Book Review: Subtle Blood by K.J. Charles

Goodreads: Subtle Blood (The Will Darling Adventures #3)
Publisher: KJC Books
Published: 23 June 2021
Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery/Thriller

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Will Darling is all right. His business is doing well, and so is his illicit relationship with Kim Secretan–disgraced aristocrat, ex-spy, amateur book-dealer. It’s starting to feel like he’s got his life under control.

And then a brutal murder in a gentleman’s club plunges them back into the shadow world of crime, deception, and the power of privilege. Worse, it brings them up against Kim’s noble, hostile family, and his upper-class life where Will can never belong.

With old and new enemies against them, and secrets on every side, Will and Kim have to fight for each other harder than ever—or be torn apart for good. 

Check out my review for books one and two:

TL;DR: Subtle Blood is the third and final book in The Will Darling Adventures and it was an extremely satisfying conclusion. The stakes continue to be high as Will and Kim’s friends and family get caught up in the cross-hairs of Zodiac’s games, leaving them to get cracking with the (not so) secret agent sleuthing! I came to love Will and Kim even more in this book as they work through some more rough patches and decide whether they have a future together. These two are hands-down one of my favourite couples and I had one helluva time with together with them. ❤️

UGH, PLS I AM SO INVESTED IN THIS COUPLE! I’m a super sad panda that we have come to the last book in this amazing series but I’m also beyond ready if K.J. Charles deigns to bless us with more of their glorious secret agent and steamy escapades. This has quickly become one of my favourite series and these two, my new favourite couple! 😍

I’ve already talked about how much I loved the writing and how the author brings the era to life through it and I have to mention it again because it was spectacular! I was so immersed in the setting and I would so love for this to become a show, please?

If you thought the Zodiac scheming was over in book two, THINK AGAIN! Zodiac is alive and well, my friends and they’re feeling even more murderous than before. This time the leader has it out for Kim and Will and their bothersome ‘meddling’ in their affairs, which sees them becoming direct targets in one way or another. With more family and friends getting caught in the cross-fire, the stakes seemed higher though I found that the atmosphere was less frantically tense. Ultimately though, we get to see Kim and Will do what they do best as a sleuthing duo. They’re both smart and quick-witted characters and I loved to see them work together getting confessions and other pertinent information, even if through slightly underhanded (but no less deserving) means, all to capture the culprit.

Needless to say that I was already invested in both Will and Kim after the end of book two but I grew to love them even more here, which I didn’t even think was possible. Their relationship has steadily evolved throughout the books and they’ve now established a solid foundation based on emotional honesty. That said, I loved the vulnerability that we continue to explore with both characters in this book.

There are some much heavier topics that are also explored through these characters in this book, as we get a front-row seat to the abuse Kim suffers at the hands of his disgusting and deplorable family. I have no words for how much his father and brother enraged me with their aristocratic entitlement and superiority complexes—if there was ever a time I wanted to reach into a book to pancake characters, this would’ve been the one! Kim’s pain at his family’s treatment of him was almost palpable and I found myself getting just as highly strung as he did whenever they would have to interact on the page. It made me even more glad knowing he had Will, but that he also had Phoebe, Maisie and even Peacock in his corner as his ‘family’.

There’s also a surprising reversal of roles between them, whereby Kim ends up being the level-headed one and Will ends up panicking about the future; which I honestly thought was fairly out of character for him. I found myself confused by that sudden change in his attitude but the author uses it to further explore his character, specifically looking at the trauma of war and how he has coped (or rather not coped) with it. Throughout the series, Will has always been the practical voice of reason so although this change seemed out of character with what we’ve seen so far, it was also refreshing to dig deeper into his psyche and see him confront his fears and acknowledge that there are things he still needs to work through.

Obviously, I can continue rambling on but to make a long story a bit shorter: I adored this series—the glorious Golden Era setting, the flawed but realistic characters, the swoontastic and steamy MM romance, and the high-stakes mystery and action-packed plot were simply *chefs kiss!*. I’m going to really miss these characters and their adventures now that their story is over and I can’t wait to read more by K.J. Charles in the future!

Have you read Subtle Blood or any books in The Will Darling Adventures series or do you have them on your TBR?

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Subtle Blood by K.J. Charles

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