Review: Court of Blood and Bindings by Lisette Marshall





They call him the Silent Death, because he kills without sound and leaves none capable of speaking in his wake…

When the empire’s deadliest fae murderer catches her wielding forbidden magic, twenty-year-old Emelin believes her hour has come. Instead, her inhumanly beautiful captor spares her life, but carries her off on his velvet wings – into the one place from which no human ever returns.

The heart of the Fae Isles. The treacherous Crimson Court, where the Mother of faekind has ruled unchallenged over fae and humans for decades.

The Silent Death is supposed to be the Mother’s loyal servant, her invincible warrior, her ruthless, soulless killer. But in the shadows he is playing a game of his own, and he needs Emelin’s magic to win it.

If she agrees to work with him, she could free all of humanity. But can she trust a fae male with so much blood on his hands? Worse, when his smoldering dark eyes and dangerous secrets reveal glimpses of the heart behind his murderer’s mask… can she trust herself?


Reviewed by Dakota Watson

Overall, Court of Blood and Bindings by Lisette Marshall was an enjoyable book. While the plot didn’t break new ground or leave me awestruck, there was an undeniable charm to the story that kept me engaged from start to finish.

The slow start and somewhat lacking world building left me longing for a more comprehensive understanding of the universe Marshall had crafted. However, amidst these initial hurdles, there were elements that shone brightly. Lisette’s prose, possessed a certain elegance that beautifully captured the inner turmoil of the characters as they navigated their tumultuous emotional landscapes. It was in these moments of introspection and conflict that Marshall’s writing truly came alive.

One aspect that left me wishing for more was the singular perspective offered in the narrative. While the Emelin’s viewpoint was engaging, I couldn’t help but feel that the story could have benefited from Creon’s perspective, offering deeper insights into the world and emotions. Another was the lack of scenes of Crimson Court and it’s political machinations weaved into the story. Given it’s brutal history I personally would have oved to learn more about it. Despite these shortcomings, credit must be given where it’s due. The unique magic system, particularly the vividly described color drawing magic of the fae and the diverse array of magical abilities possessed by other fantastical beings, was a highlight of the book. Additionally, the tantalizing snippets of the world’s backstory left me intrigued and hungry for more.

My initial impression of Emelin was less than favorable. She came across as a character lacking in assertiveness, almost bordering on meekness, with little individuality to distinguish her. Her constant need for validation from Creon grated on my nerves, and her actions in the beginning felt foolish and naive. However once she was abducted suddendly she transformed into a different person entirely – argumentative, defiant, and stubborn. This abrupt change felt out of character for Emelin and left me feeling confused and frustrated, longing for a more gradual development of these traits within her character. It would have been far more satisfying to witness Emelin’s growth over time, rather than having her personality undergo such a sudden and jarring transformation in a mere matter of seconds. Despite my initial reservations, as the story progressed, I found myself slowly warming up to Emelin. Her journey of self discovery and resilience in the face of adversity began to resonate with me, and I couldn’t help but root for her as she navigated the challenges thrown her way.

Creon was just… perfect (chef’s kiss). What made Creon truly intriguing was his inability to speak. This added layer of complexity made him all the more compelling, forcing him to communicate through actions rather than words. It was a subtle detail, but one that enhanced his character tenfold. From the start, I found myself rooting for Creon. Despite his morally grey tendencies, there was an undeniable allure to his rationality, cunning, and considerate nature. He was a character who didn’t rush into things, preferring to weigh his options carefully before making a move. This level headed approach to life added depth to his character, making him feel all the more real. But what truly endeared Creon to me was his hidden heart of gold. Beneath his aloof exterior lay a man with a sense of compassion and integrity, traits that endeared him to both the other characters and to me as a reader. It was this juxtaposition of strength and vulnerability that made Creon such a memorable and beloved character.

One aspect of Court of Blood and Bindings that truly stood out to me was the delicate balance of spice and romance woven into the narrative. Lisette’s approach to the romantic elements of the story was refreshingly nuanced and well paced. I appreciated her decision not to rush the characters into physical intimacy from the onset. Instead, she took the time to develop the emotional connection between Emelin and Creon, allowing their relationship to unfold naturally as the story progressed. This slow burn approach added depth and authenticity to their bond, making their eventual romantic involvement all the more satisfying.

What I found particularly compelling was Emelin’s journey of self discovery within the context of her budding relationship with Creon. As she came to understand the physical attraction between them, she also delved deeper into the emotional connection they shared, allowing herself to be vulnerable and open to love. While the romance between Emelin and Creon may have developed relatively quickly, it felt organic within the context of the story’s timeframe. Lisette skillfully balanced the whirlwind nature of their romance with the overall pacing of the narrative, ensuring that their love story felt both believable and heartfelt.

Overall, I would recommend Court of Blood and Binding to anyone in search of a captivating and cozy fantasy read that leaves you craving more. With its blend of magic, intrigue, and romance, it’s a book that’s sure to leave a lasting impression and keep you eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the saga.

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