Reviews

Lakesedge, by Lyndall Clipstone

readwgauri's review

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1.0

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

amb's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

The vibes were everything I would want from a dark fantasy, but nothing really felt fleshed out. Character relationships especially felt really rushed, and it made it hard to care about the stakes.

kenny527's review against another edition

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adventurous dark funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Loveable characters? Yes

3.75

zzrozi's review

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dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

madiemartin's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense fast-paced

3.75

crystalsea24's review

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dark emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

 The description, cover, and title combination for Lakesedge caught my attention right away, and I was glad to be granted an advanced copy. The story itself pulled me in right away, with intriguing world building and a strong older sister fighting to keep her younger brother safe in an abusive environment. The magic/ religious system in the story is interesting and cohesive, and the world as described seemed welcoming and pleasant. Well, mostly. At first. Then the magic really started. And the romance. And the drama. And the impulsive and often self-destructive decisions. 
Violetta is extremely self-sacrificing when it comes to protecting her loved ones, and not good at caring for herself at all. The more you get to understand the trauma she has been through, the more her behavior makes sense, but it still gets a little tiresome after awhile. I felt like this was very YA, with maximum angst, both familial and romantic. There’s also some sort of love triangle, and the story ends on a cliffhanger. I keep forgetting that “lush” as a book descriptor means all the purple prose describing everything, and while this book wasn’t terrible, I got a little tired of hearing about how everything tastes like ash or burned sugar or poison or whatever, and how there were strings tied from / tightening her heart, etc. And this is very much my own preference, but some of the things these characters, especially Leta, went through, and the losses they endured, just felt like too much. I could see how the writing is gothic fantasy bordering on horror. 
I did love the LGBTQ+ rep, as multiple supporting characters had same sex preferences or were bi/pan, and Leta appeared to be demisexual. And while this is wholly a fantasy setting, and Violetta and her brother are fair skinned and red headed, there’s also a fair amount of supporting characters who are described as having darker skin, curly hair, etc. Also, women have a lot of agency in this story, and while most of the people with leadership roles in the story (lords, village leaders, etc) were male, several of the female characters filled important professional roles and all the women were treated with respect. (The characters definitely existed on a gender binary, and there was no non-binary representation that I can remember. 
Overall this was an enjoyable, if sometimes slightly redundant and slow read. I finished it in a few days around the autumn holidays. While I’m not sure I’ll bother reading the sequel, I nevertheless appreciate #NetGalley and Macmillan granting me a free electronic advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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thecabinetofcuriosity's review

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5.0

Things to know:

-Gothic Fantasy (Crimson Peak Vibes!!)
-Slow burn Romance


Synopsis:

When Violeta Graceling and her younger brother Arien arrive at the haunted Lakesedge estate, they expect to find a monster. Leta 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. 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… 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.

Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

I really enjoyed this dark gothic fantasy romance. The slow burn romance was so satisfying. I was so invested in their story. I felt like I was cheering on a friend for their happiness! This was a wonderful fall read. Leta the main character is such a strong young woman. Anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for strong female led books!

I can’t wait to see where the second book takes us. I want it now! I will absolutely be preordering the second book when it is time. I would totally recommend this book to others, especially those who liked the movie Crimson Peak. It started out a little slow but it was important for the plot. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ from me!

samanthapearl's review

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3.0

Thank you to the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

This was not an enjoyable book for me. It's not that the writing was bad or anything, the story just wasn't something that gripped my attention. I found this to be just another average fantasy book with over used troupes. I didn't connect with any of the characters and by the end I didn't care about what happened to them or how the story ended. There was absolutely no connection between the story and I at all.

If you enjoy stories where the boy meets girl and everyone's lives change then this is probably something you'll enjoy. Like I said, it's not a bad book it's just not for me.

readingwithfrances's review

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4.0

"Violeta. My violet in the woods."

Can I just say...

THE LORD UNDER PLEASE CAPTURE ME AND TAKE ME BELOW TO YOUR CASTLE TOO.

Anyway, I had super high expectations for this book and waited SO LONG to get it and I'm glad I can say that I enjoyed Lakesedge.

Was it my most favorite book ever? Not really. Did it keep me hooked all the way through? Also, not really. Did it have characters that I loved and connected with? No.

Did I enjoy the vibes and the whole setting of the story? Yes.

I found our lead protagonist, Violeta (or Leta) to be slightly annoying at times and fell into the "I'm the only person who can save everyone but I have to do it alone" and "im not like the other girls" tropes.

Rowan gave me Edward Cullen vibes and I'm not sure how to feel about that.

kari_f's review against another edition

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2.5


I had some fairly high hopes for this book. The cover is fabulously gorgeous, the gothic vibe seemed like it would be on point, and the description sounded like it would be along the lines of a Naomi Novik sort of story that felt a bit Beauty and the Beast-ish. Why the book actually delivers though, was none of these things.

The gothic elements felt shallow in this book… so instead of atmospheric creepiness, I feel like we got a very elementary, almost Disney-fied cartoon version of “gothic.” The characters felt shallow as well, with the protagonist being very whiny and the side characters not having much depth. For a first-person narrated story, we didn’t get much depth even in the main character. Her thoughts and actions and even jokes are repetitive.

Much of this is in the writing style, I think, because the reader is told what is happening instead of shown what is happening.

There was an aspect of the book that bothered me… I am all for representation in literature, but it’s upsetting when diversity seems thrown in to be on trend instead of to give us deep stories with a variety of different types of people in them. The LGBTQIA+ representation in this book felt just like this…the mentions felt odd and out of place rather than genuine, which has me questioning the intent in including it.

This feels like a negative review so I do want to mention some aspects I enjoyed! There were a few little twists that I didn’t see coming, and I liked seeing where some of these led. I loved some of the side characters! (Though I wish we’d gotten more depth to them. Florence deserved better!) 

Overall, I was disappointed. I may read another book by the author in the future, but not anything in this series.