I wish I could review Jordan L Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series one book at a time. Then I could spread the joy of it not just over one blog post — but four or five. (And I probably will try anyway.)
It might be possible… but it would hurt. Because what I love most about this series isn’t contained in one book. It’s spread throughout the whole series.
In Widdershins, the first book, shy but brilliant linguist Percival Endicott Whyborne is pealed away from his current translation duties preparing for a new dangerous Egyptian exhibit to work with the handsome ex-Pinkerton PI Griffin Flaherty. A lot of people would be jumping up and down (or in another romance cliche, fall into hate at the first sight), but Whyborne can’t figure how he could possibly help Griffin, especially when Griffin invites him along on his detective work. Especially when the translation job Griffin has given him ends up being a quack of a supposed black arts manual.
Except the spells turn out to be real. And the town founder’s stolen body? Is totally hitting on Whyborne. Well, a little of that, but mostly plotting to create a being of unimaginable power to rule the world.
And Whyborne is the only one who can stop it. As cliched as that sounds. (Its not actually as cliched in the book, I swear!)
The series then follows Whyborne and Griffin as they continue to investigate more paranormal cases while all the ups and downs of a real relationship.
Widdershins is a good book, even a great book. But it wasn’t until I read the other books that this series turned into “amazeballs must-read.”
A lot of romances have a certain ideology. A romance book is supposed to follow along with two characters as they meet, feel that initial attraction, their first kiss, their first time having sex… their first declaration of love. In other words, a novel must the main characters fall in love and live Happily Ever After.
To make that into a series, each new book must have a new protagonist and new love interest to avoid the cardinal sin of ruining their Happily Ever After. The initial characters we fall in love with may make appearances, but we never get to see their struggles again.
Some of my favorite series fall into this pattern. But I really do prefer the way that Hawk has taken her series.
One protagonist. One love interest. They fall in love in the first book, and fight to stay in love in each and every book as new hardships test their relationship.
Sometimes they fight. Sometimes they misunderstand each other. Sometimes they almost break up.
This happens in the second book, when Whyborne is scared of losing Griffin to other men, but Griffin is scared of losing Whyborne due to having been with so many men while Whyborne had remained a virgin.
This happens in the third book, when Whyborne tried to move out because he didn’t want to steal Griffin from his family, while Griffin struggled to keep both his family and his love and happiness.
This continues to happen throughout the series as Whyborne delves into magic with a fierce curiousity, while Griffin is afraid of what it could do to Whyborne.
But they always make up. They always figure out what went wrong. They always grow as a couple and as people.
That’s what I want to see in my characters. And that’s what makes a strong relationship.
Anyone can fall in love. But it takes commitment and true love to stay together.
Real relationships aren’t perfect. They take work. And through each travail they land themselves in, I’m rooting for them.
I’m sometimes yelling at the Whyborne or Griffin to stop being so stupid.
My heart soars as they reach new understandings with their partner.
Each challenge to their relationship makes me more and more invested in what happens to these two crazy kids.
If you couldn’t tell from the rest of this post, I definitely recommend her Whyborne & Griffin series. Save yourself time and a little bit of money by getting her boxset with the first 3 books in it. You won’t regret it.