This is an amazing book that was re-released in January 2016. It beautifully sets the scene for the love story and the coming together of six people to help save mankind from evil. This series really shows Nora’s ability to write a darker fantasy. Dealing with the fight to save mankind, there are losses that will tug at your heartstrings, and choices that deal with the fact that saving mankind has some costly consequences. The main evil is Lilith, a vampire queen devoted to conquering and destroying mankind. She is bloodthirsty and enjoys toying with the circle in order to get her wicked way. Morrigan gives the task of protecting mankind and destroying Lilith to Hoyt, asking him to gather a circle of six. The circle consists of himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms, and the one he’s lost.
As with all of Nora’s trilogies, each book has a main couple. This book is focused on Hoyt and Glenna. Faced with a sexy sorcerer from the 12th century, Glenna has to not only prove that she can handle her magic but also handle an uncertain future. Their chemistry leaps off the page and makes us root for a couple who can work together to save the world. Glenna is a wonderful, independent, modern woman who challenges the standard “pretty girl with powers” stereotype. A witch with true equal powers, Glenna shows Hoyt that anything he can do, she can match with wit and style. As one of the strongest in the circle, she does well at standing up to all the men and demanding equal respect. I loved that Hoyt gets her, instead of the standard (really more of a jerk) bad boy brother Cian. Hoyt in turn has to learn to live in the modern century where women are not meant to be shoved behind men. Some of the sexist chivalry does get a bit cliché but overall his heart is in the right place. He quickly learns that they are more powerful together and embraces that.
Hoyts’ brother Cain is a vampire turned by the Lilith in the 12 century. He’s a general bad ass with a bad attitude. Living as a vampire alone has hardened him in ways that Hoyt doesn’t understand. He has little patience for a brother who still has the need (and the guilt) to save him. Hoyts convinces him to help save the world but Cain makes it known that he’s doing it for selfish reasons. Cain is still angry about the way he was treated after Lilith changed him. He brings along his loyal sidekick, King, who helps to train the circle. Cain doesn’t truly enter the fight until King is killed by Lilith and sent back to them as a vampire. Losing his best friend motivates him to take the fight more seriously.
Moira and Larkin are the two cousins from the Gaell. They are the scholar and the shape shifter. Moira is destined to be queen and chooses to bring Larkin with her to help save her world after her mother is killed by vampires. Moira proves to Cain that she’s not just a weak little girl when he challenges her and she shows off her amazing bow skills. The chemistry between the two set the expectation for a forbidden romance which will unfold more in the next two books. Her quiet inner strength inspires what a good strong female queen should be.
Larkin is pretty quiet in this book; he’s more like a protector for Moira. His reaction to drinking a coke for the first time is pretty cute. He quickly adapts to situations and tries his best to keep Moira safe. I feel like, because his story is in book 2, Nora didn’t do as much with his character as she could have.
The last member of the circle is Blair, a descendant from the two brother’s sister, joins them as the warrior. She’s a vampire hunter who is very much not a fan of Cain at all. They immediately have trust issues and end the book in a semi-truce. Blair has a complicated history but she immediately bonds with both Glenna and Moira. Watching her help Glenna with the handfasting dress was sweet.
I really enjoyed reading this book and the entire series. Nora doesn’t disappoint in an amazing storyline and characters you can really get attached to. Watching the six bond together in both love and friendship is a pleasure. As she blends worlds and time periods, it becomes evident that this is a series worth reading again and again.