Daisy is out celebrating the end of a mandatory mourning period for her dead arse of a husband and witnesses a brutal werewolf attack. As it turns out, the attack is not an isolated incident but one in a string of five murders by the same werewolf. The one link between all the murders is that they all wear the same perfume, a perfume that Daisy herself created and no one but her is supposed to own. Unwilling to play the victim and hide tucked away somewhere, Daisy sets out to find who is selling her perfume and why its attracted the attention of a crazed werewolf. And that is why I have fallen in love with this series. The heroines can kick some ass while at the same time maintaining a level of vulnerability that makes them believable. In fact, let me give you a point by point of why I'm loving this series:
~Agency! The female protagonists not only actively save themselves, but they also save the heroes and are not condemned for it. In fact, the heroes love their strength and find them all the more attractive for it. For example, Daisy doesn't blindly accept Ian Ranulf's offer to cosset her away in his home while he investigates the attacks. Instead she makes a stand for her freedom and pursues answers in an intelligent manner that takes into account her strengths and limitations. Along the way Daisy discovers that, like her sister, she has her own elemental ability that makes itself apparent during one kick-ass scene where she saves Ian from a brutal mauling.
~Respect What's even greater than the heroines having some serious agency is that the male characters respect their choices. Ian doesn't toss Daisy over his shoulder and forcibly make her stay with him. Nor does he try to over-ride any of her other decisions even if he doesn't exactly agree with some of her choices. This was, I admit, one of my biggest concerns while reading this book. I kept waiting for that particular anvil to fall, but luckily it never did and it made me love Ian all the more.
~Flawed Heroes While the heroes in this series are depicted as extremely strong and capable they also have some serious emotional and physical vulnerabilities that are refreshing after reading so many books where the heroes are depicted as being able to single-handedly take down an army of orcs without getting a scratch on them. Call me morbid, but I really liked how many times Ian gets his ass handed to him over the course of the story. Seeing that he can be beat added to the suspense of the final showdown.
~Non-virgin heroines YES! Good god, this is refreshing. I love Callihan for not making her heroines virgins despite these stories being set in historical time periods. What makes me love this even more is that the heroines have a pretty firm claim of their sexuality. Daisy is no wilting flower when it comes to her own sexual desires. She openly admits how much she loves men and sex, but her marriage to an emotional abuser gave her some serious baggage about those desires that we see her actively trying to overcome in order to reclaim how she once felt about herself and her sexuality. Loooved it.
This is a bit of a gushing review, but I can't bring myself to care. Callihan hit all the right notes for me with this book and I can't wait to see where she takes this series. The next book features Daisy's sister, Poppy, and I can't wait to read it since my heart broke for her in this one. All I can say is that the world better not end, because I need to read Winterblaze.