Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.
And things aren’t going real great there.
Noc is recruited to help save that world.
What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.
Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.
When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.
When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.
And then make her want to stay.
We’re reintroduced to the Fanstasyland Series after some major events have culminated in the last four books. We’re presented with all of our characters in one place, recovering and preparing for the next phases of their lives. Franka Drakkar has been deemed a traitor by those around her, and is secluded from the rest while awaiting her future. Noctorno Hawthorne is a man from our world who has become mixed up in all these events. A chance meeting over a bottle of wine has the two of them conversing about life. This is only the beginning for Franka, Noc, and the rest of the group.
First off, I’m not sure who I’m more in love with during this story: Franka, Noc, or Josette (Franka’s maid). Franka is one of the strongest heroines I have read about in a story. What she has endured, the choices she was forced to make, and the life she created for herself–it’s a sheer miracle she came out on the other side. Noc, well he sees straight through all the walls Franka has built over the decades and sees the person she was always afraid to become. And Josette because she has been loyal to Franka for many years, also seeing past the shield and understanding (and caring) for the woman Franka truly is.
When Franka first begins to hint at all the awesomeness that is her, is during her conversation with Noc about the events that have transpired and her treason toward her people. She has tried to convey to them why she made the choices she did, but they felt nothing toward her. Noc, man of wisdom, shares that they lied. “I know, ‘cause I’m a man like that. And if i had a woman I loved like those men love their women, I’d do it too and I wouldn’t fuckin’ blink…You changed the course of history, baby, and every citizen of this nation should be grateful.” THEN, as if that’s not enough, he takes her back against the rest of the group. “You four couples aren’t the only ones who’ve known love, Cora, he returned. Not bein’ a dick, but that’s the way it is. And she’s stone cold on the outside, babe, but inside the woman is in some serious pain. She’s capable of emotion, just like you and me, and I know that because I saw it.”
This. Man. Is. Everything.
The story unfolds and we learn much more about Franka’s past, along with events happening across both worlds and in all the lands. The focus of this story remains on Franka & Noc, so we don’t get much detail outside of general updates. That being said, we get to experience the change in Franka and how others relate to her. It’s beautiful to watch her come into herself and become the Franka she always was.
The beauty of this story, for me, was in seeing how much loyalty Franka inspired, even being the conniving, catty, manipulative … well, bitch, that she was. Her maid, Josette, never batted an eye to help her and stood by her no matter the cost. “That’s the last time I’ll say it, I promise, But I just wanted you to know, you’re MY Lady.” How can a woman who has spread so much negativity, manipulated so many, and instilled so much distrust inspire loyalty?
With all the beauty this story held for me, I was still left wanting. Being the end of a series, most of the story strings were neatly tied in a bow, but I felt … a little lost at the end. For me, the second half lacked the tension and action I’m used to in most KA stories. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it didn’t. What caused that to be an issue for me, was that there were a couple prominent characters which I felt were missing their ending. Not saying they needed to all receive a blissful, bow-tied, happily ever after. But I hate leaving a story, especially a series, and feeling as though I’ve missed something.
Even with those concerns, this is a beautiful ending to a series that has brought so much to me as a reader. I fell in absolute love with these worlds, these men, these headstrong women, and all of their trials and successes. I have to say that this is one of the series I will miss the most. The adventure and excitement I experienced through all of these worlds and characters is by far one of my favorite stories. I will certainly miss these journeys, but will revisit them often.