I have been tempted by a few ARCs lately however, I jumped at the chance to read a debut laced with magic, dragons and lots and lots of mystery. With plenty of Harry Potter vibes, Anna M. Tusk’s A Reverie Tale was definitely not one to disappoint.
THANK YOU TO ANNA M. TUSK AND CRANTHORPE MILLNER PR FOR AN UNPUBLISHED PROOF OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. PLEASE NOTE THAT MY POSTS CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS
Sixteen-year-old Lilly-Anne is not supposed to ask about her parents. An outsider to her peers, she lives a quiet life with her Uncle Bill and his wife, Lynne. Hoping for a fresh start at a new college, little does she know that her future lies beyond Earth, and Lilly soon finds herself thrown into a completely different world, or rather, many worlds, all ruled by Fate, an omniscient power who predetermines human life. Or at least, that’s what the Authority says.
Attempting to understand the otherworlds, Lilly tiptoes the line of lawbreaking, seeking answers to her heritage. But her questions only multiply as she discovers that both her past and the mysterious events around her may hold the key to what Fate has planned.
A Reverie Tale is a story of friendship, belonging, and a battle for free will against the most powerful of adversaries
Our MC and relationships
Our MC has the typical mysterious backstory setup. Lilly-Anne doesn’t know her parents and knows nothing about her life before her present day – only what her Uncle Bill has told her. As far as Lilly-Anne is concerned, both her parents died from carbon monoxide poisoning and she was taken in by her Uncle, much to his new wife’s annoyance. There is plenty of foreshadowing and little ‘easter eggs’ throughout the book which give you hints towards Lilly-Anne’s lineage but nothing is forthcoming in book one. We are yet to get to the bottom of that just yet!
There were occasions that I felt further development was needed in some of the relationships with our MC. Lilly-Anne feels quite aloof and stand-offish at times which made some of the relationships feel clunky or forced and I didn’t particularly feel invested in many of them. As the story develops, the main relationships that Lilly-Anne has within her circle build. You start to see the blossoming of strong camaraderie.
As you all know, I love a good romantasy book so the Grim brothers were two characters I was invested in very early on. Both Brothers are shrouded in mystery. Mate, the youngest, is bullied for being odd. With a sickly pallor and an unpleasant demeanour, many do not associate with him. Alternatively, his brother Alastair appears to be the high-flyer with quite the temper. Lilly-Anne hates Alastair for no other reason than he makes her extremely uncomfortable, yet there is a draw. Although we don’t learn much about either Grim brother throughout this story – there is one rather juicy easter egg dropped at the very end of book one which I cannot wait to see unfold in book two!
Magic System & World-building
As I’ve already mentioned, this storys’ world building is largely influenced by Harry Potter. This is echoed from the mysterious letter our MC receives all through to the school, houses, dorms and even the common room setting. We have character relationships which also exhibit some similarities – Fellblue for example gave me Albus Dumbledore vibes – albeit short lived. As someone who grew up with Harry Potter and adored it, I did find this a little difficult to wrap my head around and separate the two worlds, however, as the story progresses it clearly carves out its own path.
I loved the epilogue. As an opening chapter, this was really strong and laid some great groundwork on Fate & Hate. Anna M. Tusk has done a fabulous job of setting up the reader with the notion of Fate & Hate and then weaving this throughout the book in a clever and subtle manner.
Tusk does not shy away from the comparison of religion, faith and fate. This intertwining of faith and religion felt like a very clear parallel to the modern day view. Taking the notion of Fate & Hate in these worlds, and looking at them with a religious lens from various angles, is fascinating. Tusk examines a variety of difficult and divisive viewpoints, including those that cast doubt on fate, her existence, and even our MCs existence. The fact that, contrary to popular belief, there are numerous grey areas which can be considered when discussing the concept of fate and how this is linked to faith and religion; it begins to touch on how many feel fate is predetermined and others feel they can influence it. Tusk strips this down into a more condensed but still complex version of the same discussion.
You’ll always have those who are vehement believers, those ‘non believers’ and those that question, but what Tusk has done is highlight that there is a level of ambiguity when it comes to fate. This enables individuals to extend their faith to what ultimately, gives them a sense of belonging in the world. And that’s all we are really after. This part of the story was very well written; it doesn’t go overboard but instead allows you to see the tangled ball and begin to unravel it. But only a little.
Despite the lull in the story mid-way through, things picked up tempo towards the ending. You are left on the typical cliffhanger, leaving you with more questions than answers. For a debut, this definitely gets you thinking and wanting to learn more about the otherworlds. This was a great read and I think the series is going to be one to watch!
Rating: ★★★/5 stars
As always, happy reading!