BY LYNDALL CLIPSTONE
There are monsters in the world.
When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
There are monsters in the woods.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…
There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.
Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
I often struggle with finding the right words when it comes to books that I know are going to stick with me long after I’ve read that final page. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Lakesedge, but it wasn’t this heartbreaking story of love and sacrifice. It made me truly question just what makes someone a monster?
Lakesedge has this ideal dark gothic atmosphere that was the perfect fit for a story about a girl who likes to kiss monsters. Clipstone did an amazing job of slowly revealing the world of Lakesedge, the how’s and why’s behind the growing corruption there. It was never confusing or overwhelming with too much or too little information, but instead unfolded in a way that left me wanting more.
At the heart of this story is the relationship between Violeta and her brother Arien. Leta gave and endured so much to keep her brother safe, to protect him from the darkness ready to consume him. Their relationship was so touching. I loved their teasing and banter that one can only have with a sibling. While she could be a tad overprotective, it was understandable and honestly warranted after everything they had endured in their short lives.
Is someone a monster because of the things they do or their reasons behind those actions? Rowan was truly just this lost boy trying to protect all those around him for mistakes from his past. A self deprecating martyr so alike Leta in their need to self sacrifice. Him and Violeta had chemistry from the start and it definitely made me turn the pages a little faster. The tension between them was unbearable with Clipstone teasing us mercilessly before delivering. Shoot maybe I’d give up something too for this to be NA instead of YA.
I think my favorite part about this story is at its core it appears to be a Hades and Persephone retelling, stealing only the barest of bones from the lore to create a new and intriguing gothic romance. Lord Under was this dark and mysterious presence lurking in the dark corners of this story and I can’t wait to hopefully see more of him. This story is far from over though and I can’t wait to see just what’s in store for Leta and Rowan in Forestfall.
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