Review: What Lies Beyond the Veil by Harper L. Woods





Once, we’d worshipped them as Gods.

For nearly 400 years, the Veil has protected us from the Fae of Alfheimr. In their absence, our lives have shifted from decadence and sin to survival and virtue under the guidance of the New Gods. I’ve spent my entire life tending to the gardens next to the boundary between our worlds, drawn to the shimmering magic like a moth to the flame.

Then, we died on their swords.

All of that changes the day the Veil shatters, unleashing the fae upon our world once again. The magic of faerie marks those of us they mean to take, but the Mist Guard protecting Nothrek will kill us all before they let the fae have us. There’s no choice but to flee everything I’ve ever known, not if I want to live to see my twenty-first birthday as a free woman.

Now, they’ll claim what’s theirs.

But before they capture me, Caelum saves me from the Wild Hunt. Fae-marked and on the run, he is able to fight back in ways I only dream of. From tentative alliance to all-consuming passion, our bond strengthens as the fae close in and evil lurks ever nearer. With my life on the line, he is everything I shouldn’t dare to want and a distraction I can’t afford. I can’t seem to stay away, not even with something greater on the line.

My heart.


Reviewed by Dakota Watson

What Lies Beyond The Veil by Harper Woods definitely falls under dark fantasy romance genre. This book is perfect for fans who likes to see the villain gets the girl. Although this book has it’s own allure with it’s domineering male protagonist and blush worthy spicy scenes I have to admit the story progression was extremely slow with no discernable plot. Even the “plot twist”, for the lack of a better word, was glaringly obvious from the beginning.

However, Harper brilliantly has weaved the world building with a great pantheon of old gods and new gods that came after their fall and the patriarchal doctrine of the religion that sprang from new gods. The lore, the social hierarchies, the impact a partial and restrictive religion has on its’ followers, the separation of fae and human realms, the erection of The Veil and the origin stories behind the history was explained beautifully. However I did not appreciate her brief deviations toward Greek and Norse mythology because I felt she could have replaced those with her own elements as it was obvious she is a talented and creative thinker.

The world Estella, the female protagonist, lives in is deeply repressive and abusive toward women as a result of the strict religion of new gods which dictates all women must be subservient to men and be virtuous at all times that leads to brutal disciplining if they stepped out of line. Given that the doctrine was extremely patriarchal, obviously the men were not under any scrutiny.

However I was really torn about Estella’s character building. She hailed from poverty, subjected to various brutal forms of punishment and disciplining because of her rebellious streak and had endured numerous traumas since she was a child. On top of that, unbeknownst to her, the Lord of Mistfell (her village) was grooming her to be his wife from a very young age. This would have been a female protagonist that I usually would have died to root for. By no way Harper is a bad writer. Her prose was beautiful. However, even with all that on Estella’s plate Harper failed to ellicit any sort of emotional connection from me toward Estella. I understand she wanted to show Estella as independent, a free thinker and strong despite everything she had been subjected to. What she came across as, for me, was reckless. For a writer who did an amazing job building a beautiful world, Harper’s vague and short descriptions of Estella’s woes and misfortunes was a great disappointment.

On the other hand, the male protagonist, Caelum’s character was portrayed exquisitely. He was a worthy candidate for dark romance morally grey men. Despite his over possessiveness and the huge exhibitionism kink, he was loyal to his mate and was willing to go to any lengths to prove himself to her. Compared to Estella, his origin story was explained well that would let the readers relate and sympathize for him.

Breaking the book down into portions, the first one third was fast moving, filled with action and intrigue. The middle was entirely dedicated to relationship building and physical intimacy between the main characters with barely anything else going on which became somewhat stagnant. The ending portion was executed brilliantly though. The arrival of the villain and the big revelation. Call me twisted, (minor spoiler ahead), the scene where Caldris finally appears, thrusts his hand into a man’s chest ripping his heart out while it’s still pumping blood all the while looking at Estella was swoon worthy.

What Lies Beyond the Veil by no means is a bad book. It has it’s fair share of pros and cons. It just needed a touch of better execution and a plot that readers can understand what they are in for. I am already reading the second installment of the book so I am happy to announce, although slow moving, the story gets better and the plot thickens.

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