Series: n/a

Genre: Fantasy, Gothic Fantasy

Age: YA


Eldridge Hall was a castle built on lies.

Last year I had the absolute pleasure of reading The Poison Season!

Thank you to Inkyard Press and Mara for a copy of this arc!

This book is for you if you like:

🌹 gothic
🌹 edgar allen poe
🌹 fantasy
🌹 low-romance books
🌹 mysteries
🌹 dark atmosphere
🌹 things that go bump in the night

First off, I loved the incorporation of Jews, and Jewish history into this book. When we talk about history and Jewish people we often think of the Holocaust, however, that wasn’t the only time Jews were persecuted; it was as common in the Roman Period as it was in the Middle Ages even as it is (unfortunately) today. As Mara notes in her “A Letter from the Author”,

I also discovered how Jews were historically blamed for many of them, and how they were slaughtered in pogroms as scapegoats.

While this book is a gothic fantasy, there are darker themes at play here, such as the pogroms mentioned in the book. There isn’t gore in this book, but it is dark in the sense of what is happening.

Mara pulls from gothic traditions – manors and halls where not everything is as it seems. And yet, there is also the incorporation of the fantasy elements as well. There are monsters in this book zombie/vampire zompire things as well.

More gothic traditions are the omens — the little songs the characters sing. The lack of birdsong, the dark woods etc. You can see how Poe and previous gothic writers have inspired her, because these elements were incorporated smoothly.

There was also the mystery aspects in this book, kind of like a locked room mystery, which I love. The way the characters are laid out, you don’t know who to trust, except for our two main characters Nico and Seraphina and their helpers — sidekicks? — who are the ones the book focuses on.

There is quite a bit of action in this book, and not a whole lot of downtime. We swing from one arc to the next very smoothly, everything tied together.

The theme of lies and beauty is a theme in this book, which I loved. It helped add to the feel of the book for me. Mara’s aesthetic and atmosphere is on point in this book. I literally had chills while I was reading some of it. It made me shiver. This book was everything gothic that I love.

It is going to be a perfect spooky, fall read. Imagine yourself curled up in a chair with a book, a cup of tea and some rain falling and you will not want to stop reading this book.

One last thing, there are some amazing lines in this book, and I’ve picked a few here for my review that aren’t too spoiler-y, but you will be highlighting and marking so many on your read. (At least until you get so into the book you forget what you’re doing, like me.)

And that was the most beautiful lie of all.