2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Book Review: A Restless Truth by Freya Marske

About the Book

Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance!

Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She expected plenty of it when she volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner, in order to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago.

What she didn’t expect was for the old lady in question to turn up dead on the first day of the voyage. Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham, who’s also returning home to England. Violet is everything that Maud has been trained to distrust yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress, and a magnet for scandal.

Surrounded by the open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must first drop the masks that they’ve both learned to wear before they can unmask a murderer and somehow get their hands on a magical object worth killing for—without ending up dead in the water themselves.

My Review

I really loved the first book in this series. A Marvellous Light was fabulous and I loved everything about it, particularly the mystery and the magical world building. It was a five star read for me and I was eagerly awaiting the second in the trilogy.

I was turned down for the ebook but approved for the audiobook. I am relatively new to the world of audiobooks, and generally don’t like complex stories in this format because I like to be able to flip back and forth if I ever feel the need in the course of an involved storyline. I did really like the narrator for this one, which helped immensely. The crisp read really added a depth to the characters that I enjoyed. I had a much easier time picturing things in my head with the British accent working its way through my ears. Still, on the whole, I think there was too much going on for me to really follow it the way I wanted to in an audiobook format as I tend to be much more visual than auditory.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery as it was set out, but I found this one to have a whole lot more romance and sex in it then I recall in the first. That may be a case of memory glossing it over or of it being more difficult to ignore when words are being whispered in your ear, but I found the emphasis in this area to be somewhat distracting from the main storyline rather than additive to it. While I appreciated the way it helped flush out the characters involved, it felt like it was more involved than I wanted it to be, at the expense of the underlying mystery which was carrying over from the first book regarding the Last Contract. And those are the elements of the first book – and of the trilogy as a whole I suspect – that I like the best. I’m not a big fan of romance, and while I understand that it is often a necessary element in plot development and character development, it is not my first choice of genres. And this one felt at times more like a romance novel with a mystery underneath it then a mystery novel with romance underneath it. Fortunately, at just past the halfway point things seemed to settle back into mystery and that really drew me back in the way I hoped it would.

I was a little disappointed it did not have more Edwin and Robin, as I really enjoyed them as characters. I’m definitely looking forward to them being more involved in the third and final installment. I think I may try to read that one again rather than listen – or at least read first and listen after. There was so much going on here that the inability to refer back or reread sections easily was a bit of an issue at times.

On the whole it’s a fantastic series, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything wraps up.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

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