Chaotic lesbians? Queer sapphic fantasy? Count me in! I was excited for Beyond the Ruby Veil when it was announced. I knew I had to pre-order and I actually started the book the same week it arrived. What a concept, right? Keep reading this book review to see what I loved about Beyond the Ruby Veil!
Cunning and unapologetic, Emanuela Ragno is a socialite who plays by her own rules. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all.
But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In her city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has obeyed this law for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.
When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Before everyone in Occhia dies of thirst, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the source of the watercrea’s power and save their people—no matter what it takes.
TW: blood, gore, torture
Give me all the ambitious girls please? I need them with a fierce fire in my soul. And Emanuela has to be one of my favorite ones. Her ambition burns with a force that has the power to raze cities to the ground. Forever believing herself to be in the right, she does not dwell on the lives that get lost in the frenzy. The friends she loses and damages on the way. Nothing can get in the way of her pursuit of control and power.
Beginning with an explosive start, Beyond the Ruby Veil takes readers on a journey of bloodshed, Emanuela is steeped in a world of politics, manipulation, and sacrifice. And she is the center of scandal. Willing to be the most cut throat, Emanuela has moments of wavering, especially in a system that is built on exploitation and imprisonment. My feelings towards her oscillated between thinking, “burn the system to the ground” and “um, did she really literally try to burn the system to the ground?”
Because the pursuit of control and power, the ability to decide our own future, is one that consumes many of us. It becomes important to question the system around us, the stories we are told at night before bed, and the ways they shape our dreams, and nightmares. Fitzgerald weaves a plot of tension and suspense as Emanuela delves deeper in her quest for answers and power.
If you have ever gotten fed up with a character who wanted to save every innocent? Of heroes who always look at the greater good, who continuously sacrifice themselves? Then you will fall in love with Emanuela. Because she’s none of those. And it was so bloody refreshing.