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Paladin's Grace: 03/07/20
There is nothing wasted in this book. The title itself is a double entendre. First there's Stephen, a paladin for the Saint of Steel — a god who died three years earlier. Stephen, one of the few paladins to survive the blowback is now graceless. Second, there is Grace, a perfume maker. She and Stephen in their own delightfully goofy way fall in love, and thus she becomes the Paladin's Grace.
In the background of this awkward but mutually respectful and adult romance is a murder spree. Someone is leaving just the decapitated heads of their victims. It serves as the reason why Grace and Stephen meet but it's not the central focus of the novel. Not exactly.
Just, though, when it seems like the novel is going to settle into being a rom-com in a fantasy setting the novel changes tone and switches into being a legal drama. Grace is accused of attempted murder and her perfume recipes are confiscated as evidence.
Romance and legal drama and fantasy and a serial murder of the type that would show up on Criminal Minds. Seriously this book is tailor made for me. Without giving away spoilers, all these separate plot elements come together in an organic and believable fashion. The resolution to attempted poisoning is well plotted and satisfying. The resolution to the murder spree is equally tight and completely horrifying.