Tuesday 18 July 2023

Book Review: The Revels by Stacey Thomas (Historical Fantasy)

Title: The Revels
Author: Stacey Thomas
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 20 July 2023
Pages: 368
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: ARC via NetGalley

The stage is set and the witch-hunt is about to begin…

‘I am no witch. I have not sold my soul to the devil for powers. What I am has never openly been whispered of, yet it is enough that people would hang for it.’

England, 1645.
After his half-brother dies, aspiring playwright Nicholas Pearce is apprenticed to Judge William Percival, an infamous former witch-hunter who is under pressure to resume his old profession.

In a country torn apart by civil war, with escalating tensions between Catholics and Protestants, Royalists and Roundheads, and rumours of witchcraft, Nicholas hides a secret: the dead sing. He hears their secrets, but will he find the courage to speak up to save innocent lives, even if it means putting himself in great danger?

The Revels was a book with an interesting premise set in a little-used time period for historical fantasy fiction. The author clearly researched well and the era was nicely presented throughout with no glaring anachronisms. I enjoyed the story, but I also felt a bit more removed from it than I would have liked. I found it hard to connect with the characters on a deeper level and never felt particularly caught up in or concerned about their plights. In particular, I would have liked to have delved deeper into Nicholas' gift, other than just having the lyrics of the songs he hears. But there was already a lot going on in this book as it was, so perhaps that would have weighed it down too much. Overall, this is a book I enjoyed and am happy to have read, but it's not one I would rave about. As such, I am giving it 3.5 stars. It's certainly worth picking up if you like historical fantasy that offers a fresh twist and subtle, atmospheric tales of witchcraft.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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