A Marvellous Light – Book Review

Title: A Marvellous Light
Author: Freya Marske
Series/Number: The Last Binding #1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQ+
Age: Adult
Page Count: 377
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
Themes: Magic, Murder, Sexism, Mystery, Sibling Rivalry

Synopsis:

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.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tordotcom for an eARC of this title.

This book hooked me from the beginning. It starts off with a very tense scene and then drops right into the awkward accident of Robin’s new job and his first introduction into the world of magic around him. I really enjoyed Edwin and Robin’s relationship. I loved that Robin was a generally upbeat guy, where Edwin was reserved and grumpy. It was especially nice to watch the two interact and influence each other over time. Watching Robin and Edwin’s relationship grow was sweet and heartbreaking in different ways, but in the best ways. I loved seeing them get to know each other and feel comfortable together as time went on.

In terms of the magic I thought it was incredible. The idea of cradling as a way to control and use magic was so fascinating. Rather than verbal spells images are created with cradling to create spells, and I think that was very cool. I also really enjoyed learning about the history of the world and where magic came from. It’s something I would love to see explored more and I liked it as a choice about where magic came from in the first place.

I thought the mystery was also really well done. I haven’t read a lot of mystery, but I wasn’t able to guess who was causing all the trouble early on. It was only very late in the book that I had a guess, and I loved that. I thin I enjoy reading the reveals when I’m not even sure who is behind it all.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

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