Daughter of Mystery is a fantastic read that’s an excellent balance between romantic tension, the struggles of navigating balls, young women running off to university, saintly magic, court intrigue, newfound enemies, and more. I highly recommend this book.
I didn’t know I needed a queer historical fantasy of manners with women becoming academics!
The setting had a definite sense of weight and depth to it, and the politics was intriguing, if occasionally confusing. I was fascinated with the way religion and magic seemed to be intertwined, even as I worried that Margerit was happily and blindly heading towards being declared a heretic. ... I really enjoyed Daughter of Mystery and am looking forward to reading the next book.
Heather has done a really great job of taking what we think we know about the world and beginning to crack it open a bit.... This is the book where the series truly comes into its own.
Following in the tradition of Ellen Kushner is Heather Rose Jones, whose Alpennia series takes a similarly alternative/fantastical 19th-century Europe and populates it with queer characters.
The Mystic Marriage has such court politics and machinations it's like a Ruritanian Game of Thrones.
What I enjoyed the most were those four protagonists, each on with agency, each one with a purpose in life, who do not necessarily begin as friends, but who all know each other due to this also being a novel of manners, thus family and social connections are not only plot points but help define characters strengths, weaknesses and growth.
The characters! The worldbuilding! The derring-do! The alchemy! The interesting magic system! The romance! (Neither sappy nor over-eroticized, bless you Ms. Jones.) Even the Alpennian language was well-thought-out! I DREW FAN ART, OKAY? ... If you’ve ever enjoyed Austen or Heyer or Susanna Clarke stop reading this blog and go buy the first one right now.
Political intrigue, romance, and the challenges of Antuniet's alchemical research all intertwine to make an absorbing story.
It did take me awhile to submerge into this world (possibly because of skipping to book 2) but once in and having got the characters clear in my head the novel had a a nice sense of intrigue and some moments of genuine tension.