Just as a I did for Frederica by Georgette Heyer, I wanted to write a book response for it. If you're wondering, a book response is a very casual book review (to me, anyway). There's nothing particularly in-depth about this response; I'm only commenting on the stories and poems I liked. There were a few I didn't enjoy, and I didn't feel like bothering with criticism or outlining why I didn't like them. So without further ado, let's dive in!
'Matriculation' by Elle Katharine White - this is a cyberpunk-esque, magic-meets-science, urban fantasy. The featured dragon is a mechanical marvel of invention, responding to code-like commands swiped onto its touchscreen-like control panel. There's also a charming gargoyle, a magical university with vaguely threatening undertones, vampires who are surprisingly kind for how mercenary they are, blood as currency, and themes of grief and loss and sacrifice throughout. I was immediately hooked, and I'd love an expansion into this world, as it closed on a bittersweet cliffhanger.
This book brought me unexpected joy! I love period and Regency romances, and having exhausted Austen and the Bronte sisters’ works, I’ve been slowly making my way through Georgette Heyer.
Most of her work is fluffy and fun but not quite ...hm, engaging? But Frederica was a romp, a delight, and emotionally engaging!
Featuring a sarcastic Marquis almost fatally bored with life who enjoys teasing (read: annoying and subverting the demands of) his avaricious sisters, the titular heroine who manages her siblings with spunk and humorous frankness, absolutely hilarious and endearing little brothers, and a very beautiful if vapid (but still sweet!) younger sister who falls for a Regency himbo.
The relationship is a slow burn where the main couple develop a friendship first, and they just so genuinely like each other that it doesn't actually feel like a burn. The Marquis undergoes a wonderful, accidental development as a person, quite literally despite himself. He genuinely can't help but be charmed by Frederica and her siblings. I'd say Frederica reminds me of Anne Elliot if she had a nicer family and Elizabeth Bennet's liveliness.
It's a little slow in its first couple of chapters before it amiably sweeps you along. Every single character was either delightful or amusing, and I loved the sarcasm and teasing and characters saying what they absolutely don't mean half the time.
I also loved the misadventures of the siblings and the crotchety aunt who is supposed to be minding them in London and even the valets and butlers and people they encounter on the street! Literally every single minor character was pretty well fleshed out enough to feel real and also be fun to read about. 10/10 would read again.
I hope it gets made into a film or miniseries, I think it would do great! I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you enjoy Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion (my two fave Austen novels)!
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