Monday 5 June 2023

Review: A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. She’s had no choice. Since childhood, she’s been haunted by visions of the Fairy King. She’s found solace only in the pages of Angharad - author Emrys Myrddin’s beloved epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, and then destroys him.

Effy’s tattered, dog-eared copy is all that’s keeping her afloat through her stifling first term at Llyr’s prestigious architecture college. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to design the late author’s house, Effy fells certain this is her destiny.

But Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task: a musty, decrepit estate on the brink of crumbling into a hungry sea. And when Effy arrives, she finds she isn’t the only one who’s made a temporary home there. Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar, is studying Myrddin’s papers and is determined to prove her favorite author is a fraud.

As the two rival students investigate the reclusive author’s legacy, piecing together clues through his letters, books, and diaries, they discover that the house’s foundation isn’t the only thing that can’t be trusted. There are dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspiring against them - and the truth may bring them both to ruin.

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📌 Disclaimer: I received an e-arc for review from the publisher 
📌 Publication date: 19/09/2023 

This is the third book by Ava Reid I've read and it's another great one. All her books are different but the one thing they have in common is how atmospheric they are. 

A Study in Drowning is dark academia excellence. It's got gloomy weather, a decrepit manor, a mystery, winter fashion, coffee, and of course academic rivals to lovers. 

The story is about Effy, the only girl in an architecture college, who secretly longs to be a literature student. However, she is unable to pursue her dream due to them only accepting males. She is barely getting by, but then just when things truly start looking glum she gets accepted to design her favourite late author's manor. There she meets literature student and rival, Preston.

Once Effy arrives at the manor, which is creepy and unsettling, nothing is as it seems. There is a story within a story, and a mystery that forces her to team up with Preston to figure out.  

Reid's female main characters are always compelling and nuanced. With Effy we have a young lady who is trying to find her voice after being surrounded by people telling her she is delusional.

I would describe the romance between Effy and Preston as sweet and soft, which if I'm honest, is not usually my cup of tea. However, this was so good! If that doesn't sway you, let me tell you this - if you're a fan of a certain scene in Holly Black's, The Cruel Prince, involving the love interest writing the main character's name over and over again. You may or may not find the same here. Just saying.

You can't say Ava Reid's books are typical or cliche, she always comes out with something new. 


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