Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way and the thoughts expressed are my own.
Warning: Due to the graphic scene(s) I would advise against this for young adult readers.
An Australian academic travels to Venice and becomes involved with hunting a fanatical serial killer and uncovers the ancient truth of Atlantis. Penelope has always believed in Atlantis – regardless of what her colleagues think – and is willing to uncover the truth, no matter the cost. Meanwhile, Alexis has spent hundreds of years hiding the existence of Atlantis and magic but a serial killer’s public rituals risks exposing the truth. Now the two are forced to work together to save Venice itself.
I loved exploring the city of Venice, especially from the perspective of an Australian academic. Venice is a beautiful city with an ancient culture and this novel was good at showing this. Carnevale was epic and sounded like one of the biggest parties in the world, full of life and spirit. Plus, I knew plenty of the Australian places Penelope spoke of, which was a lot of fun.
While the blurb made me think this was going to be an urban fantasy hunting a serial killer (and at times it was) this novel was more focused on the romance between Penelope and Alexis. Their relationship was mildly interesting, but I am in no way a romance fan, I always find it slows down the story, and that I exactly my problem with this novel. You’d think hunting a serial killer would be their main focus with them attempting to catch him as fast as possible. However, they spend most of their time discussing Atlantis – and I can understand Penelope’s curiosity as an academic – or in their secret library instead of dealing with the impending threat. You only really deal with the serial killer in the beginning and at the end.
I did enjoy the magic and how each magician’s magic smelled differently. The scenes of Atlantis flashbacks were interesting, and the story of Atlantis’ fall may have made a good book or novella on its’ own. Plus, the small crew of magicians were entertaining, though both the interactions and flashbacks greatly slowed down the pace. Each magician clearly imbodied a specific personality type and each of their actions expressed this. From your spoiled, tempestuous princess, to your charming playboy and the brooding love interest.
The climax was fine, some parts were obvious from the clear foreshadowing while some elements were a surprise. Overall, I found it alright, though I believe my dislike of romance makes me the wrong audience for this novel. I give it 3/5.