Book Review: Lakesedge

Title: Lakesedge
Author: 
Lyndall Clipstone
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: 
ebook – ARC
Page Count: 
384
Publisher: 
Henry Holt and Co.
Synopsis: GoodReads | StoryGraph
Notable Notables: 
Original fantasy world, a death god is here
Recommended Readers: 
Young adult readers who like emotional stories
CAWPILE Rating: 4.57
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

Violeta Graceling travels with her younger brother, Arien, to Lakesedge estate, expecting to be at the mercy of the Monster of Lakesedge. The lord of the estate, Rowan Sylvanan, is said to have drowned his parents and brother in the lake. However, once she arrives, neither lord nor lake are what they seem. She discovers that Rowan has a connection to the Lord Under, a sinister death god that makes bargains for a terrible price. She vows to save Rowan, the estate, and herself, all while discovering why she is also being drawn to the Lord Under.

I was so, so hopeful for Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone, a novel that promised to be about monsters and magic, told in a lush gothic style—but was it truly a gothic work in the end?

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ARC Review: Ruthless Gods

ruthless gods
Title:
Ruthless Gods
Author:
 Emily A. Duncan
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: ebook – ARC
Page Count: 432
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Dark, gothic atmosphere with no punches pulled; villain romance; diverse LGBTQA+ cast
Recommended Readers: Fans of the first book and cosmic horror enthusiasts
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

EDIT: I have changed my review from a four-star rating to a two-star rating on 4/11/21 to reflect my lingering feelings of dissatisfaction with this book and how unenthused this trilogy’s conclusion has left me.

I absolutely fell in love with Wicked Saints, the first book in the Something Dark and Holy trilogy by Emily A. Duncan. It connected with me on a level that I can’t fully explain; all I know is, it was one of those rare books where I read the ARC and went out to buy the published version that very same day.

Needless to say, I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel, Ruthless Gods, and was overjoyed to receive an ARC for it. I’m a bit disappointed to say that it didn’t resonate with me as strongly as its predecessor did. Its strong points came through splendidly, but its low points were detracting and, in some cases, downright annoying.

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Book Review: Wicked Saints

wicked saints
Title:
 Wicked Saints
Author:
 Emily A. Duncan
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 385
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Dark, gothic atmosphere with no punches pulled, villain romance, diverse cast
Recommended Readers: No moral purists allowed
Rating: ★★★★★

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Before we get started, note that Duncan used 99% real Eastern European names within her novel, and that is absolutely awesome that she didn’t dilute these names and the culture just because the names are “hard to pronounce.” More like, a lot of us aren’t used to them because of how often Western societies have forced people with these names to change them, so I’m very happy to see them here. For those curious, Duncan uploaded a handy pronunciation guide on her Twitter that I absolutely referenced while reading.

The countries Kalyazin and Tranavia have been locked in a holy war for centuries. On one side are clerics who derive their magic from praying to their patron deity; on the other side are blood mages who have rejected the gods. As the war shifts in Tranavia’s favor, Nadezhda “Nadya” Lapteva finds she’s the last cleric left in Kalyazin, but instead of only hearing the voice of her patron goddess, she hears all of them, an unheard of feat. When her monastery is attacked by the High Prince of Tranavia, she is forced to flee, becoming entangled in a plot with two foreign Akolans and a rogue Tranavian that could turn the tide of the war.

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Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

stalking-jack-the-ripper
Title: 
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author:
 Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction
Version: Hardback
Page Count: 326
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Yay, feminism!
Recommended Readers: Gothic readers and fans of mystery with a dash of horror
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I have been on such a journey with Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. When I first cracked open the book, I had low expectations, but it managed to surprised me with its keen heroine, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, and how delightfully descriptive it was with Victorian England’s way of handling cadavers. Throw in the Jack the Ripper mystery, and this was set to be a magnificent choice for Halloween-time reading.

But then things took a turn for the disappointing, and it all started with the introduction of Thomas Cresswell.

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Book Review: Ironskin

ironskin

Title: Ironskin
Author:
 Tina Connolly
Genre: Fantasy
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Tor Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Reverse Beauty and the Beast elements
Recommended Readers: Fans of gothic fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

 

This book has been on my to-read shelf for a while now, so I was ecstatic to find it at my local library because it’s an unlikely find at a mainstream bookstore.

I’ve seen Ironskin promoted a few different ways. It’s a reverse Beauty and the Beast where the girl is “disfigured,” forced to wear an iron mask to hold back a fey curse of anger. It’s steampunk. It’s Jane Eyre but with fey. Some of these are only half-right while others are completely wrong.

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