The Courting of Life and Death

The Courting of Life and Death

by VMJaskiernia

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Traumatising content

Buy the books, or cross-post your RR review, please and thank you! ❤

Clandestina is a realm of secrets, fairies, and dark magics. Among the nobles there is talk of a goddess of death, and a forbidden magic she grants to those that follow her-- cræft that can heal injuries that should be fatal or even bring back the dead. But she asks for much in return; blood and sometimes even life itself.

Pierre Salvador has just returned to court after finishing his studies and becoming a surgeon. But as he flirts with his childhood friend Elizabeth Anne, Mora, The Lady of Death, waits for him.

I do not take my books down from Royal Road. I do edit, polish, and rewrite things for the published release. (Vol 1 is just short.)

  • Overall Score
  • Style Score
  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
  • Character Score
  • Total Views :
  • 126,451
  • Average Views :
  • 2,073
  • Followers :
  • 787
  • Favorites :
  • 191
  • Ratings :
  • 204
  • Pages :
  • 530
Go to Table of Contents
Fiction breaking rules? Report


Macabre Fantasy Romance

2nd Anniversary
115 Reviews
600 Review Upvotes
Word Count (10)
Top List #50
Premium Member
Table of Contents
61 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Characters, Maps, and Lore ago
Books ago
1.1 ~ Gala ago
1.2 ~ Illness ago
1.3 ~ Lord of Death ago
1.4 ~ Fairies and Daimons ago
1.5 ~ Murder ago
1.6 ~ Poison ago
2.1 ~ Spirits of Death ago
2.2 ~ Cræft ago
2.3 ~ Fée Funeral ago
2.4 ~ Her Fate ago
2.5 ~ Witch ago
2.6 ~ Flirting ago
2.7 ~ A Favor ago
2.8 ~ Château ago
2.9 ~ Death and Dreams ago
2.10 ~ Council Meeting ago
2.11 ~ Dancing Lessons ago
2.12 ~ Going Into Town ago
2.13 ~ Sabine ago
2.14 ~ Letters ago
2.15 ~ The Ladies ago
2.16 ~ Secrets ago
2.17 ~ Foundling ago
2.18 ~ Surgery ago
2.19 ~ Authority ago
2.20 ~ More Letters ago
2.21 ~ Fairy Boots ago
2.22 ~ Fortune Telling ago
2.23 ~ Dead ago
2.24 ~ Dinner ago
2.25 ~ Blancræft ago
2.26 ~ Necrocræft ago
2.27 ~ Presence of Death ago
2.28 ~ Meetings ago
2.29 ~ Magic of Death ago
2.30 ~ Familiar ago
2.31 ~ Midspring and Summerfinding ago
2.32 ~ Church ago
2.33 ~ Mora ago
2.34 ~ Feuilles ago
2.35 ~ The Prince and the Duc ago
2.36 ~ Cold Iron ago
2.37 ~ Cursed ago
2.38 ~ Fay ago
2.39 ~ Loyalties ago
2.40 ~ Ghosts ago
2.41 ~ Clinic ago
2.42 ~ Hospital ago
2.43 ~ Blood ago
2.44 ~ Summer ago
2.45 ~ Jourdain ago
2.46 ~ Caught ago
2.47 ~ Death ago
2.48 ~ Requiem ago
2.49 ~ Engagement ago
2.50 ~ Truth ago
2.51 ~ Revenge ago
3.1 ~ Wedding ago
3.2 ~ Tête-à-tête ago

Leave a review

Sort by:

V. M. Jaskiernia pens a lighthearted romance steeped in horror—or is it perhaps a horror that has instead been beset by romance? Nuances of the dark and tantalizing blot across the finery of Victorian intrigue, with dread and delight waxing and waning in tandem to vie for the reader's attention. Larkspur's single defining shortfall is its brevity⁠—this fiction will capture you with its heartfelt whimsy and then steal your last breath away.


A Dark and Fanciful Tale of Love and Death

Reviewed at: 18 ~ Delphinium ~ Going into town

I would start by simply saying that this story is a MUST read. I do not tend to give 5 stars in all categories but alas my hand was forced by the masterpiece that this story is. A tale written in the realm of Clandestina filled with magic and cræft it will take you through a journey of the tale of old when magic was much more real and dire.


If I could I would have given this category 10 stars, but I only have 5 to work with so I had to make do. The writing style represents something written in the 1800s and it is a PLEASURE to read. The interaction, the world building, the subtle hints, the way the characters think, the way everything fits the image of this realm of magic Clandestina is something I am in love with it and I think you will be too. 


The story has a lot of aspects mixed into it, political intrigue, romance (not the sappy kind), drama, etc. Our protagonist courts death itself and while death is a strength there are consequences for it. The beautiful way that the author has expanded on necromancy had me gripped right from the start. A different and such a refreshing take over a magic that has been over-generalized by LitRPG, it takes spirits and death and the nature of Afterlife into account and overall is just delightful to read with a lot of potential for the future. An easy 5/5 here.


Very rare typos but flawless otherwise if I was petty then I would have cut a half star here but honestly, I was so enamored by the story that I never even notice the typos. 5/5


What would you say when Death herself was a character? Each character has a purpose a goal, and each one seems equally deep and well thought. The only difference that I see between the main characters and side characters? How much we know about them. I will not spoil here so JUST GO READ! You will not be disappointed as right from the first chapters the characters drag you to travel through their tale, full of Life and Death. 

Give the story some time it may take a while to grow on you, as the text is dense and filled to the brim with content so some reader may feel overwhelmed but go past that and you would have in your hands a masterpiece you wish was on your bookshelf too. 

TL;DR Go Read it!

strand VV

 To me this was a mix of myster of magic, this work is honestly phenomenal, it was like reading a classic novel mixed with the novelty of plot, magic and mystery of web serials. I honestly loved it. 


The style of the story was filled with the mystery and charm of the story, it conveyed to me how that world is much different from other mystery and magic stories, if I had a bone to pick it would be that sometimes i was confused due to the structure, but those were very few.


The story and plot itself, oh were they good, reading the first few chapters told me how much of this world was built and thought upon by the author i really want and hope it to continues that way.


I did not feel there was something wrong with the grammar so nothing from me here.


I read about a quarter of the current released chapters so for what i saw in the charcters was they each held a distinct characteristics based on their position in royalty and in the plot. The MC was the one that held a bit of character that steamed out from emotion. But like i said i stopped fairly early on and i am sure the rest of the characters get fleshed out later. 


Style 4.5/5, the story is written very well, no complaints here, I'd apprechiate some imagery but that's just a personal thing.

The pacing is great and the world gets a fair amount of descriptions.


Gramma 5/5, as always, not much to say :D


Story 4.5/5, while the setting seemed pretty standard in the begining, I've definitely been caught off-guard by the end of chapter one and I have to say I'm liking what I see! 

I'm looking forward to a unique adventure!


Characters, so far while the characters' motives aren't perfectly clear, I can tell they aren't 2D caricatures, so I'm giving the story the benefit of the doubt and rating them 4.5/5


I definitely reccomend you give this story a read, it's a fun and easy read :D


Emily Bronte Paints it Black

Reviewed at: 1.6 ~ Poison

That. Was. Awesome. I read to the end of book one. So far, it’s excellent. It was a combination of things I never knew I needed, like Cheerios and chocolate milk, tacos and blue cheese, lemon juice and menudo. If I were to describe the story to you, it would Jane Austen in her black period. Pride and prejudice but metal AF. Rammstein but delightfully sensitive. 

It is solid. And I’ll be honest, I put it off. I put it off because, boo hoo, I’m a man, I don’t have time for no sensitive romance. But this romance is metal as hell, death is a character, and Pierre and Elizabeth are both so interesting and alluring they’ll make thoroughly reevaluate your position on the Kinsey scale. 

Okay so, obviously I’m drunk, but I’m going to try and be intelligible for a bit. VMJ’s style is incredibly clean. The dialogue flies off the the page. The characters are fascinating, and occasionally infuriating, but in the sense that you want to slap them across the face and make them say nice things to each other, never in the take-them-behind-the shed-and-shoot-them sort of way. It’s this manifestation of constant tension and face-rending stress of what the characters will do next and oh, hot damn, that’s right, there’s necromancers in this story and it’s friggin relevant and interesting y’all, and maybe dating a necromancer isn’t such a good idea, but he’s hot and significantly more interesting that housecarl daryl in the tower across the way, so you can’t exactly blame her and holy crap what’s going to happen next?! Interrobang. 

God dang I’m pumped and clearly limiting my language for RR friendliness. 

Y’all. This story is a labor of love. It shows from the first word to the last sentence. Even if romance isn’t traditionally your thing, give it a shot. Got a thing for the macabre? VMJ’s got you. Want some sweet and fluffy moments? VMJ’s got you. Want a moment where you look at everything that’s occurred and completely recalibrate and reevaluate everything you’ve read and judgements on the characters you thought you previously understood? 

VMJ’s got that too.

Love it. Not a minute was wasted and I’m coming back for more when I’m sober. 


Dakie Salamander

Different than other novels on RR, it's so wholesome it could be published physical book instead. And I bet it would be bestseller.

When I read it, the victorian atmosphere just hit me in the brain and pulled me right inside. Beautifull, exquisitively crafted descriptions that will force you to imagine you being here but still gives you enough space to imagine your own things. It reads as Jane Austin books a little bit. (and that's a big, BIG bow from me).

The story is dark and mysterious that you will just impatiently await more chapters.

All characters are having personalities, ambitions and motivations. You will dive into life of nobles in the victorian era, where intrigues and rules of conduct are important. But there is a scale of characters, each of them important. You feel them live their lives even when they leave the scene.

Magic is very tasteful and not too much or too little. Incredible how can you write magic system without overblowing it.

For what I can say, that grammar is perfect.

What can I say? Read it! Definitely! R.E.A.D I.T!

Cocop (Cale Plamann)

Putting the 'Romance' in Necromancy

Reviewed at: ~ Hanging ~

To start, this is novel novel is positively dripping with lore and aesthetic.  This means that the writing is dense to the point where it might turn off some readers, but that doesn't mean it is bad.  The novel is a true Gothic Romance and very very good at what it does.  It's filled with clever wordplay and medieval dating/courtship rituals all with an undercurrent of magic and folklore that is both feral and dangerous.

The style is where this shines.  The dialogue is stilted in a charming way, mimicking the overwrought langauge of the court.  That said, the wording, wordplay, nonverbal cues, descriptions, all of it is very well done without going over the top.  It very much feels like something written in the 18th century about a man of science harboring a dark secret.  If you enjoy any of the old school proto-horror novels such as Dracula or Frankenstein (where half of the purpose was the aesthetic of the era) this book is VERY much worth a read for the style alone.

I didn't notice any errors, that's a good thing.

The story is ultimately a love story with some elements of jealousy mixed in.  At times it can run a little slow, a bit overburdened by the lore and the world it dwells in, but I am very much engaged in it nonetheless.

There are limited characters, all of whom are interesting and have their own role and voice.  There isn't much to say other than 'they're well done' and 'more Wolfram.'


This story a highly organized and well-written work of art. The amount of planning put into every aspect is incredible. 

The characters are well developed. The interactions are fluid and believable.  The world is captivating; the prose is engaging.

Go and read it!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm taking my own advice to read the rest of this polished gem.


Reviewed at chapter 2.3

Pierre Salvador is a nobleman with a plan.  A plan to advance his magical power in a world containing an enormous hidden depths and subterfuge.  

But what happens to his magical plans when he comes across his childhood love?   What decisions will he make when one risks the other?


Style score:  The stories style is very subtle and sneaky.   I am not a fan of romance novels, and every time I went to turn away from reading it in order to seek something put that was a little more action-y, I found myself not actually putting this story down.  There were some choices the author made, such as using duc instead of duke or cræft instead of craft that I rolled my eyes at.  The word choices meant to provide uniqueness I found distracting instead.  Those things are, of course,  intentional by the author, and is more of a nitpick of mine than anything else.  But because it caused me to lose immersion, I feel like I can't give it full 5 stars in this field.  That it warrants 4.5/5 from a reader not enthusiastic about the romance genre should tell you something, though. 

Story Score:  I found no issues with pacing.   Plot moved forward well.  I feel like this is an excellent example of what a romance story should be.  

Grammar score:  I  found a single typo in all that I've read so far.  Well above the rr average.  Much better than my own story. 

Character Score:  Characters were well thought out and displayed their own unique voice.  I never was confused who was who.  I did think there were several opportunities missed that more characterization could have made the story really shine further, and that is why I felt it didn’t warrant a full 5 stars in this category.   


In summary, I think that if you are a fan of romance stories, this is a must read.  If that isn't a genre you like, then I would recommend reading with caution that it just might not be for you.  


Dark Fantasy at its very best

Reviewed at: 1.6 ~ Poison

Brilliant work by the author in creating this piece of dark fantasy. Follow the exploits of Pierre as he dabbles in dark magic and pursues romance but all with ever-present spectre of Mora, the Lady of Death. The book opens with blossoming romance but takes a sharp turn into the nighttime world of the supernatural with blood rites and ritual as Pierre traverses the realms between the living and the dead. Familiars, faries and other fey creatures form part of this dark but enchanting realm. The script is written in a flowing style with language typical of the English Victorian / Elizabethean courtship era. This adds a sense of history which pairs well with the sense of lost archaic forbidden magics and creatures of old. Am definitely going to continue reading this one!