Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publisher: Five Fathoms Press
Publication Date: September 4th, 2017
*Disclaimer: I’d like to to thank the author for kindly providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
So, what do we have this time from Ms. Burgis? Another Regency-like fantasy, I see, an atmosphere that we saw was done very meticulously in MASKS & SHADOWS and CONGRESS OF SECRETS. This time we have a mix of alternative reality England (Angland), magic, politics, elves, and romance.
The protagonist is Cassandra Harwood, the first lady to practice magic in her society. What do women do usually then, you say? Politics, of course. But Cassandra is a rebel, and right now she is struggling to soften the mold that her society had put her in.
The action is swift and the characters are easily likable. We have a lot of traditional themes that are presented with the author’s own take on them—things like family, gender roles, race, and free will. What I loved most about this novella was that it could be read both ways; as a light-hearted story on a lazy Sunday, or as a deeper tale about a woman put in a tight spot because of everything surrounding her, and her struggle to make it through. And this struggle in itself can be seen as either fantastical—humans versus elves, or—if you see it the other way—a struggle similar to the one each of us sees every day. It is here that you start to relate to Cassandra, and to fear for her safety and laugh at her wit.
What didn’t I like here, then? It’s short! I wanted to read more about the world and to see more of the characters, but I saw the finer print, “Book 1 of The Harwood Spellbook”, meaning we have more stories on the way.
Verdict? A definite recommendation from me, and waiting patiently for the next book. Thanks a lot, Ms. Burgis.