[A quick note: I got an early copy of this book from Goldsboro because they shipped them early. I decided to dive right in, because it sounded like a perfect autumn read. I really like this red naked cover with gold foiling. This is my first Ava Reid book.]
“𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒓𝒖𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒊𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒚: 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒂 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒉 𝒔𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈.” —Ava Reid
A university architecture student begins questioning the authorship of her most beloved book when she gets the opportunity to re-design the author’s home after his death. In the process, she discovers that she is being hunted by the creepy fairy king. The ominous halls of Hiraeth are crumbling around her, but it holds the secrets she needs if she’s willing to risk her life to find them.
I had fun with this! As usual, I didn’t read the premise going in to this book, so I really had no idea what to expect. It was a pleasant surprise! The uniqueness of the ideas really struck me. It was a pretty quick, enjoyable read, with a sprinkle of chills that made it perfect for autumn.
For me, there were things that hit the mark, and things that missed the mark.
Effy’s character and the plot were my two favorite aspects. I loved a reading story about a girl who struggles with her mental state, takes medication for it, and is missing a finger. She was very uniquely human. Her character was filled with flaws in such a believable way. She spent her life fighting the world’s disbelief, and that shaped her. She was subjected to sexual harassment, something I related firsthand to. She was scorned for her sex. But in the end, she overcomes the world, and has a beautiful character arc.
The plot was super fun. Effe finds herself in a crumbling mansion. There are haunting, creepy moments. While she’s there, she works with Preston as they sleuth out secrets around the country’s favorite author. What they find is shocking! But also, believable.
The two things that missed the mark for me were the romance and the world building. The romance fell a little flat for me. But it was the world building that bothered me most. I couldn’t find a place to land. The construction of the geography confused me. The time and setting confused me. I couldn’t tell what time period and technology existed in this world. It made me feel unsettled. Because it wasn’t presented up front, I found myself first thinking this was set in a Victorian inspired era, then realizing there were cars and trams and telephones, I had to shift my perception to a more modern time. However, there were no ballpoint pens but rather, nib pens, suggesting an earlier time, so…I just felt so lost and struggled to relate to the overall world building. At the end, there is mention of a record player…so this was before radio? But there’s newspaper and photographs. Ugh, I was just so confused. That took away from my enjoyment.
Oh, and the date listed didn’t help. This was set in somewhere around 200AD but “AD” I assume stands for “After Drowning” so that threw me off too, since 200AD in OUR time would be very historic time period. This just all felt very messy for me, a little forced and over complicated, which is why it didn’t earn a full star rating.
I think if you can overlook the world building aspects and just appreciate this story for the plot and main character alone, you’ll definitely enjoy it. And maybe you won’t be as picky about the world building and romance as I was.
𝑴𝒀 𝑹𝑨𝑻𝑰𝑵𝑮: 𝟒/𝟓⭐️