I kept hearing so much good about this series, and I was looking for a cool, romance/light fantasy audiobook so I landed on this. I’ve now just finished audio-reading the second one in the series, and looking forward to the third!
In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.
Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.
When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.
I normally review books right after I read them, and I’m finding that reviewing book 1 after reading book 2 is quite difficult. I think this is especially the case here since there’s a narrator switch between books.
I really enjoyed the mix of genres in this, between what I believe is called gaslamp fantasy, romance, and murder mystery. It’s a nice mix of three of my favourites.
I found Miles really compelling, and the overall plot kept me guessing the whole time. I think it is, at the core, a story about discrimination and oppression for people who aren’t as rich and powerful as a baselessly chosen elite. The poorer witches are persecuted, while the powerful ones sit in government and control everything. It was infuriating, but in a good way.
I quite enjoyed the romance itself, but the main draw for me was the mystery and political plot, to be quite honest. And the resolution exceeded all expectations, I truly did not see any of it coming, and yet there were enough clues laid out that I felt like I should have. I also really liked some more minor characters, including Tristan’s staff, and Robin, who I’m very glad to see is the narrator of book 3.
Overall it was a lot of fun to read/listen to, and I jumped on to the next book. I think the only reason it’s not getting a full 5 stars is that the second book in the series felt even better and somehow even more tightly plotted, and I preferred it overall. But both were great reads and I fully recommend it!
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