Cover Image: A Restless Truth

A Restless Truth

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Member Reviews

A Restless Truth continues from where A Marvellous Light stopped, and I will advise anyone to read that first before starting this. 

I adored Maud as a character. I loved her bravery in so many ways, the way she grew over 6 days was actually done quite masterfully and I do not mean just her sexual experience 😊. I liked the way she took on challenges and didn’t let setbacks get her down. I was firmly in her corner by the end of the book.

Violet took a bit to grow on me. I am quite weary of the “glittery hard character” and this was her to a T. By the middle of the book she started softening and showing layers and I appreciated getting to know the real her. Ultimately, I liked her, but I think I struggled with her a lot initially and that fully never went away.

The book truly shines in the mystery! It sort of had 2 climaxes, an obvious one and a not-too obvious one; and both were enjoyable. I also had a lot of fun seeing Lord Hawthorne (and actually liking him, LOL) and meeting Rossi. The book had a lot of fun characters and despite their number, Freya Marske did a good job of differentiating everyone. The magic also continues to be an utter delight.

The romance was good BUT what I really loved was the resolution. It truly felt real to the book especially since this all took place in 6 days!!! I also loooved the Edwin x Robin scenes and I am so looking forward to the concluding book.

A huge Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the ARC.
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I really loved A Marvellous Light so I was excited to read this book, but I found it to be a bit of a let down. Even though it follows different characters, it seems to fall into second book syndrome. I liked Maud, but she felt a bit one-note throughout. The only change that she makes (and granted, it is a big change) is a sexual awakening. And I didn't really like Violet. I didn't dislike her either, but I just didn't connect with her at all. So the emotional part of the story (which I recognize could work really well for readers who do connect with these characters) didn't really hit for me.
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OK this was even better than the first book, which I loved. The magic in these books is so cool, and clearly has a ton of thought put into it, which I appreciate, even if I get a little lost sometimes. But the characters are what really shine. Violet is fun as the smooth-talking, sexy devil-may-care type who actually does care very much deep down and Maud’s portrayal loins of blew me away? She has this drive and Marske perfectly balances her uncertainty with her determination, and the way she wears her heart on her sleeve absolutely won me over. I can see why Violet falls for her. And wow no one writes sexy scenes like Marske — in the words of Olivia Cooke: “ah, stunnin.”
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Sapphic romance, magic, and shipboard murder!

A Restless Truth has it all. In this followup to A Marvellous Light, we follow the sister of one of the main characters on board a ship. But shortly into the voyage, the old woman Maude was accompanying dies under mysterious circumstances. Enter Violet- the notorious heiress who ruined herself on the American stage. Sparks will fly and danger abounds as they try to track down the killer and a magical artifact.

This was fun, and definitely steamy at times (much like book 1). Violet and Maude have a fun dynamic- Maude is inexperienced but doesn't lack a backbone. Violet has been hurt and has walls a mile high. And there is lots of magical danger! I didn't love this quite as much as book 1. I felt it dragged on a bit too long for the amount of plot, but also shipboard stories aren't my go to. If you enjoyed A Marvelous Light this is definitely worth the read and if we get more in the series I will certainly read those as well. They are a good time! The audio narrator is good, but I would have liked clearer distinction in voices between Maude and Violet's perspectives. I received an audio review copy via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.
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This is a sequel/companion novel in the Last Binding series, which is a queer historical fantasy that began with A Marvelous Light. I saw another review describe this as a lesbian knives out and wow, that’s one heck of a seller and I can actually agree with that though the cover doesn't reflect. So here we follow Maud Blyth who has always longed for adventure which is why she volunteered to serve as an old lady's companion on an ocean liner because she thought it could help weasel her way into being able to help her older brother to unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago. This was as cozy as it gets. If you enjoyed book 1 then you are gong to enjoy this one just as much. It really surprised me.
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Thank you to Tordotcom and Macmillan Audio for providing me with an ARC.

Sapphic murder mystery on a boat with magic what more can I say. This book was great, if you liked the first you’ll love the second. Maud and Violet are my favorites every. I really hope the third book has them back with Robin and Edwin to solve the next piece of the puzzle.
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Maud Blyth is used to most of the interesting things happening to her brother, Robin. So, when she gets a chance to travel to New York for her own adventure, she jumps on the chance. Especially since it means covering up secrets that threaten all of the British Isles.

Instead of an adventure, what she happens upon is a dead body. And a mysterious woman named Violet Debenham, who is a magician and an actress. Thrown together by a murder on the ship, the two must work together in order to solve the mystery. When sparks start to fly between the two of them, it's the last thing Maud ever expected.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tordotcom for an advanced copy of A Restless Truth to review! I I loved A Marvellous Light last year when I read it, so I was excited to jump into this sequel. I am happy to say that I wasn't disappointed! And the cover is just as gorgeous as the first book.

This is being pitched as Knives Out meets The Binding, and I'd definitely agree about the Knives Out aspect. The murder mystery is definitely the driving force behind this plot, with a little magic and romance mixed in. It's a great sort of genre blender, so I think there are a lot of readers who will really enjoy this! I will say, you don't have to read the first book to get what's going on in this one; it just gives you some background knowledge on the world building.

The chemisty between Violet and Maud was absolutely my favorite thing about this book. Their chemistry is great from the get-go. And it continues to build throughout the book. Honestly, I would read a whole entire book about them. Or maybe they go on an adventure with Robin and Edwin! Yeah, let's make that the next book.

In addition to Violet and Maud, there's a cast of quirky side characters you'll fall in love with as well. The group on the ship are fun to read about, making this a magical mystery adventure romance you won't want to miss.

All in all, if you love a great genre blender, especially one with a little magic, you'll definitely enjoy this book!
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Loved it.

Maud Blyth is headed back to England after convincing her brother Robin to let her in on the plan to stop the big bads—whoever they are—from stealing the magic from Great Britain’s magical families. She’s at her moment of triumph—until her traveling companion is murdered, the mysterious pieces of the Contract stolen, and Maud left with few leads and much frustration. Forcibly enlisting the assistance of three fellow passengers, she sets off to uncover the mystery once and for all…

This was so much better than the first book, and I seriously believe it's because of both the humor and the leads. Violet and Maud were much more fully fleshed out and vibrant, and the humor just danced across the page, particularly with Hawthorn as the straight man (heh). Although I do agree with other reviewers that the sapphic romance aspect of the plot is far more intriguing than the Last Contract bit.

There were so many shipboard shenanigans, some of which include: a cranky potty-mouthed parrot, a titillating dinner party, a sea-sick porcupine, a scandalous coitus interruptus, an impromptu pornography play, curses both magical and benign, and hair-scapades. Not to mention some minor jewel theft, light bribery, and heavy commentary on the social-capitalist hierarchy of cruises.

But Maud is a delight. Violet is scandalously hilarious. Lord Hawthorn’s put-upon nature a hoot, and Cesare Ross a pure rapscallion.

I received this ARC from NetGalley
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3.5 stars. I liked this book more than the first one and found it much easier to read. It has a sapphic romance, a murder mystery, a cruise ship setting, a search for a magical object, and an unusual group of allies. I liked the dual POV between Maud and Violet - they’re both complex characters with a lot of past trauma which they deal with in very different ways, but they compliment each other really well. I liked Hawthorne and Alan as well, but aside from that I couldn’t really differentiate between the rest of the characters. I wouldn’t say the mystery aspect was very surprising but I more so enjoyed seeing them come up with different schemes along the way. Overall I’m not really sure this series is for me, but I kind of feel like it would be a shame not to read the last book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Incredible! A fantastic locked room mystery (it takes place on a ship, so the killer is among us!) featuring magic and romance and hot mess characters that I just absolutely adore. I loved it!
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The deal: This is the sequel to A Marvellous Light. This time, we’ve got Robin’s sister, Maud, embarking on a magical whodunnit while aboard a ship from the U.S. to England. It’s historical fantasy / queer romance.

Is it worth it?: This has been informally pitched as “WLW Knives Out on a boat,” and it absolutely delivers. Reading book #1 in the series first is a must here, but if you enjoyed that, you’ll likely enjoy this too.

Pairs well with: the album “liminal spaces” by zzzahara 

B
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Maud, younger sister to Robin, our main character from the last book, is on a voyage to bring an elderly lady who knows about the mystical objects that everyone is after back to England. During the cruise, the old lady is murdered. Maud ends up getting help from Lord Hawthorn (from the previous book), Violet (love interest), and Ross (thief and possible love interest for Lord Hawthorn in next book). While they investigate, Maud finds herself drawn to Violet and begins to discover herself. 

The romance between Maud and Violet was sweet and steamy. Maud is attracted to a woman for the first time that she’s aware of and Violet teaches her that such things are possibilities. Yet Violet is hesitant because she doesn’t want to be a phase and Violet is very good at hiding her feelings under a carefree facade.

My biggest problem is Lord Hawthorn. I loved him too much. There is something nefarious going on with his family, and I’m dying to know what. You wouldn’t think that would be a problem but there were times when I was too intrigued by him and impatient to read his book to be swept away with this one. It felt like I was cheating on this book.

The mystery wasn’t that captivating and there felt like a lot of fluff happening.

This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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Full of mystery, adventure and romance, A Restless Truth is an extremely fun ride and a great follow up to A Marvellous Light. Coming off how much I loved the previous book, it took me a bit of time to adjust to the new dynamics that A Restless Truth brought, but by the end I absolutely adored this cast of characters. Maud and Violet are a fantastic pair and I loved their chemistry (as a fan of more of a slowburn kind of romance, it took me a bit to come around to their very fast relationship, but I appreciated the evolution of their connection and the ways they grew as characters within it). The confined setting of a ship also made for a very fun spatially-limited whodunnit amidst the high stakes of the broader narrative. Now I just can't wait for book 3 for all of these characters to be reunited and for this story to reach its thrilling conclusion.

*Many thanks to the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.

After enjoying Freya Marske’s debut, I was excited to continue the series with A Restless Truth, especially as this was a sapphic book. I enjoyed this overall, even if it didn’t quite measure up to the first book. 

The characters are fun and unique, and the best part of the book. Violet in particular steals the show…I love a scandalous lady who puts up walls to hide her true vulnerability, and she met my expectations exactly. Maud is Robin’s sister, having been introduced in book one, and I like how she’s more innocent and spunky, yet she can more than keep up with the more worldly Violet. They play off each other very well, and while I sometimes feel their romance took a backseat to the fantasy/mystery elements (whereas the first book was more explicitly a fantasy ROMANCE), I enjoyed their dynamic overall. 

While I still consider the mystery less engaging than the other elements, the overlap with the fantastical made it more interesting this time around. Maud having medium abilities to commune with the ghost of the recently deceased Mrs. Navenby provided a lot of fun, as well as propelling the story forward. 

This felt like a slow-burner, taking its time to pick up in the beginning especially. However, the scene is set impeccably, establishing the characters on the cruise ship. I also enjoyed getting a bit more insight into the world building, particularly in terms of the “cultures” of magicians from different countries. 

I really enjoyed this second book, and am excited for the third book to come, especially given what is being teased. If you enjoyed the first book, and/or you enjoy books that blend fantasy, queer romance and mystery, I recommend picking this one up!
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All your favorite genre into one and I have not read a fantasy filled with almost all genres in such a long time and I loved how the author really tied in all the genres well and wow read it now yall
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A sparkling, lush, and absolutely marvelous follow-up to one of my favorite books of last year! A Restless Truth effortlessly blends romance, fantasy, mystery, and the historical setting to create something truly magical. Every word is a breathtaking delight, the plot is deeply compelling, and the characters are complex and charming, all of it making for a fantastic middle book in this witty, gorgeous jewel of a trilogy. 

Thank you Tordotcom for the advance review copy!
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Freya Marske tenía por delante un reto con A Restless Truth, la segunda parte de A Marvellous Ligth, una de mis novelas favoritas del año pasado. Y he de decir que lo ha superado con creces, haciendo desaparecer el síndrome de la segunda novela con varias herramientas que usa de forma maestra. Cambia los protagonistas pero mantiene algunos personajes secundarios para que no sea todo extraño. Cambia el escenario, pero mantiene ese aire aristocrático de la sociedad que conforma este universo. Cambia el tipo de misterio, para ofrecernos una asesinato en habitación cerrada. Cambia para que todo permanezca reconocible. Es un gran acierto.


La protagonista de la historia es Maud, hermana de Robyn a quien ya conocimos en la primera entrega, que a petición suya se ha desplazado a los Estados Unidos para asegurar una de las piezas del gran contrato sobre el que gira la serie, del que no voy a decir nada más para no caer en el terreno del destripe. Maud tiene una relación estupenda con su hermano, pero no es feliz en su vida porque ha de luchar contra la sociedad para conseguir lo que quiere en su vida. Todo esto saltará por los aires cuando la señora a la que acompañaba en un viaje trasatlántico aparece muerta aparentemente por causas mágicas y debe iniciar una investigación al respecto.

Marske juega mucho con los equilibrios de poder en el desarrollo de la novela, más que con el secreto de quiénes son los enemigos, algo que se desvela relativamente pronto en la trama. Es esta especie de juego caballeresco, en el que se han de mantener las formas ante todo, esta pantomima de la alta sociedad, lo que llena de divertimento la novela. Se busca el escándalo en ocasiones para ocultar otras intenciones, se chismorrea, se habla veladamente de las necesidades económicas de familias venidas a menos… Es un delicioso ejemplo de lo que la fantasy of manners puede llegar a ofrecer.

Las novedades y explicaciones que ofrece la autora en esta ocasión relacionadas con el mundo mágico resultan también muy adecuadas, porque la utilización de anillos para fijar los conjuros que se hace en Estados Unidos pero no en Inglaterra nos hace pensar en la innovación de la que hacen gala las antiguas colonias frente al inmovilismo de las pesadas tradiciones la pérfida Albión.

No puedo dejar de recomendar una novela brillante y ligera, entretenidísima para disfrutar de una fantasía bien hecha.
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A wonderful companion/sequel, A RESTLESS TRUTH is sapphic forced proximity on a ship... what more is there to love? AND ITS REGENCY!
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A Restless Truth was a fun, delightful masterpiece! 

I loved everything about this book, the world-building was captivating, the characters were appealing and strong, the mystery and romance had me swiping my Kindle page's way too quickly. Everything worked so well and kept me engaged throughout. An excellent story, and very well told. 
Marske, literally has everything rolled into one. And the way she does it is freaking remarkable.
Would recommend to anyone

Tordotcom,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!
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Ugh ugh ugh I didn’t expect to love this one as much as the first, I always have an issue with character switches like this but I was absolutely obsessed the whole time.
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