When Violeta Graceling and her younger brother Arien arrive at the haunted Lakesedge estate, they expect to find a monster. Leta knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn… Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
If what you are looking for is a fantasy with romantic and gothic elements, then this is the book for you. It does end on a cliff hanger, and there are descriptions of child abuse and a lot of blood, so keep that in mind. The main characters are Violeta and Rowan, though this book is narrated from Violeta’s point of view. The romance is only part of the conflict driving this book. Violeta is driven to protect her younger brother from his out of control magic, from their adoptive mother who sees that magic as dangerous and evil, and from anything else she sees as wanting to harm him. That motivation is what drives this book for the most part. Rowan is a good example of a tortured hero, who is trying to make up for his past mistakes by trying to save the world.
This novel is set in a world with magic. There is a religion, with a goddess who reigns over nature and life; the characters call her Lady most of the time. And there is the Lord Under, who reigns over death and possibly bargains. There are alchemists, who wield magic by drawing symbols, known as sigils, as well as making various concoctions. We don’t spend a lot of time on alchemists and what they are capable of doing, even though Violeta’s brother–Arien–is an alchemist. Continue reading