Published: October 9th 2014 by Bloomsbury Sydney
Format: Paperback, 397 pages
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Goodreads ● The Book Depository ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
Gretchen is struggling with her newfound gift as a Whisperer; the constant buzzing in her ears from detecting spells is more frustrating than fun, especially when she is spending time with one of the Order of Iron Nail's Keepers, the icy but strikingly handsome Tobias Lawless. But while Gretchen tries to hide the truth and resolve her feelings for him, London fades from beautiful and bustling to deathly silent ...Something evil is once again menacing Mayfair, and Gretchen and her cousins must use their powers to prevent a horrible sacrifice.
Whisper the Dead is the second book in this wonderful series that follows three teen witches in the regency era. Emma, Penelope, and Gretchen have recently found out that they are witches of the powerful Lovegrove line, and are now struggling to control their powers in an increasingly dangerous world.
Although the first book of the series followed Emma, we still got to be inside her cousins’ heads. The same is true for Whisper the Dead – it’s told mainly from Gretchen’s perspective but we get plenty of passages featuring old favourites like Emma, Cormac, Penelope, and Moira. Gretchen is amazing! I loved Emma, and still do, but by golly it was great to be inside Gretchen’s head as she rebelled against the stifling rules and regulations of her society. She makes it clear that she finds the outlook of her people hypocritical and unfair, and jumps at every opportunity to prove herself more than simply a debutant in a white dress waiting for an offer of marriage. Her relationship with her twin brother Godric is really interesting because he’s the only person who really understands her. Godric helps his sister flaunt society’s expectations, and I think their bond is one of the best things about this book.
Let’s talk about Tobias!
Firstly, I love the name, because I am still in love with Tobias from Animorphs! And Veronica Roth’s Four is also named after Tobias from Animporphs, so it’s not just me. Any guy named Tobias automatically makes me swoon. But Tobias Lawless, Lord Killingsworth, heir to the Starkwood earldom (don’t you LOVE his titles?) is a tough guy to figure out. Incredibly prim and proper, mindful of each one of society’s expectations, he seems to be Gretchen’s opposite in every way. But as we, alongside Gretchen, get to know him we realise they have a lot in common, including their love for their families and their secrets! Because yes, perfect Tobias has a secret. I won’t tell you what it is, but it’s super swoon-worthy, I promise.
The world building is again breathtaking in this instalment. I loved the descriptions – the gowns, the mansions and ballrooms, the gardens and cobbled streets – Regency London brought to life vividly by Harvey. I also thoroughly love the way that all the teen characters manage to subvert all the rules that are meant to keep them in check. As Gretchen astutely points out, what’s the point of all the traditions and rules when everyone ignores them anyway. It’s easier, I think, to see how restrictive this society is through Gretchen’s eyes than it was with Emma, simply because Gretchen chafes at it a little more.
Now I know I keep saying I love this series for how cute and funny it is, but I never want to give them impression that it’s light and fluffy. There is dark magic about with terrible consequences, and the Lovegrove cousins and their loved ones aren’t immune. A Breath of Frost introduced us Greymalkin Sisters, powerful warlocks trapped in the Underworld who are seeking a way out, and although Emma managed to bind them earlier, they are again stirring up trouble with their sinister plans. Without spoiling what happens, Whisper the Dead has brilliantly raised the stakes and set us up for a thrilling conclusion in the next instalment!
I loved Whisper the Dead and can’t wait for the next book. I love this world and its characters, I love how the author balances humour and frivolity with the evil that lurks in the streets of London. Readers who like paranormal fiction and historical fiction will love this series.