Member Reviews

I absolutely adored this book. I devoured every page of it, right from the off, and when other things kept me from reading it, I found myself looking forward to getting back into it.
The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal had one of the strongest opening chapters I've ever read in a book, and kept up a similar momentum from there. I was immediately attached both to Imogen and to Maeve, and really loved watching their relationship grow from strangers to lovers. I can see why some people might say that it lacked a bit of development, but for me personally it felt very authentically like someone who's just discovering their own capacity for attraction encountering it for the first time. There were times I was even jealous of Maeve, who came to accept her feelings toward Imgoen with much more grace than I did the first time I developed feelings for someone.
Since we're talking about the characters, I absolutely have to give a shoutout to my boy Orion Cantor, the single Most Character to ever exist. Utterly flawless, I have no notes for him. I'd read another six books of Orion just bopping round the courts being a self-described slutty 30 year old. The investigation part of the book actually had me spending a good part of my reading time worried that he would turn out to be the murderer, and then I'd have had to feel bad for falling for his charms. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and I was free to love him, and worry about him where appropriate.
The mystery itself was solid, and (unusually for a book not focused on the subject) I didn't manage to work out exactly what was going on until it was all explained in the text. Several clues were witheld from readers that probably would have helped people put that together earlier, but I really think that the mystery was only a secondary part of this story, and it served its purpose admirably.
A great book, all round, and one I'd gladly read again.

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This was a gothic tale unlike anything I’ve read before. The story was unique and I found myself along for a ride and not at all caring where it took me.

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I had really high expectations of this book and I was not disappointed.
There are so many of my favorite Genres and vibes in this book that I don't know where to start.
The characters were very relatable in certain aspects.
Imogen, with her poetry, and Maeve, a nun trying to be a "good" one.
I fell in love quickly with them and I am going to miss them.
This was a cozy and pleasant reading that made me actually forget that I was reading.
I highly recommend this book if you like fantasy with dark academia vibes, mystery, and queerness.

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This book answers the question “what if the Ghostbusters were nuns”. The setting was interesting in that it represented what appeared to be the High Fantasy style of an entirely separate world, not accessible from ours; the language used by the characters (and some of the science) reflected modernity, whilst the actions of the characters and their development felt like it was trying to replicate the feel of a period drama - ultimately, I was left wondering why this choice had been made, rather than simply picking one angle and sticking to it. Loved the queer representation throughout, which was refreshing in its simplicity - it wasn’t highlighted or questioned in any way; queer characters were simply abundant and integral to the society in which the narrative is set. The mystery itself was, ultimately, shallow - I felt, reading the blurb, like that should have been front and centre, with the romantic elements of the story a subplot; instead, the reverse of this muddied the purpose of the narrative and left me feeling like I didn’t really care how Imogen Madrigal’s ‘undeath’ had happened, by the time we found out all about it. Thus, this is not a story with a great deal of narrative depth; because more time was spent on detailing the emerging romantic relationship than providing greater reason for the reader to care about that, or even to navigate the mystery in a way which felt more engaging, I eventually found myself wondering when it was going to end. I probably won’t read it again.

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I loved this book. I wish I had gotten to read it at a better time. I've been reading this book through my finals, which made the experience a bit tedious.

Anyway! I thought the characters were well thought out; each one had their own problems, and this book didn’t make the main character seem like a saint or anything, or someone who was impervious to trauma and the real world. The author also didn’t make the character afraid of the world, considering their background, in an annoying way. She had fears; she voiced them, but she went through it afraid, was on her toes, and handled each situation. I thought the middle ground between being stupidly brave and fearful was well written, and Maeve wasn't too much of either. Each character had an interesting backstory that gave them amazing depth, and no one was two-dimensional.

Maeve and Imogene’s relationship wasn’t toxic! They helped each other without being codependent; they learned from each other; they had their problems, but they talked them through. I do wish we got to see how Maeve navigated her relationship with certain characters (you know who I’m talking about), and seeing more of Maeve’s sisters and their interactions would be nice. I also really wanted to know more about Imogen and the other sisters backstories and experiences, as well as that one character I mentioned above (I hope you know who I’m talking about). I want to know more about what happened to them in general, considering their conflict and how they got to be okay with everything. But other than that, I give it 4.5 stars, and I will be buying the hardcover copy of the book.

The world described was amazing, the author it is very clear that the author put a lot of thought into how it should work. The explanations weren't annoying either. To me, the book never dragged on and on, which is very much appreciated as someone who doesn't have a great attention span. I loved the lessons that the book discussed, like how it's okay to go for what you want and to cherish what you've got; how change is a part of life and it must be embraced; how judging people isn't okay even if the person in front of you is your worst enemy; and never be afraid

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Thank you to Grayson Daly and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"The Untimely Death of Imogen Madrigal" by Grayson Daly takes readers on a mesmerizing journey into a richly imagined world of metaphysics, mystery, and romance. Set in the gothic island city of Lenorum, we follow the protagonist, Sister Maeve, a member of the Sisterhood of Good Death, as she encounters the enigmatic poet Imogen Madrigal. Imogen has returned from the beyond, seeking justice for her murder, and Maeve reluctantly agrees to help her solve the mystery. The book skillfully blends elements of fantasy, steampunk, and gothic fiction, creating a captivating atmosphere that immerses readers in its Victorian-inspired setting.

The strength of this novel lies in its character development, particularly with Maeve, whose personal journey forms the emotional heart of the story. As she delves deeper into the world of poets and unravels the secrets of Lenorum, she undergoes a transformative and introspective exploration of her desires and beliefs. The supporting characters are equally well-rounded, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

Daly's world-building is exceptional, vividly bringing Lenorum to life with its eerie landscapes, supernatural beings, and intricate societal structures. The descriptive prose paints a vivid picture, captivating readers and immersing them in the world's rich tapestry.

Romance is also a central theme, as Maeve's feelings for Imogen evolve throughout the story. The budding relationship between the two is both compelling and delightful, adding an extra layer of intrigue and emotion to the plot.

Overall, "The Untimely Death of Imogen Madrigal" is a captivating blend of metaphysical mystery, gothic romance, and fantastical world-building. Daly's storytelling prowess shines through, crafting a unique and immersive reading experience. For those who enjoy atmospheric and thought-provoking fiction, this book is a must-read. Prepare to be enchanted by the intricate web of secrets, the richly imagined world, and the compelling characters that will linger in your mind long after you turn the final page.

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2,75 ⭐️

I'm a big opponent of rating debut novels low, mainly because I see them as a road for author to find their writings. But sometimes that journey is rowdy and takes time.
I loved premise of "The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal", because hey, if you serve me nuns, murder mysteries and lesbians how can you expect me to not eat this shit up? And Grayson Daly serves a good meal in this field. Imogen and Maeve's story is interesting, funny and pleasant. Their adventures are full of great ideas for world-building.

But in the end this is what I lacked. World. Something more than characters, which isn't a disadvantage, as books driven by characters are great, too. But this one fel more like a TV series synopsis, there's little description and many dialogs, which didn't manage to make its story feel full.

I'm sure a lot of people will fall in love with this silly story of a (un)dead poet and very much alive nun, but sadly, it wasn't for me.

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This was a fun and interesting fantasy book. The ambience was perfect, the slight steampunk touch, we feel that we could live in that world, or at least enjoy visiting it.

The characters were also good and well written, especially Imogen and Maeve, but also many of the supporting characters.

It was a pleasure to read, and I recommend it to all that enjoy cozy fantasy books.


Made a quick break with some chick lit, and then returned to a Netgalley novel. This was completely different than the previous one, it was a cosy fantasy. I really like these type of fantasy books, which warm our hearts and are standalone and not the start on an infinite series.

In this one we have Maeve, from the Sisterhood of Good Death, who dedicates her life to help lost souls cross to the other side. Their moto is “live a good life, so you can have a good death”, and Maeve’s life is quiet and predictable. Imogen Madrigal was a poet and was killed a year before. She has now been brought back to something resembling life and is determined to find out who killed her. We have a great atmosphere, a mystery to solve, some light magic, all set with a Victorian background. A steampunk vibe.

This was a debut novel for this author, and I enjoyed it very much. It had some things that could be improved, especially the pacing at some points, but the characters were very likeable, and we want to know how the story progresses and what will be their fate. If you like a cosy mystery fantasy, with some steampunk vibes, you cannot go wrong with this book.

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The Untimely Undeath of
Imogen Madrigal - Grayson Daly
I had no idea what to expect from this book when I requested it on netgalley. I just thought the title was cool and liked the cover but let me tell you, it's such a good book. It took me a little time to get into at first, mainly because I was trying to get my head around the world building, but once the plot kicked in I really couldn't put this down. The characters are so varied and interesting, and all written so wonderfully and believably. There's forbidden romance, supernatural themes, masked balls, sapphic rep, and so much more! The plot was very strong too, though at some points I found the pacing a little slower, but never did I lose my engagement fully.
Perfect for pride month, if you like books with ghosts and gays, you should definitely go ahead and pick this up!

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Maeve is a Sister of Good Death, a nun who ensures that everyone experiences the death they deserve, presiding over last moments, funeral rites and the odd exorcism. So when she bumps into Imogen Madrigal, a restless spirit who insists Madve help her figure out what happened to her and why she is ‘undead’, she embarks on an adventure that uncovers secrets, not just about Imogen but also about herself.

The pacing of this book took me a while to get into but I am glad I stuck with it. It’s a while before any real action happens but when it does all the threads tie together so well that I was actually glad the book was pieced together the way it was. Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed about this book was how female heavy the book is and how this brought new nuances to the plot. In particular the themes of sisterhood and patriarchy. This book is brilliant for those who want a more modern feel to their historic gothic fiction.

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I absolutely loved this book! I am a sucker for most things that feature women falling in love with each other, but this novel truly exceeded my expectations. From the characters to the plot to the setting, I was hooked from the first scene all the way to the end.

The novel is set in a small island town that’s a bit spooky but also incredibly cozy - exorcisms and seances abound, but there are also copious amounts of tea drinking and poetry. The setting is kind of like an alternate universe pre-telephone era, jam-packed with supernatural and sci-fi elements to keep it interesting. Lush prose maintains the gorgeous atmosphere throughout, and I would happily read ten more books set in this same universe.

Most importantly, the romance absolutely won my heart. The relationship was well developed, easy to root for, and they communicate! The side characters were amazing as well; they helped create what is all and all a very enjoyable, very queer read.

Thank you to Netgalley and BooksGoSocial for my copy.

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Maeve works with the Sisterhood of Good Death and likes that she can help spirits cross-over to the other side. That is, she liked it until she meets a woman who turns out to be a wraith, Madrigal, who has returned to obtain justice for her murder.

Madrigal blackmails Maeve into helping her solve her murder. The sisters of the Sisterhood of Good Death do not like poets and Maeve was one.

I couldn't relate to the adventures the ladies went on and didn't find their search credible. I don't care who a person's love interest is, but I don't want to read about a love triangle and jealousy of the characters, unless it directly relates to the adventure, which it didn't seem to.

I did like the writing, but couldn't get into the narrative, I will try again later.

I was given the opportunity to read this title from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Maeve is a nun and a member of the sisterhood of the good death. She helps people get rid of ghosts or spirits with her sisters. Unlike other nuns, her sisterhood allows some frivolity.
The book is set somewhere in the UK, Im guessing about 100 years ago.
She meets Imogen while sweeping her grave and they try to find her killer.
Most of the things in the book are old timey (motorcar, old kind of camera) but then Maeve says “fuck”, which I’m pretty sure was not used at that time. Seems to be trying to be a mix of historical fiction and fantasy but missing the mark on both.
Imogen is unable to speak and seems to be in between living and death, so she communicates first with pencil and paper and later through a pocket telegraph which works like texting on a nokia 3310.
The book has so much inner monologue and details which makes the pace of the book glacial at times. Nothing was really new or interesting to me, so i dnfed a third in.

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I LOVED this book! I was hooked from the very first paragraph which set the reader up for the tone of the world while simultaneously provoking the audience to ask the exact same questions the characters would ask for the rest of the book.

Lenorum had some fantastic world building, it was cool to see how different segments of society had such different reactions to the question "if ghosts were real how would their presence be acknowledged?" I also greatly appreciated the significant amount of tea-talk in the book, especially as a recurring plot device.

As someone who has studied surrealism, I loved the inclusion of automatism into the plot. I liked the subtle change from tapping into one's unconscious mind to produce automatic texts to opening your consciousness to allow for others to take over the writing, it felt like it really fit into the internal logic of the world. I wish there had been some discussion of automatism's connection to the surrealist movement, as I found it interesting that the Sisters of Good Death would openly embrace a strategy that in our world is so strongly founded in the pursuit of arts.

Would read again!

Thank you to Grayson Daly and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my thoughts!

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The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal has an extremely fascinating concept of metaphysical mystery of courts, sisters of a convent, and ghosts. Maeve is a sister from a convent who helps souls transition to the afterlife. She encounters Imogen, who is dead or undead. Who is she? There starts our mystery.

I really was excited to read this book. But unfortunately, this book didn't land with me. It's extremely prose heavy and just seems extremely dragged. I really liked all the diverse characters, but they lacked depth. There's a lot of world building, which is nice, but at the same time, it feels way too stretched. Maybe since I read it while I was sick, I didn't have patience to finish the novel, I am not sure. This is an extremely slow paced novel, which unfortunately didn't work for me.

Thank you, BooksgoSocial and Netgalley, for the book.

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4.5 stars - A novel that takes its readers on a captivating journey into a realm where metaphysics, mystery, and gothic romance intertwine to create an introspective and enchanting narrative.

“The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal” is a story set in a gothic, fictional island city called Lenorum, introducing me to a diverse cast of characters: from nuns to poets and eventually to scientists. At the heart of the story is the protagonist, Sister Maeve, a member of the Sisterhood of Good Death, who basically helps ghosts to cross over the veil. Maeve encounters Imogen, a murdered poet who exists in a peculiar state between life and death, and they strike a bargain to address the waning influence of Maeve's convent in guiding lost souls to the afterlife. In return, Maeve agrees to assist Imogen in unraveling the mystery surrounding the latter’s murder.

I think one of this book’s greatest strengths lies in Daly's skillful portrayal of character growth and development. The protagonist, Maeve, is a relatable and compelling character whose personal journey serves as the emotional core of the story for me. Her growth and transformation, as she ventures deeper into the world of poets, are beautifully portrayed—and eventually, I find myself emotionally invested in her gradual discovery of her own desires. The supporting characters, such as Orion and Shavani, are equally well-rounded—each with their own conflicts and theatrics, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

Another highlight of this book for me is the world-building; it is nothing short of breathtaking. Lenorum is vividly brought to life, with its gothic landscapes, energy, and beings that defy conventional understanding. The author's descriptive prose paints a vivid picture, immersing me in an utterly fascinating realm.

And while this book is a metaphysical exploration laced with mystery and suspense, the author also weaves an enthralling tale of romance. I find the way Maeve's feelings evolve for Imogen to be particularly compelling and fun.

In conclusion, "The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal" is a mesmerizing metaphysical romance that combines imaginative world-building, thought-provoking metaphysical concepts, and captivating storytelling. I thought it is a book that could challenge readers to expand their perception of reality while offering an enthralling romantic adventure filled with self-discovery. For fans of metaphysical fiction and gothic romance alike, this book is a must-read that will leave a lasting impression, and it may also inspire contemplation long after the final page is turned.

Special thanks to NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.

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A weird, fascinating fantastical world where ghosts wander the earth, with interesting worldbuilding and jobs so central to people's lives that they are almost castes or sects—the point of view character of this novel is Maeve, who is a Sister of Good Death, a convent focused on making sure spirits rest and at odds with both Poets (who rile up spirits with seances) and Scientists (who do even weirder stuff). Maeve meets Imogen, a dead Poet who has somehow returned to her body, and there's a lot of pretty good mystery and suspense, and a developing romance, but the nuances of the fantasy world are the main draw.

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I went into this book expecting a queer ghost story but I got so much more! The characters were well written and lovable. Would actually love to see a sequel about Maeve’s sisters, they were so intriguing.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal immediately drew me in with its summary. It has a lot of things I am very, very into — whaling towns, death priests, hauntings, poets with flowy shirts, and not one but two “dress up and sneak into a fancy party” scenes.

It wasn’t a perfect read; I think the whole mystery plot is a bit weak, and there isn’t actually a lot of investigation going on. But I was having enough fun just hanging around with the characters and enjoying the costume descriptions that I didn’t really mind. I liked the atmosphere of the setting but it didn’t feel quite fully realized. (Like, is there a government?) I was pretty comfortable with the 19th century whaling town vibes when it would suddenly throw in stuff like steampunk cell phones and other things that didn’t feel quite integrated into the world.

Overall, though, I had a fun time reading this book, and it provided pretty much exactly what I was looking for. If you’re looking for a fun, easy, very queer fantasy read, then I think you’ll have a good time with this book

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In all honesty, I thought this book was going to be another overhyped tiktok type book— one that sounds really promising but is just bad when you start to read it. I am so happy I was wrong.

This is dark academia-supernatural-sapphic-gothic-steampunk-poetry-murder-mystery-drama.... it's awesome. While that might look like a lot to cram into one novel, it works. The setting is somewhat historically familiar at first but then it veers sideways several times, however it still makes sense. They have hand held telegraph machines that basically work like cell phones and it doesn't take away from the story at all. If anything, it adds to it.

As far as characters go, Mauve and Imogen are fun. They don't have that annoying miscommunication crap that a lot of young adult novels have which automatically ranks them high in my mind. The supporting cast was good. Not necessarily great, but good. You can definitely tell that Mauve's three friends are side characters, but they weren't bad side characters, if you know what I mean? There's the knitting one, the politics one, and the music one, but they're still nice and three-dimensional enough.

The plot was a little predictable, but that's part of the charm too. If you've read or watched enough murder mysteries, it becomes pretty easy to pick up on what will happen next, but it's still a fun reveal when you find out. I enjoyed that about this book and I think it speaks to the author truly knowing her stuff when it comes to the murder mystery genre. While The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal isn't a murder mystery the same way Agatha Christie's are (well... maybe some of them), it definitely follows a lot of the same conventions.

I'd like to touch on the religion of this book, too. It's an order of nuns in a convent with chores, prayers, habits, and vows, so, at the surface-level, it looks a lot like a parody of Christianity. Maybe it is, but that doesn't really matter. It does not have super rigid rules and it isn't shown as oppressive. I found it very refreshing the way religion was portrayed in this book, especially because it's also so queer. A queer girl choosing to be in a convent and happy with it? Maybe it's been done before, but I haven't seen it, at least not like this. I liked it.

Maybe I could write a longer essay about the complex issues of religion and queerness and the world, but I'm not going to do that now. I will say that, as a queer person with religious trauma, it felt a bit like healing.

TL;DR— this book is just fun. It has laugh out loud moments along with the, ya know, death stuff. I really enjoyed reading it the whole time, and I can't always say that with books, even ones I really like. It's got great ambiance (it's an island in autumn, so you know the vibes are enchanting) and really cute gay girls that I love.

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