The Last Temptations of Iago Wick by Jennifer Rainey (The Lovelace & Wick Series #1)
Star Rating: 4/5
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Gaslamp, Steampunk
Buy the book: Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon): For centuries, Iago Wick has meddled in the affairs of Man for the benefit of Hell—and had a damnably good time doing it. As one of two resident demons in eerie Marlowe, Massachusetts, he’s claimed some of the foulest souls for Hell’s legions. Now, with the twentieth century approaching, Iago is ending his tenure as a master of temptation and mischief. His final assignment pits him against The Fraternal Order of the Scarab, a society as secret as it is exceptionally unpleasant. Enter Thomas Atchison, the mysterious and ruthless inventor-turned-demon hunter with a burning desire to obliterate Iago. They are quickly thrown into an exciting game of cat and mouse. With the help of his partner, Dante Lovelace, Iago endeavors to topple The Order and unlock the secrets of Atchison’s shadowy past. What is Thomas Atchison hiding behind that frigid exterior? Will Iago succeed, or will Atchison conquer clever Mr. Wick?
Jennifer Rainey is yet another fellow indie author I met on Instagram, and I bought her books knowing next to nothing about them. You wanna know why? Because Jennifer is so dang nice and friendly. No joke, I was on the 'gram one day and went, "She's such a lovely person. I'm gonna go buy her books." She's a role model for how to Bookstagram well, and I'm so pleased I've connected with her and read her first book now.
Y'all know I'm a sucker for steampunk, but paranormal steampunk is right in one of my favorite niches. What made it even better for me, though, was the ambiance. The book takes place in Massachusetts in October. *cue the pumpkin spice invasion!* 🍃 🌽 🍁 🎃 🍂 You guys know fall is my all-time favorite!!! And since I am so over summer, it was sooooooooo lovely snuggling down into Jennifer's gorgeous autumn-laced words.
And in the autumn months, its eerie presence seemed only to blossom along with the season’s blood, rust, and gold hues. ~Chapter 1
My brain is drooling at that description. The steampunk elements were pretty on point too - a pet peeve of mine is books that classify themselves as steampunk but mysteriously lack any of the elements. 😒 Not this one, though! The twist near the end was really interesting, but I wish there had been a few more little clues leading up to it. It was really out of the blue, though I know some people would really like that. And the character arcs and motivations were all really well done, which I think is especially impressive given that the two central characters are demons.
In my mind, demons are pretty straightforward creatures - agents of evil working to the detriment of humanity and powerless against the power of the Almighty. Now, that's just me because of my particular set of real life beliefs, but it affects the entertainment I do and don't enjoy. But - such a big but *sniggers* - that creates for a really interesting framework to write within. Your character's weakness is kind of built in, and Jennifer took Iago's motivations to a whole new level because he's not just a mindless, evil drone. He has free will and desires for himself, which come into conflict with his job as a demon. Color me intrigued! So that was really interesting to see unfold and resolve. The last half hour of reading got pretty harrowing. I really didn't know what was gonna happen, and I fully believed it could go either way. You're gonna have to read the book to find out, though 😁. In the immortal words of River Song, spoilers 😉.
The only thing I didn't really like about the book was that the writing felt kind of distant. Nearly everyone in the book is terrible in some way or another, and Iago's job is to tempt people to hell. Again, this has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my own personal viewpoints/beliefs, but I didn't really have anyone to root for until about halfway through the book. If I separate Iago and Lovelace from what they do, I really like them as a couple, but that's pretty much where it ends for me. They're both demons doing awful things that cause pain in the world, so I don't wholly love them as characters. I enjoyed the book enough, though, that I want to see what happens next. And as series'ed out as I've been of late, I'm keen to read more, so bonus points to Jennifer!
Now I just need to figure out if the next book takes place in fall too without falling in too deep. If it does, I know what I'm reading come October! Can you picture it? Hot apple cider, fire pit crackling in the crisp fall air, snuggly sweater and fleecy leggings and thick socks. I'd better go ask Jennifer on Instagram; I need to know!
Thanks for reading!