As a teaser for a future series, or to get me to read more of April White’s books, this succeeds. As a standalone, I have some issues with it. However, the author earned brownie points from me for giving an afterward that gave the historical record.
Let me start with my bias: I’m not fond of novellas generally, and this one is representative of why. I like what is there quite a bit. Ren, the protagonist, is a woman you want to know more about. The author does a stunning job of adapting known facts about Edgar Allan Poe into this time travel book and the prose is well paced and easy to fall into.
What gives me problems is that it feels like so much is missing,. Perhaps this novella is meant more for readers who have already invested in the prior Immortal Descendants series, in which case many of the unexplained background may be obvious to those readers. But as someone new to the world, there isn’t enough world building. And even then, that background wouldn’t help me understand the murky motivations of the prime villain of the piece–or maybe it would.
The other issue for me is that everything happens too quickly. Characters change their stances too fast and believe the magical parts of the magical realism novel much too quickly. The plot is resolved almost instantaneously, which left me with a “Wait, did I miss something?” feeling.
This feels like it could have been a novel with a little more fleshing out, but it does its job well as an ad, because I know I’m going to read more of the series.