If you follow me on social media, you may have seen that I’m going to be starting a new job soon. As in, next week soon. That means things will be changing around here. We don’t quite know what shape or form that will take as I will step back from reviewing but it means that I have a heck of a lot of reviews that I want to get your eyes on this weekend! So stay tuned for a review bonanza this weekend. Many thanks to the respective publicists for sending me review copies of these books – all opinions are entirely my own. And I loved all three of these!
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske follows on on last year’s A Marvellous Light (which I reviewed over on Grimdark Magazine HERE). While the first book followed Edwin and Robin, two men in Edwardian London, this is set on a grand ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, reminiscent of the grandeur of the Titanic. It features new main characters – Maud Blyth and the dashing Violet Debenham – and of course, a good dose of murder. Just as devastatingly sexy and compelling as A Marvellous Light, A Restless Truth may have captured even more of my heart. Because who can resist women falling in love on a ship? Confined spaces, intense inter-personal relationships and steamy romance on a steamboat! Freya’s writing is truly marvellous and the way she manages to combine a mystery with erotic scenes that will make you blush in public and tenderly developed, nuanced characters is something that makes these books stand out in the market. These books are absolute gems and I can’t recommend them enough.
The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake is the sequel to The Atlas Six, duh – which I adored – see my review HERE. This second book sets in slightly after the conclusion of the first book, after everyone had a chance to digest the events of the ending. I think my favourite bit – and after the threesome of book one, I don’t think this is a major spoiler – is that Libby is officially confirmed as bi on the page. And for me personally, that was a major thing. We don’t get enough of this in books! Also, hi, Libby’s my favourite. As this is essentially the GET LIBBY BACK book (sorry if you haven’t read book one!) for me, this one was all about her. She permeates the story, even when she’s not in it. I did feel that The Atlas Paradox wasn’t quite as magical for me as The Atlas Six had been, but that is often the case with sequels – the world is established, the stakes are set and you know the characters, they have become familiar. I still really, really enjoyed reading this and diving back into this world and already can’t wait for the next one! I need MORE! And there’s a certain new character who I’m very intrigued by and who I think will have a super interesting arc coming up, so AAAH GIMME NOW. A very very solid four stars.
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson was originally self-published before it was picked up by Orbit to be re-released in October. This is a queer, poly, retelling of the brides of Dracula, set over the course of centuries. Like many, I initially thought that the original cover was far cooler, but that faded fast when I received the physical ARC – the smear of blood over her eyes is foiled, so it actually looks like blood on the cover and has a different texture to the rest and it’s such a brilliant effect. It ended up a stunning edition. I also love the elaborate initials used at the beginning of each chapter – and as the narration is closer to stream of consciousness or conversational narration than traditional chapters, there’s a lot of them. So, even if you have the original edition, I recommend you pick up this Orbit edition. It’s been a while since I read the first edition, so I’m not sure how much is down to Orbit’s editing and how much is down to time and format, but I felt like I enjoyed this a lot more a second time. The characters stood out more and the story as a whole drew me in more. This is written in second person – which seems like an important thing to mention, as I know many of you may have opinions on this – it’s not something which I tend to be very fond of, but I felt like it worked really well here. I ended up loving A Dowry of Blood my second read and highly recommend it.