Before I get to the review, a quick housekeeping note. I’ve returned to university and am now working on a Ph.D. As such, the time I can give to reading fiction (my favorite thing) is sadly constricted. It will likely take me a little while to find my feet and my new normal. But at the moment, I’m experimenting with reading and reviewing series instead of individual books. (I even made a whole post asking for omnibus recommendations.) This makes for longer posts a lot of the time but also allows for more time between postings. But I also acknowledge that I don’t usually tend to be quite as detailed when I’m reviewing several books together. So, I may not stick with it. But for now, expect series reviews more often than individual book reviews.
OK, on to the review.
I initially saw A.J. Lancaster‘s Stariel Quartet recommended on Tiktok. It was on my radar. So, when I saw book one, The Lord of Stariel, come up as a Kindle Freebie, I nabbed it. Then I bought the rest of the series (The Prince of Secrets, The Court of Mortals, The King of Faerie, and A Rake of His Own) one by one as I finished each preceding book.
The Lord of Stariel is dead. Long live the Lord of Stariel. Whoever that is.
Everyone knows who the magical estate will choose for its next ruler. Or do they?
Will it be the lord’s eldest son, who he despised?
His favourite nephew, with the strongest magical land-sense?
His scandalous daughter, who ran away from home years ago to study illusion?
Hetta knows it won’t be her, and she’s glad of it. Returning home for her father’s funeral, all Hetta has to do is survive the family drama and avoid entanglements with irritatingly attractive local men until the Choosing. Then she can leave.
But whoever Stariel chooses will have bigger problems than eccentric relatives to deal with.
Winged, beautifully deadly problems.
For the first time in centuries, the fae are returning to the Mortal Realm, and only the Lord of Stariel can keep the estate safe.
I binged these books, reading them back to back with nary a breath between. So, I’m just going to go ahead and review them the same way. In a sentence, I adored this series. I will 100% be looking for more of Lancaster’s work.
I love a practical heroine, and Hetta is eminently practical. She’s also strong, loyal, brave, and witty. In fact, the whole cast (and the narrative itself) has a dry, witty character to it that I enjoyed. It startled more than one laugh out of me. I think it’s the narrative tone that I liked most about the books.
I also can’t tell you how much I loved the characters. Even the ones that I didn’t initially care for, such as Jack, I came to like in the end. (And the bonus book about Marius and Rake was a joy.) Family is important to each of them in their own way, and the reader feels this. I’d like to see a few other side characters get their happily-ever-afters.
The mystery was a little easy to predict, the villain overcome a tad too easily, and the pacing is a little off at times. But overall, I’m not sad to have read the series. In fact, I’ll miss it now that I’m finished.