Season of Mists
Corkill’s debut novel, set in 1888 London, reads as the first in a series about young Justine Holloway, an orphan taken in by her godparents who, unbeknownst to her, are part of an elite society guarding the gateway between our world and the world of magical folk called the Varius. Justine’s jarring journey from impoverished orphan to a life of privilege is the extent of a character arc we’re afforded, with the character reading as a Gothic, milquetoast heroine, a foil to her far more interesting lady’s maid.
The paranormal world, which features a parallel universe of vampires, werewolves, and immortal beings, is an interesting premise, but the shifts within the story are choppy, and the world-building of Victorian London could be more detailed, skimming over opportunities to create a richer immersion for the reader. Although it does take a while to get invested in the story, when the plot picks up it is engaging – reveling in an energy that’s desperately needed in earlier chapters and hopefully will be present in subsequent books.