Hello! Welcome to my stop for Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone book tour! A huge thanks to Tbr and beyond tours for this chance and to Netgalley, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and to Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) for the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review!
Content Warnings: Emotional and physical abuse by a parent, Body horror, Gore and blood (including description of wounds), Emesis, Discussions of death and grief (no on-page deaths), Descriptions of drowning and deep water, Drowning-related imagery Self-injury (in the context of a curse that requires regular physical sacrifices), suicidal ideation (from Tbr and beyond tours site)
“The shadows are only dreams”.
So Violeta keeps saying to her brother Arien, trying to protect him from his nightmares, from the darkness that spills from his body, from his black eyes. From their mother, convinced she can burn Arien’s darkness away. When the monster of Lakesedge discovers everything and offers Arien the chance to help him with these powers, Violeta won’t let them go away, not without her. Not after the rumors surrounding Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. In the creepy and mysterious manor at Lakesedge, Violeta discovers another world, made of magic and alchemy, made of monsters and gods and full of secrets and pain. Neither the monster nor the estate are what she thought they were. As she starts to fall for Rowan, trying to protect Arien, Violeta discovers a connection between Rowan and the lord of death, the Lord Under…and, also, a connection that bound her to the latter.
Told in first person by the main character, Lakesedge is intruing and Violeta is a stubborn and brilliant main character. She’s weighed down by losses, past and current traumas and she’s been through a lot, but she’s willing to do anything to protect her younger brother Arien, even from the truth. Taken away from abuse and bigotry, Violeta struggles to understand her new world, worried about what her brother could risk and lose, worried, slowly, about the other estate’s inhabitants. I loved how Violeta starts to free herself from others’s stories and rumors and makes up her own thoughts and ideas. In a world full of magic and where gods can answer your pleas of help, Violeta falls for , feels a connection to a monster…or more than one, maybe.
The setting is eerie and intruiguing, a crumbling manor, a battle against darkness and light, in a very real sense and this battle, Arien’s lessons to understand his magic, Rowan’s secrets and past traumas are interwoven in Violeta’s journey to protect the people she loves and herself. It was interesting realizing who and what is the real monster, Violeta’s willingness to do anything to save her loved ones, her connection with Rowan, first a complicated, then a loving one.
I loved the bond between Violeta and Arien, how they are strongly connected, struggling to do the right thing and save everyone and everything. Their journeys and growths are really moving to read. If the main character is really well developed, so Arien, Rowan, Clover and Florence, the other two estate’s inhabitants and I liked the way they slowly start to build a relationship and a family, how finally Violeta starts to see Lakesedge as a home.
I liked reading Lakesedge, even though I wish the author would have explained and developed better the magic system and the romance. The pacing is sometimes slow, others rushed, but, overall, the story is good and, after the ending, I can’t wait to read the next book.
“There are monsters in the woods, in the world. There’s a monster in the shadows and now it knows my name.”
“I’ll not cower here, small and afraid. I am light and heat and fire.”
“I thought I could burn myself down to save the world. But I never thought of what to do if the world burned itself around me instead.”
“I have been in those same shadows. I have faced the same darkness. And I would go there again if it meant everyone I care about would be safe.”
“I have touched shadows and darkness before. I’m not afraid.”