Review: A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske (The Last Binding #1)

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ARC received from the publisher (Tordotcom) in exchange for an honest review.

Once again, I blame the ARC request on Sara (as usual with anything romancey), and once again, it was very enjoyable. Part mystery, part romance, part magic, as usual for the subgenre, it suited my mood well – I haven’t read proper historical romance in a while.

Robin finds himself inexplicably assigned to the job of being the liaison between the mundane and magical worlds. There are only three little problems: he didn’t know magic existed until his first day on the job, his predecessor may have been murdered, and he himself gets cursed. Four if we count Edwin, his frustrating and prickly counterpart on the magical side of things, who does not appreciate having to work with someone who has no clue.

The mystery plot of the murder and Robin’s curse worked pretty well and the magic system was very interesting, one of the most unique spins on it I’ve seen in a while. But my favourite aspect was the characters. I got especially attached to the bookish Edwin (is it even a surprise?) and I liked that both of them hide some pretty nasty family-related trauma under the surface.

The romance didn’t fall into my one favourite specific type, and the heat level was higher than I prefer (there are 3+ longish, explicit sex scenes), but I enjoyed it regardless. The sunny himbo/grumpy nerd dynamic was fun. I was initially afraid I’d find the constant sniping at each other tiring, but it luckily got better fast and from there on it was smooth sailing. The only thing I was slightly bothered by is the time scale – they got together after what the characters said was only a week, which seemed a little fast, and felt much longer to me while I was reading besides.

In short, this is a series I’ll gladly continue.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: historical romance fans, those who like interesting magic systems
Not recommended to: those who don’t like a lot of explicit sex 

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