On the darkest night of winter, can he bring light to her wounded heart?
Scarred by loss, Irina warrior Renata has held the world at a distance. Fighting the Grigori and protecting humanity are her goals, but her heart remains frozen to the bonds of family and love. Only one scribe, Maxim of Riga, has managed to see through Renata’s armor.
On the darkest night of winter, in the halls of her ancestral home, Renata is forced to face her past. Can a fierce storm and a stubborn scribe coax her back to life, or will she retreat into duty forever?
Another story we have seen part of before, but this time we’re telling the whole story. We had seen hints, the other characters have seen hints. Just no one knew what was going on, no one knew it had been going on for years prior to the start of this series. This was a good story, and different from the others in its own way. It isn’t a whirlwind romance, it is a slow, patient burn.
This novella was split pretty clearly into two parts. The first part focused on Renata and Max and their backstory. They are alone together, hurting each other, trying not to hurt each other, wanting each other but trying not to. It is a good time for a reader who likes reading about them. The second half introduces more characters, and a way for Renata to heal.
I think I wish more than anything for this book, that I could have seen more of their chase. There was so much story there, despite so little words being told. The constant cycle of finding each other again before Renata runs away must have been excruciating for both of them. Plus there is even more pain on top of it all. I love broken characters, and characters that deliberately sabotage themselves are a part of that archetype. Sometimes it can be annoying, but this time it isn’t. Probably because Renata is being selfless, trying to do the thing she sees as right.
The Grigori in this novella are pretty interesting, and I kind of hope we get to see them again. They’re a Grigori Reshon pair, trying to raise a child together without hurting her the way the mother has been hurt. The little girl is also an empath capable of great healing. A bit coincidental, really. However, it is the perfect healing that is needed. Not just for Renata, though it did help her overcome what she needed in order to be with Max proper. No, the entire race is going to need this kind of healing. That little girl is going to have a lot of work ahead of her when she grows up a little and gets some training.
Song for the Dying
When a letter arrives from a remote scribe house in Latvia, Leo and Max must return to their childhood home to face the father and grandfather who raised them.
The past is inescapable, but can it be overcome? Is it possible to build a future of happiness from a foundation of pain?
This is a shorter novella than the last, about half the length. It is the perfect capstone to Max and Leo’s story. From their stories, we learned that they grew up in a less than ideal environment. There were no women. Just men who were hurting, grieving their own losses. They weren’t able to care for the children the way they should have, the way they wanted to.
There are so many kinds of pain and healing in this novella. The pain of the past and feeling unwanted. The pain of being estranged from those you love. The loss of mates and best friends and children. The healing of finally talking about your problems with the one you feel has hurt you. The range of the emotional needs of the characters in this story is outstanding.
The best part of this novella is we get to see a natural death. The entire race has been so hurt by violence, both because of actual violence against a person, or self-violence due to to the first. It is also good because we get to see Death again, and he is such a kind soul. The whole scenario was incredibly wholesome, even if it is sad. Death comes for us all someday, might as well hope it is while you are surrounded by those you love, returning to the arms of the ones you also loved.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Irin Chronicles series page!