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A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer. 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 th A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer. 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.


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A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer. 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 th A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer. 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.

30 review for Lakesedge

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    The Lord Under, I am free on Thursday if you are, I repeat I am free on Thursday (Also, Leta, the heroine, is demisexual! Which I think is something really wonderful that should be mentioned more, and has been confirmed by the author. And I'm quietly obsessed with Rowan's ear piercings.) * this book is full of: > monster boys who gift you pretty dresses > Old secret gardens and bramble thorns > death gods who whisper your name in the dark > honey scented altar candles > almost-kisses at midnight [x] The Lord Under, I am free on Thursday if you are, I repeat I am free on Thursday (Also, Leta, the heroine, is demisexual! Which I think is something really wonderful that should be mentioned more, and has been confirmed by the author. And I'm quietly obsessed with Rowan's ear piercings.) * this book is full of: > monster boys who gift you pretty dresses > Old secret gardens and bramble thorns > death gods who whisper your name in the dark > honey scented altar candles > almost-kisses at midnight [x]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    A dark, gothic fantasy about a monster who collects his tithes from the townies, resides at his mansion sets on the banks of cursed lake where he drowned his own family one by one! If you don’t start screaming and running away yet, this may be good fit for your dark, claustrophobic, suffocating thriller intake! You get your fix and read your feel-worse book! Sometimes scary things in this book can be therapeutic by distracting us from the real villains at the outer world! Poor Violeta Graceling A dark, gothic fantasy about a monster who collects his tithes from the townies, resides at his mansion sets on the banks of cursed lake where he drowned his own family one by one! If you don’t start screaming and running away yet, this may be good fit for your dark, claustrophobic, suffocating thriller intake! You get your fix and read your feel-worse book! Sometimes scary things in this book can be therapeutic by distracting us from the real villains at the outer world! Poor Violeta Graceling was found in the woods with her brother, raised by a woman who tortured both of them to kill the shadows and pure darkness growing inside her thirteen years old brother Arien. Only thing she prays for is providing a safe place and taking care of him. But their lord Rowan Sylvanan returns back to town for collecting tithes. The dark lord is presumed to massacre his entire family! And now he wants to take his brother drag into the haunted Lakesedge! Hell, no! She cannot let him take away without a fight. You can guess what is gonna happen next. She loses the fight, reluctantly stepping in Lakesedge estate, meeting with eccentric alchemist Clover and tough, loyal, caretaker Florence and the eerie, empty, freezing, haunted estate slowly brings out the nightmares and secrets she kept about her past. She realizes Rowan is not the monster she thinks and his connection to Lord Under and the black waters of haunted lake is way more complicated she can absorb. She may be the key to save Rowan, her own brother, her new friends. But she has to be brave enough to cross the path of darkness, learning the ugly truths she restrained for so long. She has a dangerous tithe to pay! It’s a great, extremely bleak, horrifying but absolutely intriguing beginning of brand new series ends with cliffhanger. I enjoyed this one! I’m looking forward to read the other books of the series. ( it seems like a duology, so let’s say the other book) Special thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/ Henry Holt and Co. for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Ok, I’m leaving it at 3 stars for now. The main character got on my nerves so much in the beginning that it turned me off for a bit. I’m in love with Rowan though! I’ll leave my link below to my Owlcrate unboxing with the special edition and goodies …. There are monsters in the world. There are monsters in the woods. They slip inside at night. Crawl through the walls of our cottage. They find their way into my brother’s dreams. Fire to burn out the infection. Sparks that cut through the ni Ok, I’m leaving it at 3 stars for now. The main character got on my nerves so much in the beginning that it turned me off for a bit. I’m in love with Rowan though! I’ll leave my link below to my Owlcrate unboxing with the special edition and goodies …. There are monsters in the world. There are monsters in the woods. They slip inside at night. Crawl through the walls of our cottage. They find their way into my brother’s dreams. Fire to burn out the infection. Sparks that cut through the night sky. The scent of ash. Trees outlined against the moonlight. A whisper through the branches The Owlcrate edition is beautiful and I’m going to stain the edges red to go with the book. And I might later decide to make it into a junk journal along with some pages and makes the others into bookmarks. If I want the book, I’ll get the original cover edition. Blog: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... You should be out by the orchard, where violets secretly darken the earth, Or there in the woods of the twilight, with northern wind-flowers shaken astir. Think of me here in the library, trying and trying a song that is worth Tears and swords to my heart, arrows no armour will turn to deter. -D.H. Lawrence, Letter from Town: On a Grey Morning in March Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cait (Caitsbooks)

    This is the perfect fall read. Lakesedge is creepy, ominous, and atmospheric. From horror to romance, this book has it all. I found myself glued to the pages, loving these characters and this world, eager to find out what happens next. The relationships between all of the characters are at the heart of this story and truly make it shine. I loved the dynamic between our main character and her younger brother that she would do anything to protect. And the romance was absolutely adorable. If you lik This is the perfect fall read. Lakesedge is creepy, ominous, and atmospheric. From horror to romance, this book has it all. I found myself glued to the pages, loving these characters and this world, eager to find out what happens next. The relationships between all of the characters are at the heart of this story and truly make it shine. I loved the dynamic between our main character and her younger brother that she would do anything to protect. And the romance was absolutely adorable. If you like broody and possibly monstrous love interests, this book is for you. Their banter was so entertaining and I never wanted it to end. I swear, Lakesedge was made for me. This book has similar vibes to The Haunting of Bly Manor and Down Comes the Night. And did I mention that 90% of the characters are queer? Our protagonist is demisexual, and we also have gay, sapphic, and bi/pan characters. Yeah, I'm officially obsessed. Can book 2 come out already??? Rating: 4.5/5 stars (Content Warnings: death, violence, gore, self-harm (for magic), body horror, drowning, vomiting [official list available here])

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lyndall Clipstone

    A list of content warnings for Lakesedge can be found on my website, here. A list of content warnings for Lakesedge can be found on my website, here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I feel very frustrated by this book. As a Gothic Ho ™, I was very excited for this. Unfortunately it did not live up to my hopes. I take issue with this story being described as gothic, because even though it uses elements commonly associated with the gothic, they are not applied in the same way here and instead function as a sort of shallow set dressing. There was also a major issue of telling and not showing throughout the book. I felt like we were told a lot of things, especially about Leta, bu I feel very frustrated by this book. As a Gothic Ho ™, I was very excited for this. Unfortunately it did not live up to my hopes. I take issue with this story being described as gothic, because even though it uses elements commonly associated with the gothic, they are not applied in the same way here and instead function as a sort of shallow set dressing. There was also a major issue of telling and not showing throughout the book. I felt like we were told a lot of things, especially about Leta, but then not really shown proof. Like we're constantly told how Rowan is a monster, but it's very clear early on that he isn't and yet Leta won't stop harping on it. I did like Rowan however. Leta also suffers from major self-sacrifice martyr syndrome that makes her almost unbearable. For someone who we are constantly told is so selfless, she makes a lot of selfish decisions without any forethought whatsoever. She never thinks anything through. Also for a story written in first person, it was strange that halfway through the book Leta internally discloses something major to the reader that she acted like she didn't know about this whole time when she did. Super frustrating. The LGBTQ rep was also really odd. There would be these random brief mentions of some of the secondary character's sexualities, but then it was never brought up again and these characters were never allowed to be anything other than flat background characters that exist to coddle the main character. If you're going to give us representation, that give us actual representation - this was borderline insulting with its low effort. I liked the romance a lot. So there's that. But I love a literal devil, so I also want something to happen with the Lord Under despite hating love triangles. I probably need therapy lmao. I had a few other things to say, but now can no longer remember them. Will update if I do. edit: lots of use of pet phrases throughout that drove me a bit insane. what does silt taste like? I am curious but absolutely unwilling to find out first hand

  7. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    When this book promised lonely gothic estates, monstrous boys and daring girls, and beautifully ethereal writing, it does not disappoint. It was truly an aesthetic read! Moody and whimsical, and kind of felt perfect for October too! It also very much fits with a lot of the current style of YA fantasies, so if you enjoy books like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, What We Devour, The Dark Tide, & House of Salt and Sorrows, this is like little cousin. I definitely felt the book's strength was the aesthe When this book promised lonely gothic estates, monstrous boys and daring girls, and beautifully ethereal writing, it does not disappoint. It was truly an aesthetic read! Moody and whimsical, and kind of felt perfect for October too! It also very much fits with a lot of the current style of YA fantasies, so if you enjoy books like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, What We Devour, The Dark Tide, & House of Salt and Sorrows, this is like little cousin. I definitely felt the book's strength was the aesthetics and settings. I initially thought it was modern for some reason, but it's actually an epic fantasy world! Basically it's all cottages and little villages, overlooked by the big lord in the manor -- who is rumoured to be a monster after killing his whole family. But when he comes to Violeta's village for their annual tithe, she is like: "Ah, beautiful tortured looking BOY." Which, you know, he is just that. I do wish we'd known more about the world? It mostly focused on the magic: how there is a Lady Light and a Lord Under, how the lord's estate is riddled with foul magical corruption, how if they don't fix it, it will consume the world. It is about black magic consuming people, the deep sadness of sacrifice, the way you'd die for people you love. Boys turning into monsters and forced to do monstrous things is just what I like reading tbh, so I loved this aspect a lot. Especially with black magic eating Rowan alive, and Violeta's little brother Arien oozing black shadow magic that he can't control. The gothic, rambling estate with its lake of horrors and Violeta talking to dark gods? Yes, yes. Two things though: 1. Violeta was a very typical YA heroine who was definitely The Main Character in ever aspect of her life. She always assumed she knew best, crashed every situation without asking clarity from anyone, and would override everyone's wishes because she Knew Best. Her love and dedication to doing right and good was beautiful, but it came at the cost of a self-absorbed world view that grated on me 😂 2. Not a lot happens? We have a group of loveable characters working on alchemy and spells at the estate to heal the corruption, and that's it. The romance is also VERY fast. Overall, it's beautifully written and it's so easy to be sucked into the dark, eerie world of haunts and insidious black magic, contrasted against lovely gardens and estates and lace dresses and romance.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.

    If there is a genre lacking in YA is gothic romance or gothic fantasy. This book is a very awaited gothic romance fantasy, and I'm so glad to have read it. There are creepy elements, dark versus light, a feisty heroine, and a dark brooding hero. The magic system was well done and I really enjoyed the setting and world-building. I absolutely wanted to know more about the supporting characters and this is where I find it lacking: they could have been more developed, they could have had more depth, g If there is a genre lacking in YA is gothic romance or gothic fantasy. This book is a very awaited gothic romance fantasy, and I'm so glad to have read it. There are creepy elements, dark versus light, a feisty heroine, and a dark brooding hero. The magic system was well done and I really enjoyed the setting and world-building. I absolutely wanted to know more about the supporting characters and this is where I find it lacking: they could have been more developed, they could have had more depth, growth, instead, they felt flat. Our two main characters, Leta and Rowan were well constructed and very distinct. I really enjoyed their dynamics. I'm hoping to learn more about Lord Under. Nevertheless, it is a book with lush prose and beautiful relationships and it definitely kept my interest from the very first page till the end. It is a perfect Fall or Winter read. I must say I saw all the twists coming (hello tropes) but I'm still excited to see what comes next. I'll definitely read the next book of this author! If you enjoy dark fairytales, romance with consent, beautiful friendships and supernatural try this one! TW: self harm, death, non-graphic sexual content. Real rating: 3,5 of 5stars ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!) You had me at Gothic Romance Fantasy I'm loving this 2021 trend of Gothic YA!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    You had me at: "...the notorious Rowan Sylvanan, known as the Monster of Lakesedge," *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. You had me at: "...the notorious Rowan Sylvanan, known as the Monster of Lakesedge," *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    Eugh, this ended up being so disappointing. The blurb promises darkness, monsters, gods. What we get is pieces of other people's stories woven together by a really thin premise: a 'corruption' is taking over and only Leta has the power to save the world. *eyeroll* So here we have: Beauty and the Beast and The Secret Garden, with a little bit of SJM's A Court of Thorns and Roses thrown in for good measure. Leta is forced to stay at this horrible mansion with all of its luxuries under the watchful gl Eugh, this ended up being so disappointing. The blurb promises darkness, monsters, gods. What we get is pieces of other people's stories woven together by a really thin premise: a 'corruption' is taking over and only Leta has the power to save the world. *eyeroll* So here we have: Beauty and the Beast and The Secret Garden, with a little bit of SJM's A Court of Thorns and Roses thrown in for good measure. Leta is forced to stay at this horrible mansion with all of its luxuries under the watchful glare of its mysterious, monstrous lord. Rowan is of course the brooding, misunderstood monster who really just needs love to cure all of his ails. Everything about this book frustrated me. I think we're supposed to be impressed by how fearless and headstrong Violeta is but honestly she annoyed me so much. She keeps doing stupid things because she selfishly believes she's the only one capable of doing anything, and she totally smothers her brother under the pretext of 'protecting' him. She argues about everything and yet somehow everyone is impressed by her? (view spoiler)[For example, everyone was so surprised and impressed she gave up her magic to save her brother? But I'm just like, of course she did?? Since when could magic ever be more important than your brother's life?! (hide spoiler)] Rowan also did nothing for me because he's your typical control freak who likes to just yell at people to not do things but never actually explain anything, all while awkwardly hitting on Leta then pushing her away in an endless cycle. The story is so ridiculously repetitive and pointless. Basically, there's a 'corruption' that the gang needs to fix. But it's just constantly the same thing: corruption is bad -> ritual to combat corruption -> ritual goes wrong -> corruption is still bad -> ritual -> goes wrong -> REPEAT ENDLESSLY. PLUS the bonus of: I really like him -> but he's a monster -> but he's just misunderstood - but he'd never want me -> so I'm totally not into him -> but I like him a lot -> but he's a monster -> not really though -> ETC FOR ETERNITY. Kill me now. This whole thing was pointless and painful and repetitive and didn't deliver any of the darkness I was hoping for. I'm so bummed. If you're into that whole, 'mysterious brooding monster man falls for Perfectly Ordinary yet Feisty Female' trope you're gonna love this trash. Personally, I felt like so much of this story was just done better elsewhere. Definitely won't be reading the inevitable sequel. With thanks and apologies to Macmillan for sending me a copy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tes - paperbackbones

    RTC but I can let you know now that this atmospheric debut needs to be on your TBR if: • you longingly daydreamt yourself into the shoes of literature’s greatest gothic heroines (& their flowy gossamer night gowns) • you just can’t resist falling for Byronic heroes • you refuse to admit the exact number of times you’ve rewatched Crimson Peak because y i k e s • you honestly think Alina should have taken the Darkling up on his offer to rule over Ravka • using your phone’s flashlight to walk around yo RTC but I can let you know now that this atmospheric debut needs to be on your TBR if: • you longingly daydreamt yourself into the shoes of literature’s greatest gothic heroines (& their flowy gossamer night gowns) • you just can’t resist falling for Byronic heroes • you refuse to admit the exact number of times you’ve rewatched Crimson Peak because y i k e s • you honestly think Alina should have taken the Darkling up on his offer to rule over Ravka • using your phone’s flashlight to walk around your house at night immediately makes you feel like you’re holding a candelabra and wandering around Northanger Abbey • you are a sucker for a good Hades/Persephone retelling

  12. 5 out of 5

    gauri

    as an enjoyer of gothic romance elements, lakesedge sounded very promising. but alas. yes we have a lonely but beautiful mansion, the "monsters", the sense of eeriness but it all lacked the mysterious aura to complete the atmosphere. everything felt... shallow, like a bunch of tropes the author wanted to write about and dumped them together without any significant story. the plot felt repetitive, i wasn't invested in the romance either — oh everyone thinks this guy is a monster and he tells me to as an enjoyer of gothic romance elements, lakesedge sounded very promising. but alas. yes we have a lonely but beautiful mansion, the "monsters", the sense of eeriness but it all lacked the mysterious aura to complete the atmosphere. everything felt... shallow, like a bunch of tropes the author wanted to write about and dumped them together without any significant story. the plot felt repetitive, i wasn't invested in the romance either — oh everyone thinks this guy is a monster and he tells me to believe that but he saved me once so i don't think he's bad at all and i'm going to figure him out but what if he really is bad?! yeah, no. written in 1st person, it was really difficult for me to like the protagonist because it was all tell and no show and leta is just a stupidly brave and self sacrificing character. there wasn't any build up either to keep me invested. the entire story is majorly underdeveloped — characters, setting, plot. maybe some will like it, if you want to read about a flat mc who is scared of her magic and falls for this dark brooding dude with dark magic but personally i was disappointed. thank you netgalley and publisher for the arc

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Smith

    Thank you to Edelweiss and Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC. Lakesedge promised us monster-y romance, death gods, a gothic manor, a cursed lake, and magic, and it DELIVERED. I devoured this book in a single night. Lakesedge follows Violeta Graceling, a girl orphaned with her younger brother being raised by a religious woman who took them in, but Violeta’s younger brother, Arien, starts exhibiting signs of dark magic: shadows erupting during the night as he dreams, and the woman punishes t Thank you to Edelweiss and Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC. Lakesedge promised us monster-y romance, death gods, a gothic manor, a cursed lake, and magic, and it DELIVERED. I devoured this book in a single night. Lakesedge follows Violeta Graceling, a girl orphaned with her younger brother being raised by a religious woman who took them in, but Violeta’s younger brother, Arien, starts exhibiting signs of dark magic: shadows erupting during the night as he dreams, and the woman punishes them for it. On the tithe day, Arien’s powers erupt, and the lord of the area sees them and demands they come with him to his estate, Lakesedge. But the lord, Rowan Sylvanan, is a monster, rumored to have killed his entire family before inheriting the estate and lands. But even if Rowan is a calculating and cruel kinslayer, Rowan needs Arien’s magic to help cleanse a magical corruption that started from the lake at his home, before it consumes Rowan, already half-filled with the corruption himself, Lakesedge, and the rest of the world, with its rot and decay. Romance blooms between Rowan and Leta, but there is more to both of them than meets the eye, both inexplicably tied to Lord Under, the god of death, and it becomes clear it’s not just Arien who Rowan needs to help cleanse the corruption for good. Now time for my actual thoughts on the book: While I don’t think there was anything particularly noteworthy of the writing itself—I only tend to notice writing styles if it’s either terrible or absolutely stunning— it wasn’t bad but it just didn’t jump out at me, I LOVED the romance, I loved the magic systems, I loved the incorporation of the death god and his underworld, blood sacrifices, everything. Even for me not enjoying young adult books very often anymore, this was amazing. I highly recommend if you’re looking for a good monster love interest fantasy romance. As for LGBT rep: it was overall a F/M romance, and as far as I could tell the protagonist is straight, but there’s a wlw side character and I believe Rowan likes men as well as women. Found out later the author wrote Leta as demisexual. Like I said, I devoured this book. It hooked me from the beginning and I felt like I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Now I’m hating that I read it so quickly because I need the next book NOW but it’s 19 months away. What am I supposed to do in the meantime? Bribe the author with a crisp $20 to let me read the unfinished draft of Forestfall? Work more hours at the bookstore to be able to give Lyndall a more sizable bribe? Add to your TBR and preorder. You need to read this book, just like I NEED to be torn between Lord Under and Rowan Sylvanan, just like Leta.

  14. 4 out of 5

    S.T. Gibson

    This tasty morsel of a book full of dark waters, family curses, summer bonfires, lakeside summoning rituals, weary boys with monsters inside them, and gods of death who don't play fair was the perfect companion to me when I was feeling down. Leta feels like such a real teen girl, all big emotions and bravery and self-consciousness and a fierce desire for agency! A strong, lyrical debut from a rising star to watch. This tasty morsel of a book full of dark waters, family curses, summer bonfires, lakeside summoning rituals, weary boys with monsters inside them, and gods of death who don't play fair was the perfect companion to me when I was feeling down. Leta feels like such a real teen girl, all big emotions and bravery and self-consciousness and a fierce desire for agency! A strong, lyrical debut from a rising star to watch.

  15. 5 out of 5

    rose ✨

    “there are monsters in the woods, in the world. there’s a monster the shadows, and now it knows my name.” i really should have dnf’ed this one. i kept reading for the gothic atmosphere and the references to beauty and the beast and hades and persephone, but lakesedge feels so unpolished and incomplete. i know this is the first book in a series, but there were too many plot holes and too many things were left unresolved. i wasn’t intrigued, i was frustrated and confused. the plot and romance are “there are monsters in the woods, in the world. there’s a monster the shadows, and now it knows my name.” i really should have dnf’ed this one. i kept reading for the gothic atmosphere and the references to beauty and the beast and hades and persephone, but lakesedge feels so unpolished and incomplete. i know this is the first book in a series, but there were too many plot holes and too many things were left unresolved. i wasn’t intrigued, i was frustrated and confused. the plot and romance are so repetitive. violeta and her younger brother, arien, are whisked away by the monster of lakesedge after he witnesses arien’s magic. this begins a cycle of “he’s a monster—but he did a nice thing for me—but he’s a monster” before they even arrive at lakesedge, and once they get there, the main plot is just as repetitive: “the magic will work this time—oh no, the magic didn’t work—the magic will definitely work this time!” the main character is incredibly frustrating. we’re told again and again by other characters that leta is strong, brave, etc., but her behavior is consistently immature and selfish. her thirteen-year-old brother demonstrates more maturity than her. and despite the first person narrative, arguably the most important reveal of the story is dropped randomly in the middle of the book, as if leta herself forgot about this life-changing event until that point. the other characters were underdeveloped stereotypes. the “monster” boy love interest (who doesn’t actually do anything monstrous—boo. boring). the cottagecore lesbian side character. the gay little brother. the closest this book came to an interesting character was the lord under, who was woefully underutilized (though it does seem like he’ll be more important in the next book). lakesedge as a whole just felt like the author made a list of popular trends in ya fiction—gothic mansion! monster boy! beauty and the beast! hades and persephone! immortal dude with an unhealthy interest in a teenage girl!—without exploring any of those themes more deeply, so by the end it all felt very shallow. i received an arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. rating: 1/5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex (The Scribe Owl)

    See this review and more on my blog, The Scribe Owl! 4/5 stars Thank you to the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Lakesedge was one of my most anticipated books of 2021, and it was pretty good! I had extremely high expectations (sorry, but did you read that synopsis??), which inevitably lead to a little bit of disappointment. Despite that, it was a darkly atmospheric read and perfect for spooky season! I'm torn on the characters. Leta, our MC, had a surprisingly fun and refreshing See this review and more on my blog, The Scribe Owl! 4/5 stars Thank you to the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Lakesedge was one of my most anticipated books of 2021, and it was pretty good! I had extremely high expectations (sorry, but did you read that synopsis??), which inevitably lead to a little bit of disappointment. Despite that, it was a darkly atmospheric read and perfect for spooky season! I'm torn on the characters. Leta, our MC, had a surprisingly fun and refreshing sense of humor, but both she and the love interest, Rowan, had a bad case of one of the worst tropes--self-sacrifice. The world is being corrupted? I'll die to save it! My brother is dying? Take me instead! Your shoelace is untied? Here, let me fall on this knife to fix it! I loved what we saw of the worldbuilding, but I wish we knew more! There's something about religion and holidays--what about the rest of the world? There must be some kind of government because Rowan's a lord, so tell us more! What we know of the world is so interesting, I just wish there was a little bit more. The very best part of this book was how gothic it was. I LOVE this 2021 trend of gothic YA fantasy books, and it was by far the strongest aspect of Lakesedge! It was incredibly atmospheric and made up for most of the other flaws of the novel. I was not expecting a cliffhanger. I can normally deal with an end-of-book cliffhanger, but I wasn't prepared! For some reason, I thought that Lakesedge was a standalone, but as we neared the end with too much story and not enough pages I started to sweat. After that cliffhanger, you better believe I'm coming back for book two! All in all, Lakesedge had great elements and not-so-great elements, but the strong gothic atmosphere made up for everything else! --------------------------- 3/17/21 I still haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Look what the author posted on her Twitter!! "My debut gothic romance, LAKESEDGE, will emerge in 2021, full of: 🖤monster boys who gift you pretty dresses 🗝️secret gardens and bramble thorns 💀death gods who whisper your name in the dark 🕯️honey scented altar candles 🌑almost-kisses at midnight" I think I'm in love. 3/15/21 No joke, I NEED this.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish

    DNF at p46 I'm just not emotionally equipped to deal with this much second hand embarrassment - "The monster lets out a terse growl" This is a human shaped boy - "Then he looks down at my arms and goes quiet. My sleeves are rolled back, baring the bruises..." Not the she's injured and he's feral trope 3 chapters in - "...his rough breath stirring my hair." Is he a horse why is he breathing like that - "I gasp as he twists my hair into a knot and leans closer..." how and why is he doing that pls I can DNF at p46 I'm just not emotionally equipped to deal with this much second hand embarrassment - "The monster lets out a terse growl" This is a human shaped boy - "Then he looks down at my arms and goes quiet. My sleeves are rolled back, baring the bruises..." Not the she's injured and he's feral trope 3 chapters in - "...his rough breath stirring my hair." Is he a horse why is he breathing like that - "I gasp as he twists my hair into a knot and leans closer..." how and why is he doing that pls I cannot cope

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    The Lord Under has blessed me in allowing me to read an early version of this ... and y'all are NOT ready for what is coming! I am a puddle of emotion down aisle 3. This gave me major Crimson Peak vibes with monster boys, fierce girls, a troubling lake, and a dark magic that will literally devour whatever gets in its way. 2021 can't come soon enough! The Lord Under has blessed me in allowing me to read an early version of this ... and y'all are NOT ready for what is coming! I am a puddle of emotion down aisle 3. This gave me major Crimson Peak vibes with monster boys, fierce girls, a troubling lake, and a dark magic that will literally devour whatever gets in its way. 2021 can't come soon enough!

  19. 4 out of 5

    ash

    this book did a great effort to make me care, but i just didn't :// it is plain at best, rough and unpolished at worst. the gothic atmosphere is great on page, but to me it felt like gothic elements crudely glued together. the book itself felt like the author just wrote what tropes she wanted to happen, what lines she wanted the characters to say, so things are the way they are without any deeper explanation, and it made for a poor storytelling + rough transitions + disjointed writing. another pro this book did a great effort to make me care, but i just didn't :// it is plain at best, rough and unpolished at worst. the gothic atmosphere is great on page, but to me it felt like gothic elements crudely glued together. the book itself felt like the author just wrote what tropes she wanted to happen, what lines she wanted the characters to say, so things are the way they are without any deeper explanation, and it made for a poor storytelling + rough transitions + disjointed writing. another problem with this book is that the plot devices and characters are underutilized. they are not used to their full potential and so i did not feel the stakes + the conflict felt shallow to me. halfway through the book we get a major reveal from the main character, but what really put me off is that this is told in 1st person. so.. did she just suddenly remember this very important detail? and it was revealed in a manner that was so sudden, no build-up whatsoever. i also struggled to be immersed in the worldbuilding and didn't understand what exactly they were trying to do because the explanations and worldbuilding are so vague and the plot is repetitive. the protagonist is a perfectly ordinary YA main character, which would usually get 3 stars for me, but she's especially unbearable because she is even more foolish than other YA girls for the sake of moving the story. she is also the typical self-sacrificing main character and it was actually quite exhausting for me to be in her head. all the characters did not bring anything new to the table, and i am obviously disappointed with this book. personally, this book is just not for me and i'm giving it 2 stars (and not 1 star) because i feel like this could be something others would enjoy + it's not completely terrible!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elora Cook

    An amazing debut! I had the pleasure of reading an earlier version and it was the gothic romance I didn't know I needed. Lyndall's prose are exquisite and lure you in to keep reading more. I can't recommend this book enough for fans of Crimson Peak, gothic romance and fantastic storytelling. And now I get to read a newer version! An amazing debut! I had the pleasure of reading an earlier version and it was the gothic romance I didn't know I needed. Lyndall's prose are exquisite and lure you in to keep reading more. I can't recommend this book enough for fans of Crimson Peak, gothic romance and fantastic storytelling. And now I get to read a newer version!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of seeing this book grow, and I can’t wait to see it out in the Real World as a Real Book. Lyndall’s prose is magical, the setting is enchanting, and the characters are captivating. LAKESEDGE will stay with you long after you finish it! Edit: also, the kissing. I’m here for the kissing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    3 stars Cool concept, really loved the death lord angle. Annoyed as heck by the main character to the point where I wanted to skim…so, a mixed bag of thoughts here. Concept: ★★★★ Main character: ★ 1/2 Pacing: ★★★ Enjoyment: ★★★ Violeta Graceling and her brother, Arien, live in a wooded world filled with a mysterious blight. They live off of the long-suffering "goodness" of their adoptive mother, who works for the local villager as a painter for the village's important religious icons. It's a light v 3 stars Cool concept, really loved the death lord angle. Annoyed as heck by the main character to the point where I wanted to skim…so, a mixed bag of thoughts here. Concept: ★★★★ Main character: ★ 1/2 Pacing: ★★★ Enjoyment: ★★★ Violeta Graceling and her brother, Arien, live in a wooded world filled with a mysterious blight. They live off of the long-suffering "goodness" of their adoptive mother, who works for the local villager as a painter for the village's important religious icons. It's a light versus the darkness, goodness versus shadow demons type of religion... and to Violeta and Arien's horror, every night Arien wakes to shadows coating his body. Violeta knows that if Arien could just wish the shadows away, they could be safe. Harsh control is the only answer to Arien's issue...right? (Oh dear) One day in the village, Arien is caught with his shadows by the visiting lord from the nearby Lakesedge estate: Rowan Sylvanan. Rowan Sylvanan might be close to Violeta's age, but he's already a nightmare story that parents warn their children about at night. He killed his whole family, they say. He's filled with evil, they say. Rowan takes one look at Arien and his shadows and makes the decision to take Arien home with him. And because Violeta is fiercely protective of her brother, Rowan begrudgingly takes her too. But neither the estate nor Rowan are what they seem, and Violeta's going to have to face certain truths whether she's ready for them or not... Sometimes, it's not really the book's fault or the reader's fault when the reading experience is "meh." Sometimes it's just....the main character. And for Lakesedge, my issues all circle around one thing: Violeta herself. I thought this world was cool. I loved the gothic atmosphere, the mystique of the estate, the dark shadow magic at the core of the story. I thought the ending in particular was spectacular. But.... I can't give this more than 3 stars, because for the first half of the book (and frankly, ok, the rest of the book too) I couldn't stand Violeta. When you have a first-person narration with only one POV, a lot of the story rests on that one main character and whether the reader can get behind them and their actions. And I just could not do it. Violeta was stubborn to the point of dumbness, prejudiced to the point of fear mongering, and at the end of the day she was also... weirdly reactionary to her own story? (Except for the very, very end where my complaint turns into a spoiler: (view spoiler)[When Violeta finally gained agency, it was ONLY for the sake of her love for Rowan and in an effort to save her man. She was going to risk it all for herself and her brother for the sake of her romantic partner. Completely losing herself in him. While I have totally fallen for this trope in other books, it's true, this particular book rang false for me in that moment because... there wasn't enough depth to Rowan and Violeta's relationship to justify this move. Especially as Violeta didn't have much of spine before then, and then at this micro romance she flips the script? It was too much. (hide spoiler)] ) I'm not sure if all of that stands up outside of my own personal opinions, but that was how I felt. Oh well. Another case of "it's not you, book, it's me!" Blog | Instagram

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach

    Perfect book for spooky season! The writing was 5 star... her beautiful talent of description was fantastic. However, the story really dragged in parts for me and ultimately ended up being a 3 star for the story overall. Averaging together for a 4 star rating

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

    DNF 50% You don't know how much I wanted to like this. ... or be able to finish it, but no. Leta, our main character is annoying as hell, thinks she knows everything, makes many assumptions about everything and everyone. She also makes people feel uncomfortable because she's being rude and intrusive. Every time I thought she might go and do the right thing, she did something dumb. The romance felt forced. The only thing I liked were the "creepy" scenes, which weren't many. I think this is one of the bo DNF 50% You don't know how much I wanted to like this. ... or be able to finish it, but no. Leta, our main character is annoying as hell, thinks she knows everything, makes many assumptions about everything and everyone. She also makes people feel uncomfortable because she's being rude and intrusive. Every time I thought she might go and do the right thing, she did something dumb. The romance felt forced. The only thing I liked were the "creepy" scenes, which weren't many. I think this is one of the books with great potential, but poor execution.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rivka

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you for Macmillan & NetGalley for sending me the earc of this book! I wanted to love this book. I really really did. Unfortunately I didn’t. I liked it. But I didn’t love it I went into it because of the summary. Boy monster? Lord Under? Haunted house? What not to love? This book has everything I usually love: great siblings relationship, found family, broken characters who can only be saved by each other. But for some reason something just felt off First we have Leta and her brother, Arien b Thank you for Macmillan & NetGalley for sending me the earc of this book! I wanted to love this book. I really really did. Unfortunately I didn’t. I liked it. But I didn’t love it I went into it because of the summary. Boy monster? Lord Under? Haunted house? What not to love? This book has everything I usually love: great siblings relationship, found family, broken characters who can only be saved by each other. But for some reason something just felt off First we have Leta and her brother, Arien being “saved” by the monster lord from their mean and abusive step mother. I kind of felt like Arien and Rowan should have had a bit of a connection. Arien was the one Rowan thought he needed to destroy the Corruption but then Rowan just left Arien with the alchemist and completely forgot about him. Than we have Leta and Rowan. A girl who only even been loved by her brother and the boy who’s the reason his whole family is dead. I ended up liking their relationship but again something was just missing. It like I knew what I should feel by the end of the book but I wasn’t feeling it. Leta and the Lord Under on the other head definitely had my attention even though they had the least page time. I felt like the whole book was leading to Leta somehow finding her was back to the Lord Under who saved her when she was a little girl. I’m definitely a sucker for a devil and mortal girl story and this book wasn’t an exception. I loved how he was twisted and dark and would do anything to get what he needed. But I also feel like Leta can become so much more because of everything he did to her. Overall I definitely think this book could have been a standalone. There was enough time to finish the story. Instead we got an ending that just felt cut off and confusing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    cossette

    hm content warnings: emotional and physical abuse by a parent, body horror, gore and blood (including description of wounds), emesis, discussions of death and grief (no on-page deaths), descriptions of drowning and deep water, drowning-related imagery, self-injury (in the context of a curse that requires regular physical sacrifices), suicidal ideation, death of parents, death of a sibling

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stay Fetters

    "I’ve seen the darkness turn him into a monster. I’ve seen it fed and felt the endlessness of its hunger. And now I stand beneath its heart." What drew me to this story was the promise of a gothic fantasy romance with a cursed lake. Then the cover was released and I was in love. The cover is breathtaking and the more I looked at the cover, the more things I saw lurking in the dark. After you read the book, everything on the cover will make sense. It's perfect for this fantastical dark story. I fe "I’ve seen the darkness turn him into a monster. I’ve seen it fed and felt the endlessness of its hunger. And now I stand beneath its heart." What drew me to this story was the promise of a gothic fantasy romance with a cursed lake. Then the cover was released and I was in love. The cover is breathtaking and the more I looked at the cover, the more things I saw lurking in the dark. After you read the book, everything on the cover will make sense. It's perfect for this fantastical dark story. I feel as if an evilness lured me into the dark woods on the night of the full moon. Where we travel deeper into the darkness as things grow denser with spots of brightness from where the moon peeks through the trees. You hear things that go bump in the night as the evil lures you deeper into the woods. You make it to a lake and he clutches your soul in his hands. He plunges it deep into the icy water and brings out your now cold and black soul. After that, you know things will never be the same. This was so damn good. I couldn't put this down. It instantly pulled me into its clutches and never let me go. I was entranced by its dark beauty. The story was fantastic, the characters were amazing, and the tale that was told through these pages was one that you'll never forget. And you know how I love the bad boys. So let's talk about Rowan! He was a monstrous boy who was dreamy as hell. He has a dark past with some family issues but who doesn't!? His character was well-thought-out and looked damn good on paper. Lakesedge was absolutely amazing. This is part Secret Garden mixed with Crimson Peak with a dash of gothic fantasy romance. I don't have to say anything else because it'll have you hooked from page one. If I make one book recommendation this year, it's going to be this one!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Why do I read an ARC of a book, knowing full well that there will be more in the series? Now I have to wait until October 2022. OCTOBER 2022! I can't wait for that. I have all these emotions inside me bursting! I need the next book now. But in all seriousness. Pick up this book and read it. It is everything a gothic romance should be and more. I absolutely adored it. The atmosphere was spine chillingly addicting and lovely. The characters slowly poisoned my heart and I can't stop thinking about Why do I read an ARC of a book, knowing full well that there will be more in the series? Now I have to wait until October 2022. OCTOBER 2022! I can't wait for that. I have all these emotions inside me bursting! I need the next book now. But in all seriousness. Pick up this book and read it. It is everything a gothic romance should be and more. I absolutely adored it. The atmosphere was spine chillingly addicting and lovely. The characters slowly poisoned my heart and I can't stop thinking about them! That's all I can say without going into spoilers, so I am just gonna walk away.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lillie Lainoff

    Was lucky enough to read an early version of Lakesedge, and it is absolutely beautiful! Jane Eyre meets Persephone and myth with exquisite prose.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    A perfect blend of Gothic, horror, and romance, Lakesedge has a haunted atmosphere and ominous tone from the beginning. The story follows Violeta, a girl who will stop at nothing to protect her beloved younger brother Arien, who is plagued by nightmares and consumed by darkness and shadows. When the Monster of Lakesedge learns of Arien’s abilities, he comes for her brother and brings Arien and Violeta Lakesedge, the place where he supposedly murdered his entire family. But Rowan is not the monst A perfect blend of Gothic, horror, and romance, Lakesedge has a haunted atmosphere and ominous tone from the beginning. The story follows Violeta, a girl who will stop at nothing to protect her beloved younger brother Arien, who is plagued by nightmares and consumed by darkness and shadows. When the Monster of Lakesedge learns of Arien’s abilities, he comes for her brother and brings Arien and Violeta Lakesedge, the place where he supposedly murdered his entire family. But Rowan is not the monster he seems, and there are far more dangers at Lakesedge than Violeta ever imagined. The more Violeta learns about Lakesedge, its black lake, and the people who inhabit it, the more she realizes that she might be the key to saving her brother, Rowan, and the world from the darkness that threatens to swallow them all. However, Violeta and Rowan must first face the horrors of the present, the burdens of the past, and their connection to the Lord Under. Dark and atmospheric, this Gothic romance is all about the lengths people will go to protect the people they love. The bonds of siblings, the love of community, the deep friendships – all of these are worth saving, protecting, and fighting for. I love the characters, especially Violeta and Rowan. Selfless, brave, and burdened, Violeta and Rowan are more alike than they realize. Violeta and Rowan sacrificed so much when they made deals with the Lord Under as young children. Their decisions changed everything, and both have lived with the fear, shame, and guilt, as well as the never-ending need to make things right, for a long time. They are broken in many ways, yet they both show such strength, determination, and selflessness too. They are unbelievably well-layered characters. Their love story is also wonderful. An enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance, it is a gradual and lovely story. Both have such complicated lives that neither ever thought about finding love or happiness, but that’s often when it happens, which is the case for this couple. I like how they slowly learn to trust each other and how their bond strengthens throughout the story. Considering how dark and complicated their lives are, it’s lovely to see them find happiness with each other even though their relationship is riddled with obstacles. Their tender scenes offer hope and possibility in an otherwise bleak situation. The other characters are intriguing as well, though they are not as developed as Violeta and Rowan. I especially love the found family aspect of the book. While at Lakesedge, Violeta and Arien bond with Clover, an alchemist who trains them, and Florence, the caretaker. They are all outcasts in their own way, and yet together they are a strong and whole unit. I love that these characters found a home with each other and learned what it felt like to belong. This found family also offers hope and strength in the midst of darkness. The magical elements are intriguing and frightening in equal measure. The house, the lake, the blood sacrifices, Arien’s powers, the connection to the Lord Under (who is like the lord of the underworld), and the setting all contribute to the Gothic feel of the book. I’m also super intrigued by Lord Under, who is both frightening and seductive. I’m not sure how I feel about him. Do I hate him? Do I love him? I still don’t know, and the way the story ended made me so eager to find out more about this enigmatic character. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It’s dark and scary and romantic and fascinating and a great start to the World at the Lake’s Edge series. I think the book will appeal to readers who like dark YA Gothic romance with dynamic characters, vivid world-building, and a unique plot. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Lyndall Clipstone, and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

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