Book Review: Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Immediately after I finished Firelight, I put Moonglow on my to-read list. Despite the problems I had with Firelight, I loved Callihan’s writing style and the characters enough to continue reading.

I still enjoyed Moonglow, but not as much as I did Firelight. While some of the problems I had with the previous book were fixed here, others weren’t, and one particularly annoying choice of character names kept yanking me out of the story for the last half of the book.

Moonglow by Kristen CallihanSynopsis, courtesy Amazon:

Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy’s door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .

Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .
Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

Ian spent most of his time in Firelight being a jerk, which made me a little concerned about how he’d be as the hero in Moonglow.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to worry. Ian really comes into his own throughout the story, and spending time in his head makes him a lot more sympathetic. He’s a wolf without a pack, and he’s been alone for quite some time. And as the story progresses, we realize just how completely isolated he is and how much he’s lost.

We spend more time in Ian’s head than we did in Archer’s, which I really liked. I loved seeing Ian’s struggle with his wolf, the balance he fights to keep every single day. And then he meets Daisy.

Daisy is quite possibly one of my favorite romance heroines. She’s so bubbly, vivacious, and sure of herself. She loves men and loves sex, but that part of her nature was shackled and beaten down while she was married. As her relationship progresses with Ian, she once again gets to truly be herself. I loved reading about a heroine like that, instead of a blushing virgin.

It also helps that Daisy isn’t a wilting flower, either. She goes off to do her own sleuthing and is an equal partner with Ian in that respect. They have a great banter when they’re together as well. Overall, I loved the development of their romance.

One of the things I liked the most about Moonglow was how Callihan really fleshed out her world, bringing in other supernaturals and even secret societies. It’s something that was hinted at in Firelight but we get to see a lot more of here.

Plus, Callihan’s biggest strengths from the previous book—her writing style and how well it fits with the story, plus the way she interweaves the romance and the mystery—are still on display here.

However, in the same way, the ending runs into some of the same problems that Firelight did. While I liked the end of the mystery in Moonglow, the ending of the romance felt hurried. There were some revelations I wish had been added earlier in the story. As it was, it went “Twist! Another twist! Resolution!” in the space of eight pages.

There had been a bit of foreshadowing as to what would happen, but the explanation of the problem and the resolution happened so quickly it made my head spin.

Then there was the second thing that bothered me about the book, but this one is completely personal preference and has to do with the names of the antagonists.

In Moonglow, the alpha lycan (essentially, werewolf) of the London pack is Conall. The beta is Lyall, and he’s older than most of the other wolves in the pack and has served at least one previous alpha.

In the Parasol Protectorate series (which you may recall me loving pretty much without reservation), the alpha wolf of the Woolsey pack (which is very near London) is Conall. His Beta is Professor Lyall, who is older than most of the wolves in the Woolsey pack and has served at least two previous Alphas.

Now, normally characters sharing names doesn’t bother me—otherwise I’d have to forgo all romance novels with heroines named Jessica—but it was the names combined with the fact that they shared supernatural status (werewolves) and pack status (alpha and beta).

Whenever I read the names in Moonglow, I couldn’t help but picture, just for an instant, Conall and Lyall from the Parasol Protectorate. I had to stop and remind myself that these were NOT the same characters each and every time. Particularly since the Conall and Lyall in Moonglow are…much less likeable.

Now, obviously, for somebody who hasn’t read the Parasol Protectorate, this isn’t an issue. But I had read it, and recently, and so that made the second half of the book difficult for me to get into when just seeing the names yanked me out of the story, however briefly.

Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed Moonglow. I loved Daisy and Ian, I loved the balance of the romance and the mystery, I loved the writing, and I loved that we got to see a wider supernatural world. It was well worth the read, and I’m looking forward to book three.