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A Charm of Magpies #3

Flight of Magpies

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審犯者としてのスティーヴンはますます忙しくなり、クレーンの不満は募る。そんある晩、部屋に何者かが侵入し、カササギの王の指輪が奪われた。クレーンはその犯人に見覚えがあった――。その一方で姿の見えない犯人による殺人事件が発生していた――。短篇「スティーヴンの祝祭」「五つは天国のため」も収録した、人気シリーズ最終巻!!

212 pages, ebook

First published October 28, 2014

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About the author

K.J. Charles

59 books8,129 followers
KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at http://kjcharleswriter.com.

She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

Twitter https://twitter.com/kj_charles
Join the lively Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/13876...
Sign up to the (infrequent) newsletter at http://kjcharleswriter.com/newsletter

Please **do not** message me on Goodreads as I no longer check the inbox due to unwanted messages.

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5 stars
4,083 (47%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,017 reviews
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,637 followers
October 23, 2014
*4.5 stars*

K.J. Charles has some mad skills, let me tell you! Her "A Charm of Magpies" stories are imaginative, her sex scenes are SMOKING hot, and her writing is tight! She is on fire, and this book was, yet again, top-notch quality.

Crane and Stephen have become one of my favorite M/M couples. They just feel so multidimensional, and this story tries their relationship like never before. They have to deal with issues of trust, independence, and power, and it was both harrowing and beautiful to witness.

I think that this book was even more of a nail-biter than the ones before it. There was a lot at stake here. The bad guys were badder and scarier, and I was rooting for the good guys that much harder.

There is so much energy between them! And I mean that literally and figuratively. There sex scenes feel so charged, and I love their erotic dynamic. When Crane gets all toppy and bossy, my body does a happy dance!

This series and this author have limitless possibilities. I can't wait to see where K.J. Charles takes me next!

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,129 followers
Read
October 16, 2017
Lucien and Stephen are back, and in trouble. Old enemies are coming back to haunt them, new enemies are making their presence felt. Stephen's trainee Jenny Saint seems to be going off the rails, the pair clash over the third man in their relationship (get your mind out of the gutter, I mean Crane's henchman Merrick) and there is only so much longer Crane can bear to spend in England.

Because falling in love is all very well, but Stephen and Crane are facing up to the real issues between them, and it's harder than they think - especially with a murderer on the loose.

Oh...and did I mention the tattoos? Yeah. The tattoos are...a problem.

***

This is the third in the Charm of Magpies series, out in October. I hope you enjoy it!
January 30, 2015
4.5

One for sorrow; two for JOY.

It's another adventure for Day and Crane!



I expected no less than perfect prose, hilarious banter, and lots of delicious angst and magical treachery. And that's what I got.

Someone is out for revenge, you see.

But Lucien and Stephens's bond is so strong it can't be bent, much less broken.

This story was heartwrenching but worth it. Things were shaky for a while, but these two are ever closer to their HEA. Indeed, I would count the last chapter as such if the series were to end with this installment.

"All I am and all I have are his. Not that he ever asks, of course. I'm not sure that he quite believes it." [Lucien] looked round at Stephen, a rueful smile dawning..."But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours."


Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,513 followers
November 2, 2014
The three books and the short stories that make up the "A Charm of Magpies" series are a completely satisfying, exciting, beautifully-written magical romp. Read them in order, and fall for the characters and the author.

This third book is full of action and conflict. Almost too full - if I had any complaint it's that it moves too fast for the length. There are delicious events here, not just in the arcane and mystery realms but between the characters. Stephen and Crane have serious fights about who they are to each other and how that will play out. Crane and Merrick have a significant conflict. (I won't call that one a fight, because no one is unconscious at the end of it, but it's probably deeper discord than some of the times Merrick beat sense into Crane.) Stephen is overworked as his justiciary partner has to take time off, further wearing down the time Stephen can give to any of the vital elements of his life. There are new threats and old ones, a different magic, a new look at an old magic. I did wish I had more time to savor the developments, especially the personal ones.

Still, there are some of the best moments I've read in fiction lately. Lord Crane has a way with words. There is real emotion, even if it goes by fast, and some developments I wasn't expecting. The story tumbles you along breathlessly, half laughing, half cursing, as it plays out. If you enjoyed the first books, you must read this one.

There is room for more for our delightful MCs at the end, but I saw somewhere that this is intended to complete the cycle of Lucien Lord Crane and Stephen Day. If so, I am totally satisfied, and look forward to them as side characters in Jackdaw. If the author ever sees fit to share with us what happens a few months down the road it will no doubt make fascinating reading. Merrick in particular may be torn in new ways, and Stephen challenged in unfamiliar ones. But if that story doesn't make it to paper from this remarkably talented author, I'll simply grab whatever book she gives us next and be grateful.
Profile Image for Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -.
678 reviews43 followers
December 7, 2018
***4.5 Stars*** for the perfect ending of an amazing series! ❤️

Sorry, but I have to give you the abridged version again:

Thank heavens...

~ the author took pity on me, so no Teenage Mutant Ninja Rodents this time, which doesn't mean it was completely rat-free. Umm, when you count a delusional old enemy, a jealous megalomaniac and a painter who takes artistic freedom a bit too far among this species, that is.

~ that, even if it was not always sunshine and roses between Lord Crane and Stephen this time, the lover's quarrel didn't last long and to say it in typical Magpie Lord fashion:
Ähnliches Foto

"I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours."

~ for Jonah Pastern. He's quite the intriguing character and the reason why I immediately dived into his story.

Loved this series to pieces, so of course I can't recommend it high enough!
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,343 reviews169 followers
November 19, 2016
Written November 2, 2014

4.7 Stars - Magnificent intriguing and captivating from the first page to the last

Book #3


Just in this way creates a perfect steaming hot, intense and fantastic historical adventure-romance. - Without doubt best so far in this series.
“...because it's his, just as all I am and all I have are his. (...)”

description description description description description

“But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours.”

I have no words to pay tribute to these great Magpie books, and this third full-lenght novel was incredibly engaging, entertaining and hooooot.

For god's sake, just start to read these books! ~ Or anything by K.J. Charles.

***********************************************

London, England sometime in 18xx....

The A Charm of Magpies series by K.J. Charles are very well-written historical suspense romances with some paranormal topics as well. The main characters: Lucien Vaudrey, the Lord Crane and his lover the Justiciar (deals with magical malpractice...) Stephen Day. ~ A very interesting couple to love and remember.

These gentlemen are kind of "street-smart", English noble and a bit hefty and two very shameless, but adorable, sexy men. They always do a lot of interesting stuff (both indoor and outdoor...). They are chasing odd creatures, talks a lot and have some interesting friends (like Merrick the butler etc)
“Oi, hold on. Did you just give me advice on women?”
“Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

These character are (for now...) living in a time when it was a crime in U.K. to be with and live with another man if you where a man. A time when they had to fear to get discovered. But nevertheless they manage to make a life for themselfs. ...a very hot (kinky) lovely night life. ~ Freaking steaming super hot!!!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

My happy reviews from earlier books:

***********************************************

I leave it to some wise reviewers here at GR to tell you what this third Flight with Magpies adventure really was about. —Short: it was filled with suspense, old friends, paranormal stuff and very exciting.— I content myself with a few short tribute words about these lovebirds Lucien, the witty (freaking sexy) Lord Crane, and Stephen, a man with magical abilities and a taste for sweet submission in the bedroom.

Crane & Stephen, as a love couple, are among the best book characters I can think of right now. They are interesting, they evolve and feels realistic, after all strange is going on around them, and they have magical chemistry between them. Seeeexy chemistry. If there is any time the words "steaming hot" with justice should be used it is here.

Not unimportant..
This is fun chuckling and giggling reading as well. Although Lord Crane likes to be dominant in the bedroom (yummy scenes...), is he in between a very funny noble chap that offers jokes and hilarious comments every now and then. He and his old sidekick Merrick makes this to a very amusing and enjoyable reading.
“I'm the eighth Earl Crane and the twelfth Viscount Fortunegate. I don't have to work the stove.”
“Two extra names and you can't lift your arms any more. Bloody lucky they didn't make you a duke too or you'd forget how to brush your own teeth.”

...Oh dear Merrick! You're the best and very very needed here.

***********************************************

Okay, it just to stay calm, try to smile and wait for a new part. ~ Luckely we get a freebie shorty after New Year, #2.5 - A Case of Spirits. But I heard a rumour this was the last? ~ May it not be true. I want more reports from London.
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I LIKE - the best of the best



*****
# The A Charm of Magpies series by K.J. Charles:

# Another fun buddyread with Bev and Andrea - The Ladies BR Quartette - with start October 28.
Our first full pot with three five stars reviews. ~ Thanks Ladies!!
Profile Image for Kat.
940 reviews
January 7, 2018
What a worthy conclusion to this series. Though I'm not ready to let go of Lord Crane and Stephen, just now that I've really started to grow attached to them. I'm both sad and satisfied.
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
590 reviews249 followers
June 27, 2018
Following the swoon-worthy declarations from A Case of Posession, our two dashing heroes are free to spend their days staring dreamily into each other's eyes. Oh wait... wrong book.

My bad

Admit it though, you'd be bored with that. They are due a holiday, I'll give you that. And they will get said holiday... juuuuust as soon as Stephen has managed to take on (and successfully solve) every single case from the Justiciary. So really, can anyone blame Lucien for trying to strong-arm people into giving his beau a bit of a breather?

That's the plan at any rate, while the practical reality is never that simple. So prepare for more thrilling action sequences, mysterious murders, spine-tingling confessions, and... other things.

sqealing

... but more realistically speaking, I was a bit disappointed with the way things ended. Now don't get me wrong, there was nothing amiss in the mystery, or the heroes' relationship. The author is still managing to keep me glued to my Kindle from first sentence to the last full stop. There was absolutely no drop in quality...

Actually the problem lies entirely with my (unreasonable?) expectations regarding Lucien's wants and desires. See, while the character is making it abundantly clear that , I was hoping to see more of a sudden interest in . This sort of reminds me of a blog post written by the author on how the author and the readers see the characters in their respective mind.

Oh, and I wouldn't have minded a bit more . So if anyone found good fanfics about it, feel free to send me recommendations.

Score: 4.3 / 5 stars

Some people have said this was their favorite book from the series. I can't say the same, however I can tell you that if you've enjoyed the two prequels, I see no reason for you not to enjoy this one either. *points at score*

Truthfully, I'm really happy about the . And if you feel you still haven't got your fill of the two heroes, then go on to read Feast of Stephen and (parts of) Jackdaw, for more.

=====================
Review of book 0.5: The Smuggler and the Warlord
Review of book 1: The Magpie Lord
Review of book 1.5: Interlude with Tattoos
Review of book 2: A Case of Possession
Review of book 2.5: A Case of Spirits
Review of book 3.5: Feast of Stephen
Profile Image for ttg.
443 reviews156 followers
October 22, 2014
4.5 stars - I honestly don’t know what the deal is with KJ Charles. Did she sell her soul to the Devil? Has she been secretly writing for years excessively readable works in some other genre, say, gothic thrillers or werewolf comedy-of-manners or Pre-K fiction? Maybe under the sly secret pseudonym of JK Charles? I ask, because I just sit back sometimes and stare at my much-loved ebooks of The Magpie Lord and Think of England, and ponder that if they were paperbacks, they would be bent and creased and probably wine-stained from all the reading, and hugging, and page-turning and rereading, and to think this just started...last year? When her first book came out? LAST YEAR.

I steered away from the Magpie Lord when it first came out, because I dunno, new, unknown author, whatever, seemed like a commitment, and two weeks from running a conference, so wasn’t doing anything new, but I couldn’t miss all those surprisingly gushing reviews on my GoodReads feed, and a couple days before running my first gay romance conference, I found some time and read it.

And I loved it. I thought it was delicious and thrilling and sexy and surprising, and it ended up being my favorite book of the year. And with this series, and Think of England, which is one of my favorites for this year, Charles is in this auto-buy group in my mind now with Josh Lanyon, Ginn Hale, and Jordan Castillo Price, where I don’t know what they’re doing next, maybe it’s a werewolf comedy-of-manners, but I’ve already mentally pre-ordered it.

Stop gushing. What about book 3?

Sorry, I just get...carried away when I go back and think of the Magpie Lord journey over the series, and what’s transpired for poor overworked Stephen and his demanding, entitled, and sexily supportive Lord Crane, and what terrible things they have survived, including attacks by hair(!!!), killer giant rats, invading spirits, and a group of merciless warlocks that want nothing more than to rip the Magpie Lord’s power from Crane’s bones.

So how was book 3? Well, did you like book 1 and 2? Because if you did, then you’re going to like book 3. It’s a similar style and tone, still surprising with some shocking turns (as the villains are very villainy!!), similar wit and sexy banter between Stephen and Crane as they push-pull each other about their relationship, about keeping secrets, and about whether committing to each other is what’s best for them, especially since being gay is still illegal in Victorian England. (But even with the fear of the Law or blackmail, these two can’t stay away from each other, thankfully for us hungry readers.) Also, like in past books, you will find some more hot sexy times as Stephen leaves his obligations outside the bedroom, and willingly surrenders control to his Lord.

Have you not read book 1 or 2 yet? Then don’t start here. It would be a crime against your possible reading pleasure to jump in at this point. What I would recommend is to go try book 1, especially if you’re a fan of historicals and paranormal, since Charles’ world is a mix of dangerous magic and Victorian morals, with a grateful dash of face-punching, thanks to always-good-back-up manservant Merrick and the not-really-all-that-noble Crane.

Was it a perfect read? No. There’s one development where I shared Stephen’s shock, and it felt less organic than other parts of the series. As a reader, I didn’t “buy it,” and it did feel like a convenient move to comfortably pair other characters off. But even with that point, it was still easy to be carried along with the story’s quick pace and plot.

How do I feel about the series overall? I think it’s a stellar trilogy, and if there are no more novels, I think it is reads great as is, and any reader who has enjoyed the ride thus far with Stephen and Crane should feel good about the ending these two so much deserve after all that they have survived.

What’s next? There actually IS a new Magpie story coming in early 2015, but it’s labeled A Charm of Magpies 2.5, so is set technically before this volume. Also, early next year, there is Jackdaw, which is a related book that follows a secondary character from this volume and his adventures, and by the hints in the blurb, we may also see some Magpie Lord sightings there as well.

Would I read more of this series? Of course! I’m a greedy reader and if the next book was just Stephen and Crane talking about the weather (“Looks like rain.” “That it does.”) I’d pick it up in a heartbeat, but end of the day, even for this greedy reader, this journey settles very well in this volume, and I think other greedy readers will be quite pleased.

I do wonder what Charles, her pseudonym JK, and their Devil companion will come up with next though… I am hoping for more Feximal myself, and of course, the sequel to Think of England...

Reviewed first for Boys in our Books.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,114 reviews373 followers
May 3, 2018
4 Stars

Flight of Magpies is the final story in the always compelling A Charm of Magpies historical M/M series by the ever-impressive KJ Charles.

This final installment sees (mostly secret) lovers Lucien and Stephen face off against the biggest mystical threat to their survival they’ve faced to date, when an old foe comes seeking bloody vengeance.

Although deeply in love, Lucien and Stephen come to heads over Stephen’s thankless job as a justiciar (AKA an investigator of magic-based wrongdoings). Lucien can see the potentially fatal toll Stephen’s job will ultimately take, so he implores his lover to give it all up and run away with him. But Stephen is ever the stubborn, self-sacrificing martyr, carrying the weight of his perceived responsibilities on his shoulders, and for a worrying while refuses to budge on the matter.

But never fear!! Even with their (temporary) difference of opinion, Lucien and Stephen’s love and loyalty to one another never truly falters, and it’s in this united and unbreakable front that they are able to face the horrors unfolding around them and ultimately defeat the baddies yet again.

This series has been a lot of fun – sometimes deeply disturbing and potentially nightmare inducing, but fun. I think the true magic here is in the strength of the Charles’ skills as a writer. Once again, her Victorian-era world-building is vivid and captivating and her characters (big and small) are so richly developed they practically jump off the page. The mystery elements are always well crafted, too, providing a great deal of suspense and intrigue throughout the story without ever overpowering the focus on the growing relationship between Lucien and Stephen.

This was quite the moreish read, and although I’m sad to be saying goodbye to these great characters, I certainly look forward to submerging myself in other stories from this author in the future.
Profile Image for Loulou .
867 reviews
December 9, 2021
I WANT MOOOORE!!!

This series is now one of my absolute faves!

Lucian and Stephen are just so amazing together.

This will also be short and sweet because I'm currently listening to the novella.

The writing. AMAZING WRITING
The romance. THESE GUYS ARE SO SWOONY
The case: I WAS HONESTLY SURPRISED BY THAT!
The steam... dude! THE STEAM! Although not many and not overly explicit, but they are certainly imaginative lol.
The narration: SUPERB by Cornell Collins

Fave Quote:
“Stephen can, of course, use my power, for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s his, just as all I am and all I have are his. Not that he ever asks, of course. I’m not sure that he quite believes it.” He looked round at Stephen, a rueful smile dawning, ignoring Fairley’s loud noises of disgust. “But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours.”

SWOOOON
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,765 reviews3,851 followers
July 29, 2016
My first BR with Marcie!

“Whatever else you are, you’re mine.”


I’ve been putting off reading this one because I couldn’t face the end. And now…



It’s over! What’ll I do without my kinky dandy?

I was going to say this is the best one of the series but then I looked at my reviews for the first two and realized I gave them 5 stars too! Duh, I’m going with 5 on this one but I feel GR is limiting me. I'd much prefer to go with 7 or 12.

Crane and Stephen haven’t been together all that long but they are so devoted to each other and that shines through right from the beginning. I truly in my heart of hearts believe they are soul mates and that crazy Magpie Lord may have even had a hand in bringing them together. The events that transpire in this book only cemented my feels on this.

The case in this one kept me guessing. I’ve loved the whole magpie tattoo thing since it started happening, but the extra meaning behind it in this one satisfied my inner perv while also managing to be sweet with a hint of poignancy.

I was also delighted to find out the name of the guy who showed up in Rag and Bone! Bad boy is bad. He *might* need a spanking to deal with some of that sass.



Merrick is still his usual snarky self. I’ve loved his friendship with Crane from the beginning. He may be Crane's henchman, but that doesn’t preclude him from giving Crane the business nor does it mean Crane’s exempt from an ass whooping.

“You can’t work the stove, can you?”

“I’m the eighth Earl Crane and the twelfth Viscount Fortunegate. I don’t have to work the stove.”


Crane is a lot of things-he's a bit pompous, exceedingly blunt and a whole lot vain, but he's loyal. What I like best about him is even if he disagrees or fights with those he loves it never occurs to him that they would ever not be in his life. It's probably part arrogance and part his domineering nature, but I find his lack of timidity refreshing.

Now, there are few things I like better than kink and a size difference, but you add in some dirty talk, a dandy and face melting sex and...



I read a lot of kink and there are a lot of permutations of doms, but Crane is that rare breed that is absolutely not going to be topped from the bottom. They are playful, cheeky and quick witted with a lot of innuendos bandied about between them, but Crane is always in control. And Stephen loves it. In the bedroom or hall or wherever, but Stephen is not a shrinking violet outside of their kinky shenanigans.

He loved Stephen's bloody-minded determination, enraging though it often was, and his terrifying powers, and his fierce, fragile pride, but he loved them all the more when Stephen set them aside and surrendered utterly, giving himself to Crane without reserve.


There sex was so ON FIYYYYYAHHHHH that I had pancake eyes and *may* have burst into song...

Blood, sugar BAYYYYYBEEEE He's magik. SEX MAGIK!SEX MAGIK!

"I'm a very busy man," Crane said. "But I suppose I could force myself back here, lick you all over till you're begging for my cock, and then fuck you so hard they'll hear you screaming in the street. If you insist."


And... there went my face. My face melted right off my face.



Two for joy. That would do very well indeed.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,136 reviews432 followers
July 1, 2018
5 Stars!

There’s really no point in actually talking about the story here, because if you haven't read The Magpie Lord first, then all you need to know is that this last full length novel for this series was absolutely fantastic. I can’t quite put my finger on why this book appealed to me so much, because I typically balk at historic M/M since it has the potential to cause great anxiety. I’m just going to chalk it up to Charles’s wonderful writing at evoking a rich world of magic and darkness, embroiled with justice and forbidden love that simply made this an intensely compelling, nail biting, romantic read.

Of course, what makes this series so good is the dynamic between arrogant aristocrat Crane, who pretty much needs nothing or no one as he has the world at his fingertips due to his wealth. What Crane can’t buy though, is Stephen, a man whose strength he admires despite his small unassuming size, a man whose goodness draws Crane in despite their clashing natures.

Stephen on the other hand, has never thought to even hope for any kind of happiness, and he doesn’t quite know how to deal with Crane’s blunt devotion. Understandably, Stephen basks in it, is astounded that he could have such moments of fulfillment, but he’s also at conflict with his sense of duty and responsibility that have been the only things that have kept him warm at night. Now that Stephen has options for something different, he’s at a loss as to how to go about reconciling what he’s always done and what he’s always desired.

Obviously, I can’t say enough about these two. These men are not perfect. They each know their own limitations (mostly) but are willing to sacrifice much for the other. Crane and Stephen are frustrating and stubborn. Both men are not prone to effusiveness but the small gestures, the quiet murmurings, the hot loving, all were gobbled up like the delicious morsels they were!

I don’t give out a lot of 5 stars, but all the points go towards the series as a whole, which consistently brought intricate world building, complex motives and emotions, and a wonderful magical smexy that has left me in despair knowing that future stories are not forthcoming. I don’t know if any of Charles’s other works will ever measure up, but I’m going to find out!!
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews393 followers
April 10, 2016
All kinds of disorderly and conduct unbecoming.

London as cesspit makes its reappearance. Troubles that have been delayed and put off come back to roost. And the magpies are even more spectacular than usual, which let's be honest are one of two favorites things in this series for me. Finally, Crane stops dillydallying and coddling and he's magnificent.

Nice humanizing of Stephen's team in this one as they become fleshed out and explored. The Council, well they provide all the help one has come to expect and more. Nice crew of villains, including one that is quite intriguing. But, my favorite part is Stephen's decision at the end of this story--YES!

Overall, action-packed and diverting tale of malfeasance.

Favorite quote because Crane is simply marvelous:
“I see. Things must be bad if you’re voluntarily telling me the truth.”
Profile Image for Vanessa North.
Author 44 books510 followers
October 29, 2014
This is, I think, the best paranormal series I have ever read. And of the three books so far, this one is the best.
And if Lucien being all disdainful and foul-mouthed doesn't make you cackle with admiring glee? Well, you'd have my sympathies.

Just as you do if you aren't reading this insanely clever, spectacularly gruesome, and delightfully sexy series.
Profile Image for Sofia.
1,144 reviews194 followers
November 29, 2014

I read this with a great big smile on my face, happily getting anxious to return to the book to see what is happening, each time I had to stop reading.

Charles really went out with a bang with this one. A proper finale, a kick-ass culmination of a great series.



What I loved:
The conversations and banter

Crane’s sarcastic mouth

Seeing the bond that exists between Crane and Stephen. We had already seen the bond that there is between Crane and Merrick which is further reinforced here. But in this one we also see the intimate bond that is now Stephen and Crane. but more than that, they are truly hooked on each other.


Wants:
Pastern’s story – which Ms Charles will give me in Jackdaw

Merrick and Jen in private – hopefully Ms Charles will take the hint….




BR with Maya 25.11.14 - really enjoyed this Maya.
Profile Image for Erika .
415 reviews129 followers
December 2, 2014
This is how I felt upon finishing Flight Of The Magpies:



And it still feel that way now. I loved this book! I love this series and I swear K.J. Charles can do no wrong. I have not read any of her books and thought, "Oh this one was just ok." Nay, they are all excellent. Thank you K.J.

While reading A Flight of Magpies I could feel the stress that Stephen was under, as he stretched himself thin to do a good job and prove himself to his superiors. All the anxiety and flop sweat just oozed off the page, making me feel a slighter version of his jitters. I could also feel the annoyance and love that Lucien felt towards Stephen as he watched his man work himself down to the bone for what he felt was not enough rewards. SIGGGHHH. It was just all kinds of good.

I was there with them as they dealt with the bad guys, who were even badder in this book, I must say. I was there with them as they dealt with the issues in their relationship. I was there yelling at my iPad screen as certain things happened and exulting as they were laid to rest, and I'm here now, waiting for more. Bring it on!


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣.
711 reviews151 followers
November 1, 2014
The writing is tight in this story. Concise, meaty and clever. More than once I had the urge to start reading aloud just so I could hear the words. Subtle and yet demanding of my full attention, exciting and lovely and sexy.

Before I get to characters and plot, I must start with the tattoos. They continue to play an important and, most excitingly, ever changing role. Not just as a part of the story but as an expression of the continuing evolution in Crane and Stephen’s relationship, revealing the changes in each of them, changes they feel as a couple, as well as changes in their powers, supernatural and not. They’re my favorite common thread (ok, there is one other, more on… him, later) throughout all of the stories in this series. Instead of ever coming close to resembling a gimmick, they are an important part of this universe. One of the beating hearts within these books.

There are no plot holes to speak of within this story. No dangling bits are left in question, except those of the best kind, of course. Anything left unresolved is simply a part of the natural progression of the connection between Lucien and Stephen.

Speaking of, Crane and Stephen are sigh-worthy, equally matched – except when they’re not, by choice, and that is utterly delicious – and they’re intelligent, silly, and simply besotted with each other. There is so much more to their story, despite already having made it through three novels and a couple of short stories. I really enjoy the fact that it’s Crane who is the first to state his desires when it comes to their future, and that it’s Stephen who feels torn and overwhelmed, uncertain. It lends itself to very real and natural feeling conflict and tension. Which, of course, leads to oh so satisfying progress.

Continuing on that, the dialogue rings very true, very real. It feels right in relation to the personalities for all of the characters, both main and supporting, and that translates into boat loads of investment for me as the reader. I want to know what happens, I worry about what might happen, I hope it all happens.

The action scenes are fantastically constructed and well placed. None felt superfluous. They all helped move the story forward, no interruptions, and always managed to reveal something unexpected. I continue to contend that all-out action scenes, with multiple players, are very challenging to convey logically. Every character has to act and react in ways that make sense, not just emotionally but, physically. To keep it all straight in one’s mind as a reader necessitates that level of difficulty multiplied times ten for the author, in my book.

Now then, back to that “one other” common thread throughout these books that I simply adore, cannot do without and gave me quite a scare in this one: Merrick. Ah, Merrick. Awwww, Merrick! I love that we learn much more about his personality in this story. He became and is now a multi-dimensional character for me. He’s not “just” the snarky savior for Lucien, and now Stephen. He’s that steady heartbeat you hear in the background, all while mayhem, confusion, and tension are swirling around London and its peculiarities, including its residents. ;)

Lucien and Stephen made me growl, in the best way. Sexy, intimate, demanding and frantic. They’re both thinking more and more in terms of “us” as opposed to “me” when it comes to imagining their future. Not just imagining but working to make those desires a reality.

There is so much to grab onto in this book. Handfuls, armloads of tension and gore and sexy and doubt and victory. This third installment of this series has definitely earned its place on my best of 2014 shelf.
Profile Image for ȷαεlα.
672 reviews
May 27, 2016
This is the final book in this series and I'm so sorry that I have to say goodbye to two very dear characters.

I loved Crane and Stephen (especially Stephen) and I'm feeling so sad that there is no more to read about them.

If the first book was about lusting, the second about loving, this book was about the consolidation of the love between Crane and Stephen.

This book was intense, as always, too much action, a real plot and villains.

Stephen would like to leave his job and be with Crane all the time, but his duties oblige him to stay in England and take care of magical/witchcraft business.

Crane doesn't like Stephen choosing his duty instead of him and at some point they "break up" from each other.

Watching them apart and suffering was heart-wrenching. It lasted a short period of time but when they got together again, that "collision" was amazing. I liked the BDSM notes. Surely Crane knows his way in the bedroom.

I'm so happy for both of them. That ending was spectacular. The things Stephen can do with/without using his hands....
I'm sure they'll never get bored with each other.

"But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours."

Farewell babes.

*sobbing*
Profile Image for Diana.
534 reviews18 followers
September 23, 2017
Flight of the Magpies is book there in the A Charm of Magpies series that I was on the fence about reading because I do not read historical romance, EVER!! To say this series surprised the heck out of me, is an understatement. I loved all three books in the series, maybe because like my friend Caipi said, it didn’t feel like a historical romance, and I agree. Yes, the dialogue and the description of clothing and everyday life was definitely historical, but it just added to the story for me.

Lord Crane is frustrated with living in England, and wants to return to China with Stephen. Unfortunately, Stephen has so much going on with his job as a justiciar (magical law enforcer), he definitely cannot leave. Especially while he is chasing a magical killer of 3 policemen and 2 of his coworkers are not available. When an evil enemy from the past resurfaces, it will take all the magic Stephen and Crane have to get through all of the chaos.

I highly recommend this series. Each book does have an ending, so no cliffys.


Profile Image for Jordan Hawk.
Author 88 books2,420 followers
September 18, 2014
I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record with this series, but each one truly is better than those which have come before. The stakes get higher, the interpersonal tension between Lucien and Stephen winds tighter, and the sex gets hotter. Combine this with a cast of colorful secondary characters, and you have a series that continues to exceed already high expectations.

Profile Image for Ami.
5,811 reviews499 followers
November 1, 2014
4.25 stars

If this review is slightly shorter AND not as coherent than the previous two -- well, I have my reason *laugh*. I read this back in September 2014 and silly me, I didn't immediately wrote down my thoughts. So I couldn't exactly remember a lot (my brain's fault, not the book). Also, when I read this, I didn't know that this would be the end of the series. So my opinion reflected that.

My 4.25-stars rating (and not more) was based on one issue. I was slightly worried with Lucien and Stephen's arguments in the book -- Lucien thought his lover was overworked and underpaid and he wanted desperately to bring Stephen out of the blasted country so they could have their happy ending. But Stephen was too loyal to his job -- especially since his partner was now pregnant, and with all these new murders along with serial thefts that are too close to home, Stephen was adamant that he needed to stay.

Of course their argument brought some delicious emotional tension (and uhm, yeah, sex too *haha*). Again, I didn't know that this would be the final book but at that time I was worried that it would be a continuous thing. I wasn't a huge fan of continuous arguments with established couple ... because you know, I like them solid.

But the mystery was pretty compelling -- I had my guesses about who was behind the murders (and I was right, YAY!). KJ Charles smartly tied the mystery with what happened in book #1 (which I thought was really good since the ending of book #1 should have repercussion). It gave the chance for Crane to also show his scary power. It was amazing and it was BAD-ASS. GO CRANE!!!

This book also brought up a very intriguing character by the name of Jonah, who would be having his own story in Feb 2015. Oh, and there was a very delicious progress with BAMF! Merrick too (yes, that was how I would call Merrick, by the way)!

The ending was great ... and felt hopeful and resolved at the same time. I know that there is a short story coming from this world in January 2015 (A Case of Spirits) and we will get to see the gang as cameo in Jonah's story, but at the same time, I feel sad to say goodbye. It's a GREAT paranormal historical series for me, it can compete with mainstream paranormal in any case, and it has been ENTERTAINING throughout.

And THAT is why KJ Charles is definitely on my auto-read list (though I still have to read her M/F one *lol*); even if she only appeared on my reading periphery last year (WOW!).




The ARC is provided by the author for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,614 reviews240 followers
June 29, 2018
What a thrill ride!

Ah, my lovelies, whilst I lie sick in bed writing this review I crave not medicines and elixirs: I crave Crane (and of course, Stephen).
Yes, their story is over for the most part. I’m told they pop in for the next book, but it’s not the same really, is it?

Here our very proper Crane and his very filthy mouth finds himself in dire straits. Thank goodness for that mouth of his for he puts it to good use in attempting to save not only himself, but his lover Stephen against the evil machinations of a warlock gone mad.

Treachery is afoot in this third installment and it comes from unexpected places. There is a huge tug of war between Crane and Stephen over his dangerous job and Crane’s desire to return to China. Will duty or desire win?

Needless to say, an HEA is in store for our mismatched lovers, at least for now. I’ve been ripping through this series in audiobook and let me tell you, every penny was worth it. I started the next book in the Charm of Magpie World starring a character here and a new one. No Crane or Stephen yet, but I know they’ll make an appearance.

These books are phenomenal, even more so in audiobook....HIGHLY recommended, especially the sex scenes as Crane likes to be bossy in bed and Stephen loves him that way!
Profile Image for Caz.
2,679 reviews1,015 followers
April 19, 2018
I've given this an A+ for narration and an A for content at AudioGals.

So compelling was K.J. Charles’Flight of Magpies that I listened to all six-and-a-half-hours of it in one sitting. In the third book of the  A Charm of Magpies  series, the author has crafted an engrossing story full of intrigue, magic and danger which pits our heroes, Lucien, Lord Crane and practitioner (magician) Stephen Day, against some truly evil old enemies bent on revenge while at the same time exploring the effects of, for want of a better expression, ‘real life’ on a couple in an established – although illegal – relationship.

Please note that there are spoilers for books one and two in this review.

By the end of book two of the trilogy, A Case of Possession, Lucien and Stephen are a couple; ILYs have been exchanged, Lucien has decided to remain in England with Stephen – at least, until such time as he can persuade his lover to go to Shanghai with him – and they’re in it for the long haul. Stephen has always been a bit elusive, but he’s now spending several nights a week at Lucien’s flat and their lives are becoming more and more intertwined, and not just because they are inextricably linked together by an ancient and potent magic. Lucien’s ancestor, The Magpie Lord, was the most powerful sorcerer England has ever seen, and although Lucien has no magical abilities himself, the supernatural power that runs through his blood can somehow amplify Stephen’s already considerable abilities and together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .
Profile Image for Isabel.
562 reviews103 followers
November 2, 2014
Stephen and Lucien... wow!!! Their relationship is magical! Not only there is magic involved, but they are so strong, so right, so perfect together!!!

This was one more fantastic adventure, more dangerous, more threatening, but at the same time, these adversities only brought more power to both of them!

I have a favorite, though... Lucien!!! You can give me a dominant Lucien anytime, please!!! Actually, give me more!!!! He is absolutely fabulous! I love to see him with Stephen, no doubt about that, but I also love to see him arguing with Merrick, or having arguments with who wants to kill him... There are no words to describe how awesome he is!

"“Stephen can, of course, use my power, for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s his, just as all I am and all I have are his.... “But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours.”"


"One for sorrow, Two for joy"







Profile Image for KatieMc.
818 reviews87 followers
December 1, 2014
There are two things wrong with this book. One is the cover fail - I look a Crane and I see him ready to attend the senior prom, circa 1978. The second is that it was too darn short. Other than that, it's awesome. Really well written, great mystery, and great characters. I totally loved seeing Stephen and Crane as an established couple.

Honest question - was Shanghai really gay friendly or gay tolerant in the 18th or 19th century?
Profile Image for Chelsea.
872 reviews7 followers
May 14, 2022
Re-read - May 2022, July 2019 - So good! these two are much dirtier than i remember :-P
November 2015 - Loved it again!!



Review

Such an amazing series!! I'm so sad it's over, this will definitely be a re read series!!

This book was great that it resolved all the loose ends and left us with a beautiful ending for our gorgeous men (although more is always welcome ☺).

The sex was seriously seriously HOT! more so than the last two. I also liked that Crane and Stephen are still not the perfect couple and this book showed it with their arguments and frustrations, but they just love each other and work to be together.

Obviously the mystery side to the story was great as well, like the others you had an idea of what was going to happen, but it kept you at the edge of your seat and always had one or two suprises.

A series I couldn't put down till I had finished it!
Profile Image for Melindam.
632 reviews275 followers
July 17, 2020
Great fun, loveable, flawed MCs with great chemistry, a fantastic set of secondary characters & solid writing with humour.

Excitement, magic, laugh out loud moments and romance just in the write mixture, none of them overwhelming.

The story is quite rickety with some really stupid & dumb moves on the part of Stephen, unnecessarily endangering people that could have been avoided, hence it's only 3 stars eventually.
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