I received a review copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first book
It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.
Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.
If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
HALF A SOUL is a very funny, whimsical story about love, ill tempered magicians, and vicious faeries. The sheer whimsy of it, coupled with the very vicious main faerie really gives it that fairy tale feel, both of this world and not, and with very sharp teeth.
The heart of this book is about fighting injustice and how often those with wealth and “good” stations don’t think about the unpleasantness – and when they do it’s abstract and not enough to help. It’s Dora, Albert, and Elias’ experience of injustice and their determination to do something about it that draws the men together with Dora as friends and more. It gives them a common ground and makes their relationships less superficial than many of the others around them.
It’s funny how much they, particularly Elias, flout the rules of polite society, because the rules are so stupid and he does not have the time for them. Dora’s perspective, the book’s narrator, really brings out the frustrated bemusement at the absurdity of it all because she feels emotions differently because half her soul is missing. The use of proper speech also helps highlight the absurdity because of the way they have to phrase things.
I was very glad about the decision Dora makes at the end of the book to do with restoring her soul to one piece. I wish a bit more time had been put into her explanation because it was left more or less as “this was the only way to save everyone.” It could have been a really nice reinforcing moment about inclusion and acceptance, particularly as Dora felt like she could be neurodivergent (I certainly saw a lot of my own ASD in her.)
Onto the next book, which is a companion and a Cinderella retelling!
Read my reviews of other books by Olivia Atwater:
Regency Faerie Tales (this series):