ARC Mini Review – A Marvellous Light

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!

18 thoughts on “ARC Mini Review – A Marvellous Light

      • Not enough to actually warrant the comparison then. It’s disappointing how every other m/m books lately are being compared to RW&RB without enough concrete similarity. It’s unfair to both books as well as the readers.

      • Yeah, and it’s unattractive. What if I haven’t read RW&RB and then I read AML and disliked it? I’d be dissuaded to read RW&RB. Likewise, if I’ve read RW&RB and disliked it, I’d be dissuaded to read AML. I might’ve missed the chance to read something that could’ve been incredible, all thanks to a misleading comparison.

      • Yeah. Personally, I don’t really pay much attention to comps when deciding what to read for that very reason. Ultimately, even if they are truly comparable, the books should hopefully still be different enough to be their own thing anyway. I tend to focus more on the synopsis or reviews of the book…or if I’m being really superficial, whether I like the cover. lol.

      • Thanks! I love talking about books, and it is nice to engage in conversation. It is one of the reasons I started blogging and doesn’t happen nearly often enough. A lot of the time it feels like shouting into the void. lol. Although, I’m sure that is at least partially my fault because I’m pretty bad at engaging with other people’s content. There’s only so much time in the day, unfortunately.

  1. Me too! (I really should stop repeating that.) I usually don’t engage unless someone engaged me first. I’m very opinionated, so I worry that my strong opinions might be an imposition. Which is why I totally get what it’s like feeling like shouting into the void.

    • I really enjoy reading the stuff of opinionated people! lol. Especially if their opinion differs from mine because it often makes me see new things about a book I didn’t consider before, which I find really fun.

    • Yep. I’ve given a few 2 stars so far. I’m pretty good at spotting what I like and don’t like in advance, though. I’m also not super picky and read/review mostly based on enjoyment rather than literary analysis. So, the reviews of books I don’t like are pretty sparse.

  2. I was like that too, then I wanted to become an author myself and, as a result, started seeing books differently. I asked because I was feeling guilty about dnfing my first arc and still wrote a review. It’s the author’s debut. Anyway, sorry for dumping this on you. You don’t have to reply.

    • I don’t think you need to feel guilty about DNFing or not liking an ARC. I know I don’t (most of the time). I’m always honest about my reading experience whether it was good or bad and attempt to give reasons for both. Ultimately, someone might like the things I didn’t, and my negative review could make them buy the book. So, I try not to worry about it too much.

Leave a Reply