The Courting of Life and Death
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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.
Larkspur, or A Necromancer's Romance: 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.
Delphinium, or A Necromancer's Home: Lady Elizabeth Anne does not know about the dark magic her beloved practices, and he has no intent to tell her. As they travel to his childhood home for the summer, Pierre Salvador attempts to balance his newfound love with his murderous cræft and his duties as duc.
Aconitella, or A Necromancer's Wife: Coming Soon
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The story is told from the 3rd person perspective of main character. I believe it's harder to tell from third person than first, so props to the author for managing to make me feel so familiar with the main character.
There is a certain element to the story that I am torn between. Although I love that the author decided to insert new words into their work and enrich the world's Mythos, sometimes it makes it hard to read. Several times I had to pause and reread a sentence to catch the meaning because of that confusing word. This also extends to character's names. Which I believe come from the Celtic (don't quote me on this).
The first two chapters have a few sentences that made me hick up on my reading experience. It does become a rarety afterwards. Very few to no typos. Just a few weirdly structured sentences.
The author has a very clearly defined world behind the work. We manage to glimpse some of it through the conversations, but it's still very much shrouded in mystery after the first book. I do love myself some mystery and the hanging questions are a great motivator for me as a reader to keep going. I do wonder though, maybe the author has gone a bit too far on the mystery? Even after the first book is over, I barely have an idea to what the magic of the MC entails to. There are brief glimpses of its power, but it seems the line of their limits has been kept far from our views.
The story is mostly driven by the conversation between the MC and the supporting characters, mostly his love interest. This is interesting, because although stiff and somewhat stilted, the interaction between them seem very believable. I believe the author significantly improves as the story moves forward, and by the end of the book I was gliding smoothly through all the dialogue.
I have mixed feelings about this part. Although the characters are well written, there is so much mystery surrounding the MC and very little time to develop anyone, but him and his love interest. He has shown his moral lines are blurred, but also some concern for others existences between his bouts of coldness and indifference. Is he a posh who see others as lower existences or does he respect life, and death, as equals? That hasn't been made clear, despite his multiple interactions with people of lower standing.
The love interest, although not a one dimensional character, hasn't shown much of herself. I don't think she had been given opportunities to shine besides one such occasion. I think it's a bit unfair of me to deem her one dimensional, but she has been very bland so far. Although she does show a lot of potential.
I got into the story a bit "left footed". I was somewhat confused by the first chapter, but eventually, as the author started to reveal the world and give more depth to the inner workings of their realm, I was thoroughly engrossed. The exposition through the bedroom talks and late night walks are a great way to make it all feel natural. If you like a rich world with a fresh take on magic and romance, this is going to please you.
I just finished Larkspur, and while I will admit to being totally confused in the first chapter, upon reading in further, it made more and more sense. It's one of those that you have to immerse yourself in to really understand, and forget trying to compare it to anything else, because it isn't possible.
The level of creativity that was put into this is astounding. The world within isn't half-baked but truly well thought out and brought to life by the style it's written in. Pierre is a very complex individual, as soon as you think you have him figured out, he does something that you wouldn't expect, and it's done in a way that shows the skill of the author.
I look forward to reading more :}
I'm not a romance reader, but I love this story. The atmosphere, themes, and characters drip with style as much as with blood. No, that didn't actually make sense. Yes, it's the best way I can describe it.
Take all the White Wolf vampire flavors, mix them together with three milliliters of Maurice Druon, and top them off with a delicate Neil Gaiman syrup. Congratulations, you have this book. Serve and consume immediately.
If, like me, you enjoy bizarre and macabre atmosphere and worldbuilding, even if you likewise don't care for the romance genre, you'll find a lot to love here.
The Courting of Life and Death is a dark fantasy that seemed to be inspired by Jane Austen's works without the deph of romance. This may seem harsh to say but the characters proceed to make out without any real interaction of their history which they reveal through dialogue rather stiltedly. Some introspection instead could help flesh out their character more, perhaps how Lizzy feels when she interacts with Pierre? I remember one fleeting sentence of how she wished she would kiss him. Perhaps it is a mistake in past tense as it solely focuses on Pierre's introspection from then on.
There are a lot of different names for the same subjects which is confusing (I try to keep a minimum of two different names for each term, no concrete rule but there was too much in this story's case). The author embellishes the use of scene breaks a LOT. I counted 7 scene breaks at chapter 6! Some could be changed e.g. as the evening passed...
Desciptions are well crafted with vivid vocabulary. However whenever the characters walk into the setting I feel as if they walk through air due to a stray sentence explaining the setting e.g. the castle. period. (yes it may seem obnoxious to literally type period but that's how the decriptions of the settings feel at times) I'm a stickler for the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations that the characters are going through. More sharp feelings of pain in this macaber tale if you will.
Death seems like an obsessive waifu, constantly appearing at Pierre's beck and call. I feel she could be portrayed more mysteriously with more impact to her interactions with the world. A powerful spirit not to appear every time, and when she does perhaps more dire consequences. The familiar seems unimportant and shoehorned into, though her interactions are enjoyable. The character's intentions and goals could be more clearly laid out through more introspection.
Overall this story's prose is well crafted in a dark Victorianesque setting. The lore is quite enthralling. Despite my criticisms I enjoyed this story.
Much of what I planned on praising has already been pointed out several times by other reviewers, so it's highly recommended that those reading this review just start reading the story already.
Vividly descriptive, excellent grammar, amazing pacing and distinctly unique characters all are in this story as well as an interesting magic concept.
I don't have much of anything new to add that hadn't been said already multiple times by other reviewers. I WILL say, however, that I likely wouldn't have found this story on my own. Dark fantasy is my weakness, and this site has very few well written ones. So when I DO find them, I can't help but be heavily biased with my reviews.
Keep up the perfection, VMJ!
So right off the bat, the author made third omni work well enough I didn't immediately quit. That's saying something considering my tastes.
The story is gripping af, and will keep you hooked the whole way(well, I hope it continues too, because we're at chapter 8 right now. But if the author keeps this up it will be amazing).
The author's style is beautiful, and well-crafted, there's not really much more to say. They write extremely well.
Very, very few grammar mistakes.
The characters are great. You'll like Pierre, he's extremely intriguing.
Overall, this is a solid recommendation. I look forward to seeing the story develop.
The impeccable writing is done with a very specific style and tone in mind, and one that permeates the whole book. It's full of gravitas, with ducs and comtes, its own calendar, and occasionally even the little æ symbol. Plain prose wouldn't do it justice.
The naming scheme (characters, locations, etc.) is very elegant and continues to contribute to the tone.
This world must have pages and pages of development behind it for reference. Keeping track of royal families, other countries, and different magic systems must be impossible otherwise.
For fans of the genre, it's everything is promises to be. For people who are less enthused, it's still a lovely read.
Also, Pluta is the best character, hands-down.
A surgeon who deals in magic involving death— I wonder what he thinks of the hippocratic oath?
The story starts strong, immediately presenting you with a depth of character that you will rarely find on Royalroad, and leading directly into building a fantastic and apocryphical world, each word hiding a world beneath it. I can't wait to pull back and the pages and learn more about a world of blood, fairies, and magic.
A unique fantasy read that pulls from multiple mythologies and blends them together seamlessly.
The style of the story is very remiscent of Jane Austen-esque writing style mixed in with Edgar Allan Poe. The formal way of speaking that also translates into the writing can be off-putting at times, but given the period, it feels accurately placed and doesn't distract from the overall lore/world-building that is happening.
There were times when there were some awkwardly long sentences, but otherwise grammar was on point!
The story is great - it reminds me a lot of quite a few anime out there where Death takes the form of someone. It also feels a lot like the Inkheart series with the Motley Folk once the fae are introduced. A good combination not often seen in story-form.
The characters, up to where I read, were hard to connect with. They felt very 2D and I wasn't a fan of either Elizabeth or Pierre. I found them both to be too pretentious for my liking and a little overdramatic in their speech while seeming completely blank as a character. I'm not sure if this is because I only read to chapter four and they develop more in the future or something else. There's a lot of exposition on feelings in the supporting paragraphs during POV switches, but I never see it exhibited from the characters themselves, making it feel a little empty at the end of the day.
Overall pretty good. Seeing the MC suffer is harrowing.
Style: The story is about rich people so if you have French knowledge of roots you should be okay. There's also a little pun that was funny, but it can come off as pretentious. Clarity isn't so good about certain events, like the MC's name isn't introduced until several paragraphs in, and you never hear his full name except in the synopsis...(meanwhile the lover interest's name is fully enunciated several times...) Its a soft magic system so I wouldn't focus on the terms too much, it's better to let it roll and watch the drama.
Story: There isn't much yet, the plot starts at ch 7 i think. Mostly a few questions like, how much is the MC gonna destroy themselves balancing 3 bajillion roles at once (mentor, doctor, duke?) and how far will he entrench himself into various situations.
Like, how the heck is Pierre able to command Wolfram to bring him dead bodies, lol! That's weird, so hopefully that gets explained more because most people are going to bat an eye, unless he's so poor and low in status that he has to do it and decided, "working for a necromancer doctor isnt so bad"
Also the fact that he suffers all the time when he uses magic means that hopefully, he'll use more traditional medical techniques (without magic), because constantly cutting himself is... unsustainable in my opinion lol
Character: Pretty character driven, there isn't much backstory to go off yet, besides the MC, so hopefully that gets resolved with more chapters. They're rich nobles, so the dialogue feels stilted, but I guess that's part of the appeal for some. I'm not a huge romance fan, but I like seeing characters go crazy, and the story certainly wants to head in that direction.