Thanks to Bookish First and the publisher, I was able to grab a finished paperback of Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone. I keep saying I’ve broken up with YA, but when a free finished copy of a Gothic sounding fantasy with a pretty cover is offered, it’s hard to say no….
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Lakesedge
- Series: The World at Lakes Edge #1
- Author: Lyndall Clipstone
- Publisher & Release: Square Fish, 08/22 (paperback release with excerpt and bonus content) – original 2021 thru Henry Holt & CO BYR
- Length: 416 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐ for older YA or even new adult aged readers
Here’s the synopsis:
A lush, gothic fantasy from debut author Lyndall Clipstone about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.
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.
First off I will say that my favorite thing about this edition is probably the art – cover, interior, very pretty. There’s also bonus content including an interview and annotated pages in this paperback edition which is always fun.
To generally look at Lakesedge as a Young Adult book: it’s ok, and I think teens will enjoy it more than myself as an adult reader. Shoot me though but I’m sticking to my sexual content objection for the advertised age range. they could have done worse, but I don’t think characters going from first kiss to pooling desire in a matter of seconds is something 14 year olds need to read 🙄 I’m going to keep saying it because I know I have parents and at least one teen who come here for clean YA recommendations, and I value you guys!
Ok, ok, anyway, off my soap box, let’s talk about the book
For my own personal enjoyment as an adult reader, I actually did like the setting and atmosphere. The big house at Lakesedge and the gardens were moody and dark and made for a great spooky season read. The scary parts weren’t too scary and all together the monsters, shadows, corruption, and darkness in all it’s forms contrasted nicely with the cottagecore personalities of some of the characters.
I liked Clover and Florence, Arien too, the side characters were great.
While there is a lot to like in the book, the two main characters both drove me nuts. They had huge saviour complexes and Violeta and Rowan both ended up annoying me almost immediately. Yes yes everyone is very brave and utterly ridiculous and no one else can save the day because, saviour complex! Part of me does get it and I think that teen readers will have a better time with the storyline. Their annoyance and relationship gave me major Sorcery of Thorns deja vu too. I’m not shipping it at all, my mind went straight to the Hades and Persephone theme.
Favorite character? Hands down the Lord Under and I wanted more from him and more about him.
Another fault of many YA books, this one included, is that there’s a ton of very repetitive inner monologue and I just get so bored reading it. Violeta spends sooo much time thinking the same things over and over. Is he a boy or a swamp monster? No one else can protect these people! Gosh! It was also hard to read about her memories surfacing because honestly, it’s first person point of view, she wouldn’t just randomly remember the biggest events of her life. It’s more like she would have chosen to talk about them when she did, but presenting it as random flashback memories was an odd choice.
To end on a good note: the magic is kind of cool, there’s a light and a dark and it certainly takes its toll on the user. I think it needed a little more background as far as how the magic came to be and maybe an appearance from The Lady, but, I didn’t hate it. Speaking of Hades and Persephone, I hope the entire second book focuses on the world under because that is a potentially cool storyline taking place in an oddly comforting setting of moths and soul trees.
Overall I think this one has an audience in new adult fantasy romance fans. It’s moody and a bit Gothic and I wanted more in some parts and less in others. The setting and atmosphere were the high points for sure. As a YA book I give it three stars, and as an adult reader I’m kind of in that zone too but am a much bigger fan of Novik’s fairy tale-ish monsters
Thanks for checking out my book review of Lakesedge – I claimed a free copy using my accumulated points and am leaving a review voluntarily, all opinions are my own