Review #255

I gave this historical fantasy a 4.2/5 stars It’s the first of a four book series. The romance was clean but sparse overall since the plot focused on saving her friend from the villain and learning about her powers. There were a few times while reading that I felt pulled in too many directions and wanted it all tighter, but it was a fun story. It’s not a book you can skim to get the idea of it.Right when you think you learn some more answers, more questions pop up. The vibe reminds me of Sherlock Holmes or Spellbreaker and SpellMaker but writing action fight scenes aren’t this author’s strong suit.

Here’s my thoughts while reading:

Chapter 1 had TONS of stuff happening So, it’s 1914ish and our heroine, Lily can see visions of the future. At first I wasn’t sure if she was jumping through time herself or if they were premonitions. She sees one of her best friends die from a (vampire?) in their impending future and has to decide whether she’s going to track down the killer to try and save her friends fate. But whenever she has tried to intervene with her visions before it hasn’t been successful. Meanwhile.. she crashes her motorcycle, leading her to meet a nobleman who may or may not be trusted. He may be either the romantic interest or the vampire or both. These chapters are a little longer and slower than recent books I’ve liked, so I plan to settle in and take my time with this fantasy historical fiction. I believe it’s a four set series and I’m not certain if the last one is published yet.

After chapter 3 I’m a bit unsure how the events in this house relate to what has already happened earlier in the story. I’m excited to find out how they all overlap eventually.

The detail of the description painting on pg 67 was done extraordinary.

Oh man little puzzle pieces keep getting dropped at a fabulous pace to keep me fully intrigued. Half-brother? I wasn’t expecting that. But I won’t give out any other spoilers. Lily needs to refocus on her goal but I have a feeling she will end up using the large sum in the bank account she’s never used to bid on the artwork. Why is it important? I want to more about charismas. And what of this doctor and his snotty club of followers? What do they have to do with blood and possibly the vampire killer? Who else will find out about her powers?

And after chapter 9 I’m super excited about their plans and also concerned about the creepy guy lurking in the shadows twice now.

I love the quote on page 142: “It was as though this stretch of suburban sprawl had cracked open, revealing a sliver of the world of fairy-tales. Not the pretty ones, but the sort where the witch eats the lose children.”

This “Society for the Betterment of the British Race” is so messed up.

Sometimes it takes too long to set up the next event in the plot but the author does a great job of establish the vibe.

Oooh when the father comes into the picture it raises the stakes again!!! The author is so clever adding bits and pieces so slowly but effectively. I’m wondering if her father has kept away for her well being for some reason instead of selfishly because he’s embarrassed. Maybe the money he put in an account for her isn’t money at all but information about her powers.

I don’t like that so many pages are about the multiple times when visitors are received at someone’s house by the staff/butler. It’s a bunch of wasted space.

At the halfway mark, the Refuge is intriguing but also frustrating with this wise Ash guy (who reminds me of Charles Francis Xavier) ends up talking her into philosophical circles and leaving her more lost than when she arrived.

The title of the novel finally makes sense on page 252!

At page 288 I’m starting to get frustrated. The story seems to be getting off track and dawdling. First there was the side step at the illegal abortion clinic. Now there’s “The Book of Days” and the “Wine of Jeruma.”

I love that Sam knows the distinct personality traits of certain types of animals, like how doves are protective in this world.

Near the end of the book it’s a little odd that she’s still calling Strangford by his last name.

I’m 50/50 undecided about reading the sequel. I enjoyed sinking into this novel and didn’t feel rushed yet overall it felt more stiff than my typical read. I needed to use more effort and mental energy throughout. The vocabulary was a bit more formal and educationally based than the fantasy novels I read, which is fine but the prose just seemed more laborious. I think instead of reading the rest of the series (the 4th comes out in 2023) I would rather find a historical fantasy that I emote with more naturally.

As a random sidenote – it’s very frustrating when libraries have the first and second in a series but then refuse to buy the third. What the heck?!!!

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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