Review: Dangerous Flames – Stephanie Burgis

Review: Dangerous Flames – Stephanie BurgisDangerous Flames
Series: Good Neighbors #5
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 31, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Source: Purchased

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

No killing until the wedding's over. No killing...

It is such a simple, temporary rule - but Carmilla, the notorious Countess Cardenza, will still find it hard to follow when she's confronted by her most dangerous old flame at Mia and Leander's wedding. With appallingly respectable neighbors, shambling zombies, and old enemies on every side, will her reunion with Eliza end with murder or kissing - or both?

A novelette set after the events of Good Neighbors: The Full Collection. Exclusively available on Stephanie Burgis's Patreon until mid-February 2023.

4 stars icon f-f fantasy icon romance icon

With Mia and Leander fairly well settled in Hapthorn, it’s fallen to Carmilla, Countess Cardenza, to investigate the last loose threads from the previous novella. But first, she has to not kill anyone at their wedding, not even her annoying (-ly beautiful) old flame. That’s right, it’s a second-chance sapphic romance between two necromancers!

Carmilla’s taken it upon herself to check each and every bit of bland, boring respectable wedding preparations to avoid any nasty surprises. Sure, Leander’s undead minions are doing a great job arranging the centerpieces, but he and his soon-to-be-wife have both made a lot of enemies. If only a certain necromancer who looks very good in tight black trousers would stop badgering her about their failed romance…

“Years ago, Carmilla had been drawn to the other woman’s blunt honesty and more—that stubborn core of unquenchable moral fire that had powered her most reckless acts and had given her ‘Flame’ as a nickname between them. Now, Carmilla finally saw how that endless blaze of fire could easily blind the one it filled.”

This is a pretty classic second chance trope, with added zombies. Sixteen years ago, Carmilla and Eliza met in Larimont, Eliza’s hometown, and were a good match in both their necromantic and romantic pursuits. But when Carmilla resolved to do something about the rising prejudice against magical members of society, Eliza refused to leave Larimont with her. Of course, there’s hurt feelings all around, and zero contact until Eliza moves to the same village as Carmilla’s adopted nephew. Forced to interact again, it’s just part of Eliza’s nature to try to ferret out the truth of what happened back then.

“That boy looks at her like she’s the oldest bone in a newly-discovered crypt and someone’s about to whip it out of his reach if he doesn’t hang on tight enough.”

Without spoiling the whole thing too much, both of the reasons behind their misunderstandings made sense and vibed with the characters and their previously established backstories. It’s all woven in with the backdrop of the wedding, plus there’s plenty of humor (some of it about the completely besotted couple).

So overall, let’s just say that I’m very much looking forward to the next novella about Carmilla!

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