In London, 1811, a young woman is brutally raped and murdered, her body left on the altar steps of an ancient church. The prime suspect: Sebastian St. Cyr, a brilliant young nobleman still haunted by his experiences in the Napoleonic Wars. Now he is running for his life, desperate to catch the killer and prove his innocence. Moving from Mayfair’s glittering ballrooms to St. Giles’s fetid back alleys, Sebastian is assisted by a band of unlikely allies and pursued by a Machiavellian powerbroker with ties to the Prince Regent himself.
Cover Gushing Worthiness: I think the cover of What Angels Fear is hauntingly beautiful. There’s a certain darkness to it, which captures the mood of the book perfectly.
What do you think an angel would fear? Love. I think an angel would fear falling in love with a mortal- someone who could be theirs for only a short time and them would slip away forever. – Kat Boleyn
I admit it was the title and the cover that drew me to this book. Both the cover and the title are so chilling in my opinion. Prior to reading What Angels Fear I had never heard of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, but I’m really glad I discovered them!
Taking place amidst political turmoil in Britain, What Angels Fear follows Sebastian St.Cyr, a former intelligence officer during the Napoleonic Wars as he tries to uncover the culprit who has brutally raped and killed a young woman. The story begins with the death of the woman in question while Sebastian is caught up between his difficult relationship with his family and Kat Boleyn; the woman he once loved.
The plot of What Angels Fear is a fascinating one. It’s got everything you would expect in a Regency Mystery to have: murder, political intrigue, a dashing a protagonist, a beautiful woman, shady associates…the list could go on and on. The story was quite fast paced which worked well for the book. Most of the time you were thinking “Stop keeping me in suspense! I want to know what’s going on!” Another aspect that I liked in relation to the plot was the world C.S.Harris created. It was interesting to see London as a ‘whole city’, not just the upper classes, but the world of the theatre, the lower classes who find themselves living in destitute and turning to any means necessary to survive. The subplots too were well written and how they all intertwined and connected together in the end was interesting. The good thing about the story was there were also plenty of questions which were left unanswered in relation to Sebastian’s past, his mother, his sister and her hatred towards Sebastian. I’m excited to find out everything now!
Character wise I thought Sebastian was a great protagonist. He was charming, witty, intelligent, dark and broken. I can’t say that his character was well developed because we only see bits and pieces of his life. I’m sure that this is remedied in the other books in the series. I really liked Kat Boleyn as well. The chemistry between Kat and Sebastian is wonderfully tense. Both of them keep secrets from each other and I’m wondering if they’ll be revealed in the rest of the series, especially Kat’s past. Tom, Sebastian’s little assistant/squire like person was likable and resourceful. I really liked his cheekiness. Lord Jarvis on the other hand was such a cold-hearted and calculating politician. Half the time I just wanted to slap him. But that’s not to say I’m not looking forward to his future appearances because I am! He’s such a great antagonist and it’ll be interesting to see him and Sebastian clash.
The ending of the book was definitely a surprise. I did not see it coming at all. I only caught on thanks to a hint made by one of Sebastian’s associates. It was quite a good twist!
Overall What Angels Fear was an enjoyable read. It had an engaging and suspenseful story which held strong till the very end. It also had characters who were interesting and carried the story forward.
My Rating: 4/5
Would I recommend it? Yes
This copy of What Angels Fear was obtained from Netgalley. Thank You Netgalley and Penguin Group for this copy in exchange for an honest review.