The first time I set eyes upon the cover of this book, I fell in love. It’s beautiful and dark and the premise sounded oh so promising too! Even when I started, the first two chapters were just magnificent. I instantly felt drawn to this curious Fantasy-version of Victorian England and the many monsters that inhabited it. I am not going to lie, the monsters were probably my favourite part about the whole book. I can’t even explain what it is about them, because I don’t fully understand them yet, which just makes them all the better.
The world building was just fantastic. I got a bit confused when they tried to tell me the difference between witches, magicians and sorcerers, because well, magic is not just magic. Sorcerers get staves and that is a really personal thing, as you are bound to your stave forever. Your life literally depends on the fact that nothing happens to a stick. It was really funny, because you have to name it and Henrietta, the main character, just chose a hilarious one for hers (which I won’t say because of spoilers, but it’s a good one!).
However, my enthusiasm for the story got a little lower as I continued reading. It was still written in a way that was nice and easy to go through. Sometimes it was even hilariously written, for example when Henrietta aggressively drank tea or aggressively petted a horse in order for her to not burst into flames. There is an abundance of potential love interests (because, yes, there definitely is such a thing as too many love interest) though and something about the whole story feels a little … how shall I put it? Familiar? Predictable? It would be a vast exaggeration to say I could have predicted EVERY twist and turn, but the over-all arc did feel like something I already knew from somewhere else.
It did have some great takes on topics such as the rich/poor-divide and gender equality, which I really appreciated. But lastly, I just want to say that I think there is a lot of room for growth in the books to come. Since this is only the first installment in the series, I am looking forward to the next books. I am loving this world already, even if I had a couple of issues with it, I just want to know what happens next.
Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! I liked it, but I just didn’t love it I am afraid.
Do you think you would enjoy this book? Have you heard of it?