I’ve been needing some series escapist charm in my life ever since I was first smitten with long COVID well over a year ago – and this one looked just the ticket. Indeed, the cover reminded me of the wonderful Stariel series by A.J. Lancaster. Would my expectations be fulfilled?
BLURB: Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.
If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.
REVIEW: To be honest, the blurb makes this quirky, enjoyable offering sound more ordinary than it actually is. Dora is an interesting heroine, given that she has sustained a terrible injury right at the beginning of the book and throughout, she is successfully portrayed as someone who is slightly at odds with social expectations. It’s technically a tricky characterisation to pull off – if she is too weird, then it just gets embarrassing and a tad annoying, yet if she isn’t odd enough, then the whole premise falls flat. I think Atwater does a really fine job in portraying someone who is constantly struggling to find the appropriate social persona without compromising the character, or silting up the pace.
I also enjoyed the anger against the yawning gulf between rich and poor that is expressed within the story. There were, indeed, well-born men and women of the day who felt outraged at suffering of those less fortunate than themselves and it’s refreshing to see a social reformer as a main protagonist in a Regency romance. It certainly gives the story a bit of heft, especially when we come to the fae and their reactions to the land of mortals. This became a real page-turner that I couldn’t put down until I reached the end – which tied up the story very satisfactorily. I’m delighted to note that there are other books available in this entertaining series, which I’ll certainly be tracking down. Highly recommended for fans of historical romance with a fantasy twist. While I obtained an arc of Half a Soul from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
I didn’t like this as much as you, but I do want to read the second book in the series. Lovely review!
Thank you, Tammy. I’m reading a fair amount of this sub-genre right now – and I thought this was a particularly good example:).
This novel piqued my curiosity when I saw it listed on the Orbit newsletter, but I had to give up the idea of requesting it because… you know… TBR Troubles. Still, it sounds intriguing and I will keep it on my radar for the future. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
You’re welcome, Maddalena!. Right now, historical fantasy is my catnip… and I thought Atwater did a particularly good job of portraying an impaired protagonists without annoying me:)).
I didn’t realize there was a re-release. I read this book last year and absolutely loved it. I adore Regency Fantasy, so this was right up my alley, and the author’s notes and recommended playlist were pretty good too. 🙂 Great review!
Thank you! I am hoping to listen to the next book in the series as an audiobook:)).
I’ve read the second book which was very enjoyable. I was keen to backtrack and request this one but I realised I was already a little hopelessly behind so decided to be good – boo.
I haven’t yet had the pleasure – but I definitely want to get hold of the second book:)). I had a blast with this one.
I’ve heard about the series but wasn’t sure if it’s for me. Your review tells me that I definitely should give it a go. Thank you!
You’re welcome, Joanna:)). I hope you enjoy it!