I read this book when it was selected by my book club for this month. Ironically, I think only 2 of us ended up finishing it. I guess historical romances/fantasy books aren’t for everyone. I happen to enjoy queer historical romances (The Will Darling Adventures, I’m looking at you!) so I was interested in checking this one out. The fact that magic existed in this world was a new twist from the historical romances I’ve read in the past but I thought it was cool. But I think that was what lost most of the people in my book club. It’s a pretty dense book with a lot of world-building, as you might expect from a fantasy book. If you’re not in the right headspace, it could be a tough read.
I’m certain I didn’t totally follow everything that was going on throughout this book but I did my best to understand what was going on and how everything worked. The thing I struggled with, as I usually do with these types of books, was keeping all the players straight! There are so many characters and being that it’s set in Edwardian England, many of the characters are referred to by formal and informal names which made it even harder to keep track of. If pressed, I’m still not sure I could tell you exactly how many siblings Edwin had. I think it was only 2 but don’t quote me on that.
I liked the plot, I liked the magic, and I liked the main characters. Robin was kind of thrown into the deep end at the start of the book, with this new job and learning of the existence of magic. He’s paired with Edwin who is a magician but not a very powerful one and has a lot of familial issues stemming from that. Robin is cursed by men looking for a mysterious contract and Edwin needs to try to help him break the curse while also figuring out who is behind everything. Along the way, they develop feelings for one another and I thought their love story was very sweet. There was also a very creative use of magic during a sex scene which was quite hot!
I imagine that people who read a lot in this genre will really love this book. I’m a casual reader, at best, in this genre but overall, I enjoyed the book.