The Lord of Stariel – A.J. Lancaster

the lord of stariel

What a delicious read! So perfect for me! Just the false-light read I’m looking for, but usually can’t find anymore these days, as romances tend to be heavy on the romance and explicit sexe to the detriment of the story, and even to characters’ development, with stereotypical protagonists.

« Lord of Stariel » is just the kind of family story I love, a mix of fantasy, feminism, romance and humour, a mix of levity and profoundness: subtle but never simplistic. A very feminine read (and I don’t mean « for girls »), which will delight readers who appreciate a classic style, beautiful and smart dialogues and an absence of clichés – or rather the presence of twisted ones!

I loved each aspect of the book, but I’ll begin with the main character, Hatty, who’s a superb feminine protagonist. She’s quite feminine and sometimes a flirt (by her own admission), but is also her own person, capable, independent and occasionally irritated by male chauvinism. It was easy to root for her since the very beginning of the story.

The setting of the story is interesting, a mix of a fifties-ish atmosphere, where magic is mundane and used in a pseudo steampunk way as an energy, fuiling classical devices (cars, elektricity,..) and sometimes as an art – but not one well-mannered and respectable ladies should persue. There is also a touch of some romantic and mysterious magic, as the link between the land of Stariel and its family members…

The main tone of the story is rather perky, humorous and good-natured, with the kind of pragmatic romanticism I particularly love (as in Jane Austen’s books, in a way). But never superficial. For instance one of the main theme is about festered family relations, how some are bound to be always difficult and even impossible, and won’t even be absolved in death. Hatty is a strong minded person, able to accept the fact that her father died before she could see him again, and that they wouldn’t have being reconciled even if she had come back home sooner.

The whole story was an easy read, clever and fun, with mysteries and revelations (some easy and exciting to guess, some others just exciting), a lovely bunch of various characters, and a pinch of romance!

I’m looking forward reading the sequences (it will be a quartet) and to buy this first book of the series in its paper version, which will soon be available: the cover is so beautiful!

(I thank Netgalley and Camberion Press for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

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