Book Title: A Marvellous Light
Author: Freya Marske
Release Date: November 2nd, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magic, Romance, LGBTQ+
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light, featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies.
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.
Do you ever start reading a story and have to put it down for a second because it’s the exact story you’re looking for? Even if you didn’t know you were looking for it? That’s what happened to me with A Marvellous Light. I was already super excited for this book after reading the synopsis. It combined several things I love: historical fiction, magic/magicians, and LGBTQ+ relationships/representation. So, going in my expectations were already very high, but I tried to talk those expectations down a bit before reading because I was certain they were too high to be met.
I was wrong, because not only were they met, but they were exceeded. I loved every single moment with this book, and I cannot wait to recommend it to every single person I know. I mean, seriously, everyone should read this book.
First, let’s start off with the writing style. This is a fantasy book, and the magic system was a little complex, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow along. And while there were times that it took me a moment to figure out what was happening, everything was explained so well and in simple enough (yet still managing to be complex) terms that I was able to understand and follow along. The writing style really fit for a historical fiction book, while still adding all of the flourishes and prose needed for a fantasy novel.
I immediately fell in love with this world. I’ve read several stories where magicians are hiding in plain sight, and this might be one of my favorites. The way magic was used and manipulated was so cool and unique, unlike anything I’ve read. The setting of the Sutton Manor was especially wonderful, and I can’t wait to see this explored more in future books.
As for the characters, I loved Robin and Edwin dearly. Robin was flung into the magical world without any warning, but he took it rather well all things considered. While Edwin had lived with magic his whole life, he didn’t have nearly as much as those around him, and because of bullying from his family members (who I hated!!!), he developed a lot of self-consciousness from this. I loved watching him grow and become more confident in himself and his abilities, and I’m so glad Robin was able to help him with that and stand up for him when others wouldn’t.
Speaking of Robin and Edwin though…I absolutely adored them and their relationship. Not only was their chemistry off the charts, but the progression from adversaries to friends to something more was developed effortlessly and believably. They were so sweet and wonderful, and I cannot wait to read more books about them and their adventures.
A Marvellous Light is one of the easiest five stars I’ve given this month. It is such an incredible book that I am so thankful to have had the pleasure of reading. I can’t recommend this one enough!!
Have you read A Marvellous Light? If so, what did you think of it? Did your opinions differ from mine? I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Make sure to check out my last cover reveal: Egotistical Puckboy (Cover Reveal)