Member Reviews

Lakesedge is eerie, foreboding, and gloomy. This novel has it all, from horror to romance. I was captivated to the pages, adoring these people and this universe, and ready to find out what happened next.

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The beginning of this book felt very much like a lot of other YA fantasy, but by halfway through I was on the edge of my seat. Cannot wait to read the sequel!

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Going in I expected kind of soppy, kind of gothic but it was SO MUCH MORE. There’s magic and curses and Faustian bargains (we all know I am trash for a Faustian bargain). So essentially, it’s a tale of family connection once Violeta and her younger brother Arien are taken in by the mysterious Lord of Lakesedge, Rowan. He’s dark and broody and seems to be only after one thing – Arien’s magic to free him from his curse. The rumours say he’s a killer but surely its better than being stuck with their witch of a caretaker. But then it takes a turn and suddenly Leta is centre stage in a dark and broody love triangle as the proverbial hits the fan with Rowan’s curse.

So, here’s where I tell you, this story does not go how I expected, and I am actually super glad it didn’t because holy cliff hanger Batman. The ending had me wanting to throw my Kindle at the wall because it’s the best middle finger to tropes I’ve seen in a while. And yes, despite having a physical copy, I also ended up finishing it once I went to bed while my husband snored in the darkness beside me. It’s that good. The problem here though, I kind of can’t justify why without spoilering the beejeebers out of the whole thing. Which means I’m going back to the beloved list for this one

- The romancey bits aren’t OTT but also its quite obviously a love triangle type situation
- The snarky maid/butleress who runs the whole joint is the perfect balance of snarky cynicism and caring motherly figure
- The Lord of Under is caring but also a big asshole – think fae bargains and their endless loopholes but also, he’s a deity so can take and do whatever he wants.
- Rowan is my favourite type of prickly marshmallow and HOW DARE YOU HURT HIM
- Its essentially a book about Faustian bargains with a twist that leaves everybody devastated and I love wanton emotional devastation
- Arien is just wholesome and all kinds of baby brother goals but also comes through with the goods when he’s needed

- I feel like the magical sidekick (I think she was some sort of fae or elf, but I can’t remember because this review has taken me 2 months to write) was kind of naggy and I didn’t like her attitude towards the unsuspecting baby brother)
- That cliff-hanger was just unnecessary cruelty but mostly because I thought this was a standalone
- Some of the transitions between characters was a little clunky BUT that could also be my lack of available attention as we approach Christmas and I work in retail.

Basically, what I’m saying is its great and you need to read it. Bonus points that Lyndall Clipstone is Australian and out there producing amazing gothic content. Its punchy and emotionally draining but in a good way with a some amazingly snarky characters in there to satisfy even the most discerning reader

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Wow what a cliffhanger. I love gothic novels and this did not disappoint. I loved the setting. The story is quite horrifying and unsettling, yet keeps you turning the pages. I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan Australia for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Lakesedge is a tale of a sister trying to save her brother and ends up finding a whole lot more than. She bargained for.

This was a book I really struggled to read, not because it was long or dense, but because it really lacked substance. This book was originally a short story and I think it would've been best served to stay as a short story.

This was described as a gothic read and I'm not sure if that was a publishers choice or an author's, but this book had zero, zilch gothic vibes - a kindergarten level of gothic. There were none of the oppressive vibes, no creeping unease.

There was an extreme amount of repetition, be it conversations or actions, to the point where it felt like it was padding out a story that should've been 50 pages long.

I want to cut this book some slack because it's a debut, but I struggle to think of anything I even enjoyed about this book.

I wish it had stayed a short story, or maybe a different editor.

I'm giving it two stars for this reason. One star is for the soul trees alone. I will try this author's works in the future because I think there's a lot of room to grow. Just not the sequel of this book.

Thank you so much NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book.

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After reading Lakesedge, then going back and reading it immediately for a second time I'm calling it one of my favourite reads of the year. Not only did the stunning cover make me jump to pre-order a copy for my bookshelf but the story pulled me in and had me on the edge of my seat, nose buried in the pages well past midnight. This is one of those young adult novels that make me fall in love with the YA genre all over again.

This dark fantasy captured me with its wonderfully descriptive and enchanting imagery that paints dark and beautiful pictures, transporting us to a whole other world. And what a world it is! The magic system and world itself are so well thought out and fit perfectly with the characters, nothing felt odd or out of place. It fit, it was believable and not at all complicated as some books can be when magic becomes involved.

The characters were all loveable, even the damn Lord Under himself (who allowed him to be so pretty!?!) was hard to dislike! I loved Violeta and Rowen, loved how their relationship grows through soft touches and looks that speak volumes despite few words being passed between them. The budding romance between them didn't drag and yet it wasn't rushed. Violeta is heroic and fierce and I really enjoyed her character and the little things we find out about her past as we go along. Rowen was my favourite and I desperately wanted to read more of him, though I wouldn't call Rowen a monster, definitely a little cracked around the edges, if not broken, and he's definitely monstrous, maybe monster-y but not an outright monster. I will say that both fall victim to the self-sacrifice ordeal, which sometimes made me want to reach in and shake them but I kind of loved how that worked with the story and their personalities as well as the other characters.

Im not saying too much because I am finding it so hard not to spill spoilers and scream about certain parts that I adored but the cliffhanger has me desperate for Forestfall and it absolutely cannot come quick enough, I mean October 2022 just sounds a feels so far away!! I really loved this book and for anyone who was or still is a fan of YA novels or darker fantasy/romance I would recommend Lakesedge.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan Australia for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lakesedge is the story of Violeta and Arien who were orphaned at a young age and taken in by strangers who turn out to be cruel people. Arien has strange nightmares that turn into shadows and Violeta is the one that try to keep them contained. The Lord of Lakesedge comes to their village to collect the tithe and ends up taking the siblings to his estate to cure the curse that is spreading across the land.

I loved the dark, gothic atmosphere of the novel. I liked the development of the characters and the mysterious Lord Under. I would have liked a bit more explanation of the magic system, which may come with the release of Forestfall in 2022. Twenty pages before the end, I released that Lakesedge was not a standalone. I will definitely be picking up the sequel when it comes out to discover what happens after THAT ending.

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It was a really enjoyable and easy read that was full of cursed families, gothic mansions, romance and magic! If you love ACSDAL by Brigid Kemmerer, I would definitely recommend you check out Lakesedge. It wasn’t predictable but I did find that the romance felt a little rushed but in saying that, I’m a sucker for a slow burn romance but I really enjoyed this! 3.5/5

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Lakesedge ♡ a story about monsters, magic, a cursed lake and how far to go to protect the people you love! I found this book entertaining to read, it started a little slow but the second half of the book I really enjoyed. 3/5 stars.

Thank you to @netgalley and @macmillanaus for the ARC of this book.

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Violeta and her brother, Arien, have eked out a living with an often cruel woman, after losing their parents. Arien has strange dreams, ones that cause shadows to pour from his hands. He’s been able to hide this odd phenomenon from the people in the village, until he catches the eye of a lord, rumoured to have murdered his entire family. When Lord Rowan demands Arien return to Lakesedge manor with him, Violeta is not willing to let him go alone. It’s there they find Rowan might not be the most dangerous thing at Lakesedge. 

This book is full of dark curses with a gothic atmosphere.  The author has managed to write a book where reading it felt like walking through a dream, or, more likely, a desperate nightmare.  Challenging deals with a monster, that ask for payments too steep, magic, new friendships and the pull of bad boys, Lakesedge throws us all that and more. But there were parts I wanted more that didn’t materialize. I felt the ‘magic system’ had very little explanation other than just being ‘there’ and having a ‘light’ and ‘dark’ magic that ‘helped’ each other, but I still really have no idea how it all worked or came to be.  For such a meandering, lyrical story, the omitting of a lot of details gave it a bit of a rushed feeling. 

The cliffhanger ending was super exciting and unexpected though.  It definitely sucked me in to needing the next book!

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ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Emotional abuse, physical abuse, body horror, gore, blood (description of wounds and injuries), discussions of grief and death, descriptions of drowning and deep water, drowning imagery, self harming (for a curse that requires regular physical sacrifices) and suicide ideation

I have been waiting to read Lakesedge for a very long time. Ever since I heard the words: YA gothic romance, Crimson Peak like and main character falls in love with the monster I wanted–no– needed this book in my hands. When I received a review copy I was more than ecstatic especially since it was one of my most anticipated reads of September and of 2021.

And I was so upset when it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

My topsy-turvy relationship with this book started at the beginning with the writing style. I can't quite articulate my reading experience but it looked something like this: low, peak and then low again. For me, it was hard to navigate the world having been thrown into a very intense scene at the very start. Eventually, I did find my feet again and suddenly I was enjoying the book with its lush descriptions, world building and the general ambience that Lyndall has created. I loved reading about the haunting allure of Lakesedge and I wanted nothing more than to uncover the secrets of the corruption and discover the identity of the Lord Under.

But it was as those answers were being answered that my feelings towards this book took a sour turn.

When reading a book, I, and I'm sure a lot of readers would agree with me here, like when a plot progresses and a plot is ultimately resolved. Yes, our plot was resolved however, it seemed to take quite a while to get there. The plot felt very repetitive with many scenes depicting the same tithe giving ritual that Rowan and sometimes Leta and Arien had to endure. I simply wanted the book to progress however, for a majority of the time, it felt like it circled over and over, stalling for the eventual ending. It was when that started occurring that I felt myself slowly and slowly becoming less invested in the novel.

I could have overlooked the circular nature of the plot if I liked the world building and the characters. Yes, the world-building was there and I thought it was the strongest element of the book. In fact, the world building and ambience was done to such a high calibre that I felt as though I was living in the Lakesedge world. The experience of reading this book felt wholly immersive. However, world-building comes second to characters for me.

Characters are the biggest element I focus on as a reader and as a reviewer. It doesn't matter to me if a character is likeable but I must have a feel for them. I need to understand their emotions, I need to understand why they do the things they do, I need to see their character development and how they overcome obstacles to become a better person and to learn from their mistakes. I have read many books that have done this well and many books that have not. What makes great characterisation for me is when we can truly get a sense of who the character is and we can see their flaws, vulnerabilities, their strengths and their weaknesses as well as their personalities and the things they like to do aside from saving the world.

It was because I couldn't see those elements that I started to really dislike Leta's character in Lakesedge. At the start of the novel and towards the middle I didn't mind her, I thought she was protective, stubborn and just trying to do the best she could to provide for herself and for Arien. Towards the end however, and during the time when I started to find events repeating themselves, I found Leta to be questionable in her decision making. She seemed to made careless mistake after careless mistake without ever truly growing from it. I wanted to see her make mistakes, yes, however, I wanted to see her learn from them and she seemingly didn't. I wanted her to question the Lord Under especially after her first dealings with him and how it didn't exactly go to plan. A reasonable solution would have been to question him again and again, making sure no clause was to be left untouched and ensuring that there was nothing in the agreement that could've been twisted to the detriment of the person agreeing to do the deal. Leta made many assumptions. Assumptions however, are not facts. I wanted her to question every single thing she was agreeing to and really think about things before making abrupt and on the spot decisions without considering the consequences of her actions.

I honestly believe if we cut out Leta altogether from Lakesedge, I would have enjoyed the book 100% more. I'm thanking Rowan Sylvanan for that. I like to think of him as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo but with a curse and a mansion. I loved reading about him and his friends, Florence and Clover and how they all interacted with Leta and Arien. The side characters made the book for me and they all had personalities and great characterisation that I enjoyed reading about more than Leta's.

All in all, I didn't mind the book. Maybe it wasn't for me but I did recommend it to some other people who I think would enjoy this book a whole lot more than I did. I definitely think there's room for improvement though and I can't wait to see what would happen in Forestfall


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A deliciously Gothic romance/fantasy novel. It gives off modern Mary Shelley vibes. I liked it, I just didn't love it.

It gets right into the plot (a little too quickly), and the writing immediately pulls you in.. Magic and mystery collide to create an eerie new series. The author has such a way with words.

The characters are intriguing, but I was not drawn to the main character Leta (me personally), there just wasn't a lot of substance to her or any reason. And Rowan seemed bland compared to other 'brooding, morally grey' characters that are already out there, he just didn't stand out in that pack.

There are quite a few emotional and physical content triggers, so be warned.

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i’ll say it upfront: i was a little disappointed by this book. it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either. based on the description, i had high hopes for lakesedge.

my biggest issue is how slow the beginning was. i was so bored, i almost put it down completely. the only reason i didn’t, is because i struggle to dnf a book. in saying that, i’m glad i kept with it, as the ending was really good.

the characters were annoying. leta is your stereotypical ya protagonist, and didn’t bring anything new to the table. she was horribly boring, and grated at my nerves the whole time. rowan, the love interest, was also a typical ya love interest, but he was more interesting than leta. he has his demons, and i was intrigued to find out what they were. leta’s brother was better, and more enjoyable to read about.

so negatives aside, the ending was pretty good. there was good tension in the second half of the book, although it did feel like they were just going from plot point to plot point and not really doing anything else.

i also really enjoyed the dark gothic vibes that this book gave off. i like that we’re in a crumbling mansion. the setting was really well written.

and!! that!! cover!! can we just 😍😍 the designer on this one did a fantastic job.

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A beautiful gothic fantasy.

Oh. My. God. Was this not one of the best things I've read this year.

Violeta Graceling was found in the woods with her baby brother and raised by an evil woman, whom tortured and abused them in hopes to rid poor Arien of his Shadows. As they are in the village for the tithe day. Lord Rowan, who is believed to have drowned his whole family wants to take Arien away estate in Lakesedge. Violeta won't let that happen and in the end she ends up there with the both of them.
As the story progresses you come to find that nothing is as simple as it may seem. The monster may not be the monster you are lead to believe. And there is more going on with Violeta then meets the eye.

It's always fantastic to have a protagonist that is strong headed and won't be pushed around. Just like it's great having a well written believable love story.
And I really loved Rowan and Violeta's relationship.
The magic system in this is also very interesting.

I can't give enough praise for this book. It's one you have to savour. And I'm so glad I did.

Thank you Netgalley for a copy of this for an honest review.

PS Trigger warnings for self harm, death and abuse.

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Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan Australia for granting me access to an e-arc!

This reminded me a lot of A Curse So Dark and Lonely but also the Throne of Glass series, and unfortunately I just did not love it :(

There were definitely some aspects I really liked - the imagery of the Lord Under as something shapeless and not able to be perceived by human eyes (though sadly this didn't last long), the idea of the house having a soul inside it and it slowly waking up over the course of the book, the religious imagery - all stunning. Sadly, though, we didn't sit much with these atmospheric elements and instead more with the romance. Which yes, it is described as a romance, but it is also described as gothic which I don't think comes through as much as I'd hoped.

The main character and the love interest were both fatalistic and stubborn and riddled with guilt, which made the interactions between them feel like they were just saying the same things back and forth to a mirror. I think they were just a bit too similar, and I didn't know much about the love interest apart from that he was sad with a troubled past. I think this also is riding a fine line with the romanticisation of scars from self-harm/abuse especially as it was so entwined with the romance. And the love interest never really felt like a monster to me (it was a lot of the main character just saying she was afraid but of course not showing it at all because she had to look strong) so there wasn't really the enemies-to-lovers vibe I was expecting. I also think a lot of the plot relied on miscommunication/secret-keeping which I am not a fan of.

Overall I had been hoping for something with a bit more atmosphere and eeriness, but I just could not connect with the characters at all and did not understand the romance or the self-sacrificing tendencies of the protagonist. It reminded me a lot of Sarah J Maas so maybe if you were a fan of her and Aelin you would like this more but just not up my alley unfortunately :( Would read from this author in the future though if she does write more spooky stuff!

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I absolutely loved the characters and world. Loved who the characters interact with each other. There was a lot twists in it that I really enjoyed. I have started to like more of a dark story and Lakesedge didn’t disappoint. Will definitely be reading more from Lyndall Clipstone in the future.

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I’ve been so excited to read Lakesedge and was very happy to be given an ARC by Pan MacMillan Australia. And it has definitely lived up to my expectations. Lakesedge is full of brooding imagery and stunning prose that makes you want to keep reading. The characters are believable, with flaws and personality that make them into real people. And the story, while perhaps predictable, brings together familiar ideas but in a completely novel way. I have a book hangover now and cannot wait for the sequel, Forestfall.

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If Crimson Peak had a YA sibling? Lakesedge is that, in every gloriously dark, beautiful way. We are introduced to Leta and her brother Arien, siblings plagued by an abusive adoptive mother and the loss of their biological parents. Yet, an even darker, more ominous threat looms. Arien possesses a seemingly dark magic that threatens to unravel the fraction of peace her and Arien can muster and when his magic captures the attention of a local legend, things only worsen.

What begins as a monster story turns into so much more and I devoured page after page. Lyndall Clipstone writes in a hauntingly addictive manner, delivering aesthetics and depth with ease. All of the characters within Lakesedge are complex, dealing with their own struggles, and it's impossible to not feel for them all. The estate that is the setting for much of the book is mysterious, as is the curse that plagues it. Rowan, a character who we're told to mistrust, is no less intruiging. The romance that forms the heart of this book is beautiful and rivaled only by the friendships and found family that forms.

Hailing from my own home state, I'm overjoyed to have loved this book and cannot wait for the conclusion.

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Thank you to Pan MacMillan Australia and Netgalley for the review copy of Lakesedge.

Orphans Violeta and Arien live in a small cottage with their abusive adoptive mother. Both siblings are frequently punished for the shadow magic which disturbs13 year old Arien's sleep.

Adrien is invited to live at Lakesedge, the estate of Lord Sylvanan, a young man with a bad reputation... murdered his own family kind of bad reputation after Lord Sylvanan discovers Adrien's shadow abilities. Big sister Violeta refuses to let her brother go off with "The Monster" alone and insists on coming to Lakesedge too.

Of course nothing is exactly who or what they seem, not Adrien's magic, not the monsterous Lord of Lakesedge, not the lake and not even Violeta.

If you like crumbling mansions, locked gardens, pretty dresses, found family and gorgeous monsterous boys with hearts of gold (and also a bit of creepy shadow), creepy blight and deals with the devil then you will probably love this book.

Trigger warnings for self harm and child abuse/neglect

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I really enjoyed this dark, gothic fantasy. I don't really read dark fantasy and I loved Lakesedge. I really enjoyed the romance and the magic within the book as well as the incorporation of the death god and his underworld. I will definitely reading this again!

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