Audience: YA Gothic Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Lyndall Clipstone
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.
There are monsters in the world.
When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
There are monsters in the woods.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…
There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.
Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.
WELL, THE COVER IS GORGEOUS.
And that little fact drew me in before I was let down by a meh story.
Much potential wasted. That summary gave me all the good vibes of a great gothic fantasy duology intro. I was ready for it. And this was not it.
There is magic in this world, but absolutely no explanation or rundown of what that system is about. I don’t know why certain people got magic and why others don’t. No idea what the limitations are or why it works the way that it does. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Along those same lines are the complete lack of world-building. I got the Gothic vibes and that was it. It all practically took place at one location and that’s all I’ve got. I’m so confused still as to where I was supposed to be that entire time.
Our dear main character wanted me to give up this book at 25%. She was that girl you’re waiting to see die in a horror movie because they run straight to danger rather than taking one moment to logically think. This did get better in the second half.
The story also did improve in the second half. Unfortunately since I was already over it by then because of the weak start I didn’t feel emotionally attached to anything happening. The romance was kind of sweet? It burned pretty well, the spice felt forced, and I’m in mixed thoughts about it all. I’m realizing I’m confused about Lord Under’s place in all of this too. Am I supposed to like him? Is he a morally gray character that has more to him? Remains to be seen.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Gothic Fantasy
- Language: very little
- Romance: kisses to one brief open door scene
- Trigger/Content Warnings: self-harm, loss of loved ones, drowning, poison, magical attacks, creature attacks