Bone Gods (Black London #3) by Caitlin Kittredge
Publisher: St. Martins Press/Nov. 2010
Black London Series
Witch hunts are on the rise and supernatural turf wars are reaching a boiling point. Then, just when it seems life couldn’t get any worse for Pete, Jack reappears—but he’s no longer the man she’s always known. Hell has changed him forever. And he’s brought back with him a whole world of trouble…
A cabal of necromancers are using ancient, unspeakable magic to turn the tide of war in their favor. Then, as the city is about to sink into chaos, Pete receives a chilling directive: To end the war, you must kill the crow-mage. Beset from all sides, Pete finds herself turning to an unholy source for help…even if doing so could destroy Black London—and life as she knew it—once and for all.
Pete is still reeling from losing Jack to Hell, and now her old partner is seeking her help in a murder that has black magic written all over it. Literally. The corpse is covered in carved symbols and sigils indicating dark magic of the worst kind. When Pete heads into the Black to question some folks who might have seen this kind of magic before, she’s approached by a couple of toughs and a man that represents the Order of the Malleus, dedicated to bringing down magic users in the name of God. What Pete is certainly not prepared for is the sudden appearance of her mother, who left her when she was only 11, and who seems to be involved with the Order. Pete is even less prepared to deal with Jack’s sudden return, and he’s not the man he used to be…
Poor Pete. She really, really can’t catch a break. The events of Demon Bound were an emotional roller coaster for her, especially with losing Jack, but in Bone Gods, the stakes are much, much higher. A necromancer with plans to summon an ancient evil is on the loose, and the future of the Black, and all that inhabit it, is at peril. This is a lot for one girl to shoulder, and it’s not helping that Jack is certainly not acting like himself. Don’t get me wrong, Jack’s never been warm and fluffy. In fact, most of the time he’s a jerk, but he’s Pete’s jerk, he does love her in his way, and their bond has been a strong thread in this series. I’ve always given Jack a certain amount of leeway because of what he’s been through, and the nature of his immense power. If it weren’t for the drug and alcohol use, his power would have driven him completely insane a long time ago, and even with the help of the drugs, he’s just barely been able to keep his wits about him. Pete is caught between her love of Jack and her need to do the right thing, and the right thing may not be the best thing for Jack. When her former partner from her police days, Ollie, is kidnapped, Pete will have to call on a demon for help, and hope that she can stop the destruction of the dark and the Morrigan from taking Jack’s soul.
I do have to say, while I devoured Street Magic and Demon Bound, this one gets off to a bit of a slow start, but it does come into its own, and the co-dependent (and, er, rather dysfunctional) relationship between Pete and Jack is one of the strongest parts of the story for me. I love Caitlin Kittredge’s London, where around every corner you may slip into the Dark, where demons and mages (and other creatures-see The Antiquarian) lurk, and nothing is as it seems. This is one of my favorite series, and Bone Gods is a good addition; not as strong as the first two, but still good. The author keeps the emotional (and physical) stakes high, and Pete comes into her own more and more as the series progresses. There’s also a bit of a jaw-dropping moment in this one, but I won’t give that away. Just trust that it will make you want to move right on to Devil’s Business, the next in the series. The Black London series (and, well, anything by Caitlin Kittredge), is a must for any urban fantasy fan!