Hello, everyone! Today I’m bringing an extra mini review for a book I’ve been waiting to read for what seems like forever. I requested A Marvellous Light months ago on NetGalley and had given up hope of being approved. I was eagerly awaiting getting my hands on it since today was the publication day. Then, last week, I got an email saying I was approved for the eARC. So, of course, I had to drop everything else and read it, and I’m glad I did. Without further ado, here are my thoughts!
Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light, featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies.
Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.
Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.
Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.
Stories are why anyone does anything.A Marvellous Light, Loc 4829
***Thank you to NetGalley and TorDotCom for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
This was an incredibly enjoyable read, even though it wasn’t really what I was expecting. I expected this to be more heavily focused on the fantasy elements with a subplot of romance, but it felt a bit more like the reverse. It worked for me, though, because I loved the relationship between the main characters. They started out at odds with each other and became closer throughout the book, while still keeping a high level of entertaining snark. There were plenty of steamy moments, as well, which were explicit but didn’t feel overly gratuitous as they revealed important things about the characters and their evolving dynamic. The author did a wonderful job of building the setting, and I truly felt transported to Edwardian England. It was interesting to see the characters navigating that time period as queer individuals, and the struggles they faced added an extra layer to the relationship between them and others. The fantasy elements were interesting, and the magic system was unique. I enjoyed learning about it with Robin, and the mystery and world-building kept me turning to the next page to find out more. There were a lot of engaging elements to it (murder, attack swans, prophecy, killer hedges, magic administration conspiracies, etc.). My only major complaints would be the somewhat slow pacing of the first half of the book and the lack of depth to the secondary characters. I enjoyed the character moments of the first half of the novel, but it just felt dragged out with little forward movement on the mystery for a bit too long. That being said, I loved the book and am now anxiously awaiting the sequel. Therefore, I rate the book 4 out of 5 stars.
There you have it! My mini review of A Marvellous Light. Does this sound like a book you’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments, and then go pick it up from your local bookstore as it released today!