Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Hexworld 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy (Historical)
Rating: Five Petals
On the Author's Website:
Will a dark history doom their future together?
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.
Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.
Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.
But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.
I received this book as an ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this book. I don't start off many reviews saying that, but the fact of the matter is I'm struggling to figure out what else I'm supposed to say. Hexbreaker had everything: an engaging plot, wonderful world-building, characters that felt like they could jump out of the page and into the real world, magic that kept me interested the entire book, and a romance that was perfectly formulated to tug at the heartstrings. Figuring out how to analytically review something that I enjoyed reading so much is a struggle, but I'll give it an honest try.
Tom and Cicero are paired together to solve a case about multiple terrible murders where the murderers went mad and attempted to kill everyone around them. Tom recognizes the curse from the one that killed his old gang, but knows that to reveal his past would get him put in jail. Worse, it would force him away from Cicero forever. Cicero knows his witch the moment he first sees Tom, but can't get over how scared that makes him. Big men like Tom tend to use their fists first and their brains second, which Cicero wants to stay as far away from as possible. As they get more embroiled in the case and start to actually learn about each other, Cicero learns that there is much about Tom to love. Yet, Tom's secrets and the violence of their case threaten to tear them apart forever.
Tom and Cicero's characterizations were easily the best part of the book. Tom is in hiding, yet trying to live an open, honest life. He embraced being a cop and the responsibility that goes along with the job despite his checkered past. I really enjoyed the parts of the book from his perspective. Cicero, on the other hand, was more difficult to love. He is prickly, flighty, and feigns his desire for independence at every turn. He's part cat and therefore characterized perfectly, but what really made him interesting was when Tom started pulling down those walls of indifference to reveal a truly likable man underneath. Together they definitely make one of my favorite pairings of all the M/M books I've read.
If I had one complaint about this absolutely wonderful book, it's that I felt like I needed to go reread The 13th Hex, the short-story prequel that introduced this world and this series. I reviewed The 13th Hex as part of The Charmed and Dangerous anthology and loved it, however there are so many names and other events that occurred in The 13th Hex that were mentioned offhand in Hexbreaker that I couldn't help feeling that if I hadn't read the prequel I would have gotten very lost and confused. I only mention this as a problem because Hexbreaker is labelled as the first in the series when it's clearly not. I highly recommend reading The 13th Hex first before absolutely picking up Hexbreaker, and since both are great reads it's not actually a burden.
Hexbreaker had everything I want in a book: excellent plot, a wonderful romance, world building that awed me, and magic that kept me interested the entire book. It was well written and a ton of fun to read. My only recommendation aside from reading Hexbreaker, is to read the short story prequel, The 13th Hex, first before delving into this book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.