A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske – ARC Review!

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.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Marvellous Light was not at all what I expected, but I think that’s what made me love it so much. Robin Blythe is fairly surprised when his new job is a liaison to the hidden magical society of the UK, something he had no idea existed. Made worse by the fact that his contact, Edwin Courcey seems to have nothing but contempt for him. But there is a reason Robin has been so unceremoniously dumped into this job, his predecessor has disappeared, and after his first day Robin is kidnapped and cursed. He has to find an object that Reggie, his predecessor, left in his office or face the consequences. Edwin Courcey did not expect to be babysitting a magic newbie, but he can’t, in good conscience, leave the poor fellow to die from a magical curse. Their journey to try and remove it leads them to a shocking revelation, one that will effect both the magical and non-magical communities, and Robin & Edwin will have to put their personal differences aside if they are to unravel this mystery & make it out intact.

Told from two POV’s, Robin Blythe and Edwin Courcey. Robin is a newbie to the world of magic and, after being cursed on his first day, can’t say he’s too much of a fan. He’s your stereotypical alpha male, athletic, well built, charming and knows it, but there’s also a shyness to him, a belief that he’s not quite worth any of the trouble Edwin is going too to save this life. Edwin is your typical bookworm, never quite having the full potential for magic the rest of his family do, he has built his strengths in other ways. He’s used to being the but of jokes, but isn’t prepared for the honestly and adulation he receives from Robin, especially when it comes to his magical abilities. They were perfectly balanced as characters, one not really having the upper hand in any way and I LOVED their dynamic. It’s so often in romances that one character will be the ‘alpha’. but with A Marvellous Light, Marske created two characters who perfectly balance each other out, both have their strengths, but both also have their weaknesses, weaknesses that make them wary to trust or believe they were worth any effort at all, and it just made their relationship all the more special to read.

Though only told from the two POV’s, Marske introduces us to a world of well built side characters, some that I LOVED and others that I would have quite liked to have punched. My favourites had to be Maud, Robins sister and Miss Morrisey, his assistant at the office. While this book is centred around two strong male leads, Marske doesn’t shy away from writing in some stand out female characters either, and though they may not play large parts in the story overall, they still pack a punch, and make an impact on us as the reader.

I’ll admit, it took me a little while to get my bearings in this book. Were not so much eased into the story, as thrown in at the deep end and while with other books this might have made me stop reading, with A Marvellous Light it just works. It’s an incredibly fast read, one that I struggled to put down. There were no lulls and, thanks to having one of the POV’s knowing nothing at all about magic, we learn about it in a very natural way throughout the story, avoiding any major info dumps. The magic system itself is incredibly easy to get your head around, and I loved some of the scenes where it was in use, especially one towards the beginning of the book.

Marske’s writing style was just *chefs kiss.* She effortlessly brings the regency era to life, and I just adored travelling around her version of regency England with Robin and Edwin. It’s flowy and lush and really lends itself to both the time period and story, ensuring we as the reader have an immersive reading experience. A Marvellous Light is part mystery, part fantasy but what there is plenty of is smut. I will say I didn’t expect it to be quite as heavy as it was, but I easily found myself invested in Robin and Edwin’s progressing relationship and just LOVED their scenes together. I swooned at certain scenes, and wanted to jump in the book and hit them both over the head at others. Fair warning for those who don’t like heavy romance, it plays a large part in the overall story, but still managed to not detract from the overall plot.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was the perfect combination of everything I love making me laugh, cry, get overly angry and a little steamy at parts. Marske has created a wondrous cast of characters, some I hope have a bigger part to play in later books, and their interactions, the inner family dynamics, the romantic tension as well as just the good old friendly banter are what made me fall in love with this book. While a good portion of the story line gets wrapped up, we’re still left with a big enough cliffhanger to make us reach for the second instalment when it comes out, which can’t come soon enough.

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