Madam by Phoebe Wynne

Firstly, a huge thank you to Quercus Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Madam in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date:
18/02/2021
Length: 400 pages
Genre:
Gothic | Thriller | Historical Fiction

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”


Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs—not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”


It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor—a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere—than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

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The Iron Crown by L.L. MacRae

Firstly, a huge thank you to Lauren for sending me a copy of The Iron Crown in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date:
28/05/2021
Length: 568 pages
Genre:
Fantasy

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

Fenn’s first and only memory is finding himself in the middle of a forest, face to face with a dragon spirit mocking him, all knowledge gone apart from his own name.


Lost and confused, his only hope for answers is Calidra—a woman living on the edge of the world with her partner. Forced to return home when her father dies, Calidra has put off facing her estranged mother for seven years, and she begrudgingly helps Fenn, forging papers for him so he can avoid the Queen’s Inquisitors.


But her mother is the least of her worries when they discover an ancient enemy is rising again. It should be impossible with the Iron Crown in power—and Fenn is terrified he might unwittingly be playing a part in the war’s resurgence.


Surrounded by vengeful spirits and powerful magic, Fenn’s desperate attempt to find his way home might well alter the fate of Tassar, and every power in it.

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The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

Firstly, a huge thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication Date:
06/05/2021
Length: 496 pages
Genre:
Fantasy

CW: graphic violence

Blackwells.co.uk

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods…

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Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

Firstly, a huge thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date:
22/04/2021
Length: 400 pages
Genre:
Fantasy | Translated Fiction | Magic Realism

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

How will you help your friend if she doesn’t want to be saved?

In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find the mirrors in their bedrooms are shining.

At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives into a wondrous castle filled with watchful portraits, winding stairways and twinkling chandeliers. Hidden within the walls is a key which will grant one wish, and a set of clues with which to find it. But there’s a catch: they must leave the premises by five o’clock or suffer a fatal end.

And so they begin to unlock each other’s stories: how a boy is showered with more gadgets than love; how another suffers a painful and unexplained rejection, and how a girl lives in fear of her predatory stepfather.

As time passes, the devastating truth emerges: only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved.

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How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

Firstly, a huge thank you to Ebury Publishing, Rider Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of How Do You Live? in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Publication Date:
08/04/2021
Length: 280 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

The streets of Tokyo swarm below fifteen year-old Copper as he gazes out into the city of his childhood. Struck by the thought of the infinite people whose lives play out alongside his own, he begins to wonder, how do you live?

Considering life’s biggest questions for the first time, Copper turns to his dear uncle for heart-warming wisdom. As the old man guides the boy on a journey of philosophical discovery, a timeless tale unfolds, offering a poignant reflection on what it means to be human.

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The Guardian by Erin Lee

Firstly, a huge thank you to Erin Lee for sending me a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date:
20/04/2021
Length: 410 pages
Genre:
Fantasy | Young Adult

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

A human with dragon magic. A dragon desperate for his magic to return. A promise of revenge that ties them together…

One of only ten humans with dragon magic, seventeen-year-old Alvis Witt is forced to hide his identity as a Talisman Wielder when all he wants is to fight alongside the resistance group, Linless. Then Alvis gets his chance to use his secret magic to rescue the dangerous and notorious dragon, Rae Bremmet, from the country’s heavily guarded prison. What seems like a simple mission twists into a series of events that leaves Alvis and Rae with a thirst for revenge for everything their corrupt homeland has stolen from them.

But Alvis and Rae can only agree on one thing—they fight best when they fight alone.

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