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Review: A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (The Last Binding #2)


Thanks to the publisher (Tordotcom) for the ARC of this book.

I have been teased with how good this book is since long before I got a chance to read it. Too long. So when I started it and didn’t click with it immediately, I was a little worried it would be yet another highly anticipated disappointment. Or my unreliable reading mood. But it won me over eventually, and I ended up having as much of a blast as with A Marvellous Light.

Robin’s sister, Maud, heads off to New York to help with the Last Contract. And not long into the return journey, Mrs. Navenby (who owns a piece of it) gets murdered. With the help of Violet Debenham, a magician-actress and scandal magnet, the curmudgeonly Lord Hawthorn, and Alan Ross, a writer of pornography, she sets off to find the culprit – and save the Contract.

This was just as much fun as the first book. Romance, magic, murder, what else does one need to have a good time? I liked Maud and Violet just as much as Robin and Edwin and the ship setting perhaps even better. At points, I wasn’t sure how would the author manage to drag out the mystery plot over the whole book, and a couple times I was afraid that it’ll become burdened by prolonged misunderstanding-based complications (thanks fuck they were addressed quickly), but in the end it worked out okay. And even though sex scenes are spicy and prolonged and I’m ace-spec, it again bothered me less than I thought it would. I’d chalk that up to good writing and character development.

Most of all, I liked that for a change, neither of the ladies was as obsessed with propriety and manners as is usually the case with historical fiction set in Britain (aka most of it). Violet straight up doesn’t care and wants to shock her relatives and even seemingly proper and inexperienced Maud has a rebellious streak.

If there’s one thing I was mildly annoyed by is that as with the previous book, there was a disconnect with how long the book felt, and over how few days did the plot actually take place. The characters did remark on it (“I’ve only known you for three days” etc) but I still felt like some things were moving a little too fast.

Recommended. Looking forward to the sequel very much!

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: fans of romance and mystery, those looking for more f/f, those looking for historical stuff that’s not Victorian
Not recommended to: those who don’t like long explicit sex scenes

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