Katie's Reviews > Rag and Bone

Rag and Bone by K.J. Charles
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I'm sitting here trying to think of new words because it seems that with every K.J. Charles book I read and review my level of praise increases. So much so, that I think I've nearly run out of ways to say how fabulous and amazing she and her stories are.

Or else I'm suddenly self-conscious about sounding like a raving fangirl lunatic.

Ha! I can emphatically say that no, no I'm not.

K.J. Charles and her stories are at the top of the heap, the best of the best. No doubt. The crafting is superb. The world-building, dialogue, plot arcs, nuanced characters full of flaws, insecurities, strengths, introspections, the lingering questions that get answered in due course...and all the other things I'm leaving out because I'm still in such awe.... Charles is a master. Not just in this genre of historical M/M romance, swear on my Kindle. She's a master of this writing business, hands down.

Rag and Bone. I freaking LOVE that title. The cover? Mercy, mercy me, it's so gorgeous it brings tears to my eyes.

This mystical Magpie World that Charles weaves? I don't know what sort of hoo-doo she channels to get all these fine details of magic and evil (some reeeeaaally gross). Then add in the layers of all the hallmarks of the era that take extraordinary research -- like the rag-n-bottle shops, waste buying/selling, the clothes, the economy, down to the cobbled streets and coal bins.

The story of Crispin and Ned is sublime. Not an unnecessary word or scene, full-to-bursting with sweetness, suspense, icky evil things, and incredible subtle humor.....gah! I loved it all.

Not only does she weave all this together to spin an incredible tale, but she legit casts in perfect snippets of poetry and song in juuuust the right places that are simply meant to be there.

Crispin has these powers, a specific talent that's uncommon amongst his peers. Therefore, they're leery of him and his warlockish abilities. The words Charles uses to describe Crispin's pen strokes and flourishes are so artfully done they are crystal clear in my head. And I adore this guy who seems a bit nervous, a lot self-conscious, and tries so hard to be and do the right things.

Ned is his perfect counterpoint, a calm and stoic man who takes each day as it comes. Just his presence, view of the world and exacting moral compass are exactly what Crispin needs to take it down a notch and breathe easy.

There's a scene (no spoilers, I swear) where Ned feels defeated, alone, angry. He's sitting atop a pile of waste paper, head back against a wall, knees up, wrists propped on his kneecaps...and he's tapping a flask against the inside of his leg. He's an exhausted sort of shattered here. This was written so well, so perfectly I could feel it -- his every frustrated emotion to my very core. I was him in that moment. Unreal. Gorgeous.

And my, oh my how I love these two together.

I loved the little visits with Mr. Day and Ms. Gold from the Magpie books -- and it was a neat surprise to sit on a park bench next to a rapscallion from one of the others in this world I adore. (I'm keeping it quiet because it was so unexpected.)

The next in the series can't get here soon enough.

* I highly recommend the prequel, A Queer Trade, before starting this. It shows how Ned and Crispin meet. Rag and Bone picks up with their relationship already in progress.

Also posted on BackPorchReader.com.
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Reading Progress

January 20, 2016 – Shelved
January 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read_not_pub_yet
February 4, 2016 – Shelved as: p-amazon
February 4, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read_pre-ordered_amazon
February 29, 2016 – Started Reading
March 1, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star_all_the_love_and_stars
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: best_reads_of_2016
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: c-established_couple
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: c-kinda_geeky_mc
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: f-favorite_author
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: f-had_some_lols
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: f-wonderfully_poetic_prose
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: g-fantasy-magic
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: g-historical-1837-1901-victorian
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: g-historical
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: g-lgbt-mm
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: g-paranormal
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: g-paranormal_witches-wizards
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: i_actually_reviewed_it
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: l-novella_81-200pgs_20k-50k_wds
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: read_2016
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: t-series
March 2, 2016 – Shelved as: v-3rd_person
March 10, 2016 – Shelved as: x-charles-kj_rag_and_bone

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message 1: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Awesome review Katie ;)

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