A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
The Last Binding Book #1
LGBTQ Historical Fantasy
November 2, 2021, by Tordotcom
This was such a unique fantasy world that I’m still thinking of it days after I finished reading. The world-building is just so superb. This magical, mysterious England where families pass down their abilities and are bound to their estates, where secret government agencies manage to keep all of these things hidden to the masses.
Robin Blyth doesn’t know anything about magic… that is until he’s suddenly thrust into a desk job when his predecessor goes missing. Now he’s seeing a side of London he didn’t know existed and stuck right in the middle of a desperate search for a missing contract. Paired with Edwin Courcey, his contact and someone who possesses just enough magic to get by, but not enough to be considered a true power, they set about trying to remove a curse and figure out who the bad guys are and what they are looking for.
This fantasy romance started out slowly, as the world-building and character backstories were being established, but as I got to know these characters and this world, I found myself quite invested. This is very much an opposites-attract romance with the quiet, brilliant yet bookish Edwin and the more outgoing, titled Robin. The chemistry between the two main characters was outstanding, even while they were annoyed and irritated with each other at the beginning. It only gets better as they get to know each other and become intimate. Their banter and flirting is *chef’s kiss*.
On their quest to figure out how to rid Robin of the curse placed on him they travel to Edwin’s family home and readers meet his family and their friends. AND THEY ARE AWFUL. Omg so terrible. I hated them. I’m so surprised Robin stuck around along as he did. Oh, there are other secondary characters who become allies of this couple and are pretty great, but damn Edwin… your family is pretty terrible.
I enjoyed this family romance very much and look forward to learning more about this magical world and checking back in with this couple.
Final grade- B
Along the Saltwise Sea by A Deborah Baker
The Up and Under #2
October 12, 2021, by Tordotcom
The second book in the YA fantasy series, The Up and Under, by A Deborah Baker (also known as Seanan McGuire), checks in on Zib and Avery as they amble along in the Up and Under hoping to find their way home.
This time they are once again accompanied by their friends Crow Girl and Niahm, as they try to follow the improbable road while looking for the Queen of Wands. This takes them under the Saltlwise Sea, onto a beach, with a brief respite in a vacant cottage. Unfortunately, this abandoned cabin actually belongs to a captain of the pirate ship. So onto the ship to pay off their debt they go. Hopefully, this will bring them a little closer to discovering their way back over the Woodward Wall and home.
This was another sweetly fantastical adventure by this remarkably talented author. A great read for both fans of young adult and adult fantasy. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Final gade- B
I’m looking forward to the Freya Marske book! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Angela.