I think my favorite element of A Marvellous Light has to be the way Marske balances the stakes. There’s an adventure filled storyline which keeps readers on the edge of their seat. I wasn’t sure how it would end as I was swept away in this magical world. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.
Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it–not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.
Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles–and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
A Marvellous Light is this wonderful blend of period drama, queer fantasy, and magic. From the beginning, I was entranced by the mixture of ‘polite society’ and a magical world that’s hidden from us. But what quickly swept me away was this conflict between the world of Robin and Edwin. Not only the feeling of a magical world opening before our eyes, but also the consequences. The ways that entitlement meets power. All the ways that there’s magic used for marvels and intimidation.
For power games and actions without consequences. Robin is immediately immersed in terror as he’s drawn into a whirlwind not of his making. While I appreciated their chemistry and banter from the beginning, I enjoyed seeing Robin and Edwin grow as characters in A Marvellous Light. There’s a distinct hum of attraction and romance, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. And that’s what I mean about A Marvellous Light.
Marske is fabulous at switching between the personal stakes, like Robin’s curse, the slightly more pressing issue of the magical artifact mystery, and this larger world threatening level we barely glimpse. While there’s plenty of suspense, fight scenes, and magic, A Marvellous Light is rooted in the characters. In finding someone we can be ourselves with, to admit our vulnerability. This unfurling tension and friendship between them. And this ever present wonder if they can bridge the differences in their worlds.
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Both Robin and Edwin jump off the pages towards you. While it may be easier to relate to Robin – since I too was not aware of the magic of the world – I found myself drawn to Edwin and his quest to stand up for himself. A Marvellous Light, in many ways, is about changing the way we think about the world and ourselves. I cannot wait for the sequel! Find A Marvellous Light on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.