makes sense, obviously, and also she is still sort of quite young. Her band of merry descendants (plus one regular ((spectacular)) old human) also grow. Oddly, my favorite character arc was that of the very flawed Tom. He’s got a shit hand he’s been dealt, and he doesn’t always manage to keep it to the right side. The reader is definitely not always sure what he’s on about, but he’s never far from seeking redemption. It’s quite lovely.
Though I am quite put out that this series has concluded, I look forward to reading anything and everything April White writes from here on out.
Five Stars.A FAB CONCLUSION for @ahwhite & a recipe for a #lillet #cocktail, The Dirty Bishop! win/win! Click To Tweet
And now that dirty bishop. That dirty, dirty bishop. This time with less blood and more Lillet!
What Goes In?
- Juice of 2 clementines plus one more for garnish
- 1.5 oz gin
- 4 oz lillet
- 4 oz orange seltzer
- clementine slices
- combine spirits and juice in a shaker with ice
- shake well
- pour into two cocktail glasses
- top with seltzer
- drink responsibly.