Creatures of Will and Temper
“A delightful, dark, and entertaining romp . . . Molly Tanzer is at the top of her form in this beautifully constructed novel.”—Jeff VanderMeer, best-selling author of the Southern Reach trilogy Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders . . . and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister, aspiring art critic Dorina.At loose ends after Dorina becomes enamored with their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, a local aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school. There, she meets George Cantrell, an experienced fencing master like she’s always dreamed of studying under. But soon, George shows her something more than fancy footwork—he reveals to Evadne a secret, hidden world of devilish demons and their obedient servants. George has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and diabolists alike, and now he needs Evadne’s help. But as she learns more, Evadne begins to believe that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist . . . and even worse, she suspects Dorina might have become one too.Combining swordplay, the supernatural, and Victorian high society, Creatures of Will and Temper reveals a familiar but strange London in a riff on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that readers won't soon forget.   “An artful, witty, Oscar Wilde pastiche with the heart of a paranormal thriller.”—Diana Gabaldon, best-selling author of Outlander

Creatures of Will and Temper Details

TitleCreatures of Will and Temper
Author
ReleaseNov 14th, 2017
PublisherJohn Joseph Adams/Mariner Books
ISBN-139781328710260
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Victorian, Science Fiction Fantasy, Adult, Glbt, Queer

Creatures of Will and Temper Review

  • Sh3lly ✨ hates the holidays - bah humbug! ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Review also found at:https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres...This book isn't released until November 2017, so I'll try and keep this brief and nonspoilery. Loosely based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, the story revolves around a young woman named Dorina Gray and her sister, Evadne. Dorina and Evadne have a difficult relationship. When Evadne catches her with a girl and tells their parents, she is forced to chaperone her younger sister in London for the summer. They stay with their Uncle Basil, w Review also found at:https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres...This book isn't released until November 2017, so I'll try and keep this brief and nonspoilery. Loosely based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, the story revolves around a young woman named Dorina Gray and her sister, Evadne. Dorina and Evadne have a difficult relationship. When Evadne catches her with a girl and tells their parents, she is forced to chaperone her younger sister in London for the summer. They stay with their Uncle Basil, who is an artist. He introduces them to Lady Henry, who Dorina becomes smitten with, while Evadne views her hedonistic lifestyle as distasteful. The two sisters continue to struggle to get along and eventually choose to mainly ignore each other. Dorina spends her time with Henry, while Evadne finds a fencing club. Fencing plays a very large role in this story. We find out that Henry has a secret club of her own that is occultic. I thought this book was fabulous! It reads more like historical fiction at first, with the paranormal aspects coming to the front towards the end. It is well-written and focuses a lot on sensuality and appreciating the five senses, physical pleasure, art, food - and the philosophies revolving around a life lived in the pursuit of these pleasures. Dorina is a lesbian and I got the impression that Henry was a bit of a cross-dresser. Sexuality was treated as a non-issue; the characters loved who they loved and lived as they wanted to live and no one made much of it. Evadne was at first a rigid and unlikable character, but wow, does she have some surprises in store for the reader. This book is very unique and I found it pleasantly, surprisingly FANTASTIC. Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    This book ticked all my boxes! Victoriana, demons, romance and surprise. By the halfway mark I was looking up what else this author has written. A thumping good read, a great action scene near the end and a twist and reversal in the story that I wasn’t expecting!Recommended.Many thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    Molly Tanzer’s Creatures of Will and Temper is the kind of novel that looks up at you with a mischievous smirk. It is the story of two Victorian-era sisters, Dorina and Evadne Gray, who go to spend a summer in London with their Uncle Basil. Dorina, 17 years old and the younger of the two, wants to be an art critic and is eager to soak up the culture of the big city; Evadne, eleven years Dorina’s senior, is conscripted against her will and charged with keeping her sibling’s wilder impulses in che Molly Tanzer’s Creatures of Will and Temper is the kind of novel that looks up at you with a mischievous smirk. It is the story of two Victorian-era sisters, Dorina and Evadne Gray, who go to spend a summer in London with their Uncle Basil. Dorina, 17 years old and the younger of the two, wants to be an art critic and is eager to soak up the culture of the big city; Evadne, eleven years Dorina’s senior, is conscripted against her will and charged with keeping her sibling’s wilder impulses in check. Once in London, the two are introduced to Lady Henrietta Wotton (Henry for short), a wealthy dandy who takes an interest in mentoring Dorina, to Evadne’s consternation. Unbeknownst to the Gray sisters, Henry traffics with a demon, one that seems to have something to do with the untimely death of Henry’s beloved twin brother, who was also Basil’s lover.The novel’s greatest strength is its depiction of the Gray sisters’ combative relationship, which overlies their zealous devotion to each other. Even motives born of affection and goodwill seem to turn into grounds for conflict between them. The raffish Lady Henry makes the perfect deciding agent for their mutual antagonism, as she, by her very nature, leans to encouraging the very behavior in Dorina that Evadne was sent along to quash. But as Evadne grows more exhausted in a battle she seems destined to lose, she begins to pursue her own interests, which spins their story in quite an unforeseen direction.Without delving into anything too spoilery, let me say that the final act of Creatures of Will and Temper is not for the faint of heart. It took me a minute to reorient myself from the supernaturally tinged melodrama I had been reading to the Grand Guignol horror show that it became, so I am compelled to pass along a friendly warning. But if your tolerance for viscera is sturdy enough, at least know that the novel stays true to the heart at its core, and is buoyed throughout by Tanzer’s lucid and lustrous prose.Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    The best way I can think of to describe this weird fantasy set in fin-de-siecle London one universe over is to compare it to Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphony, which blends classical and modern musical themes as it tells the story of the 1905 Revolution.It starts with deceptive slowness, as Victorian novels do, sedate, with attention to late-Victorian detail, but with contemporary viewpoints skewing the Victoriana, and period language mixed with modern.Here and there sharp thematic hints: the men The best way I can think of to describe this weird fantasy set in fin-de-siecle London one universe over is to compare it to Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphony, which blends classical and modern musical themes as it tells the story of the 1905 Revolution.It starts with deceptive slowness, as Victorian novels do, sedate, with attention to late-Victorian detail, but with contemporary viewpoints skewing the Victoriana, and period language mixed with modern.Here and there sharp thematic hints: the mention of demons, pooh poohed, of course, by modern thinkers. Unabashedly queer-friendly, at a time when there were life-destroying courtroom dramas on this very subject.Central are two sisters, ten years apart, Dorina Gray and Evadne. Dorina is seventeen, pretty and socially savvy, and knows what she wants. Evadne is not pretty, socially awkward, disappointed at pretty much everything, except her fencing. At that, she's very, very good.The girls do not get along, though deep down they do care for each other, and wonder how to communicate. This aspect kept me reading, painful as it was a times, but Tanzer is very deft at characterization, never letting even minor characters remain one note, or predictable.I totally believed in the sisters' arc (I have a sister exactly four years younger, and all the time we had to share a room we fought like hyenas, but as soon as we got our own rooms, we got along great; our blend of tearing at each other and yet having each other's back matches the difficult emotional arc I read here), which is very important. Meanwhile the demonic theme is tantalizingly dangled before the reader.Then, like the Shostakovich, the relatively quiet beginning slowly begins to intensify, until the bloody and thunderous rush of the climax. Very engrossing, vivid, intense, a real page turner.Copy provided by NetGalley
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  • Max
    January 1, 1970
    Tanzer's written a fantasy novel of great focus and balance, a chamber drama of demons, romance, and swashbuckling, where the plot hinges on characters' misapprehensions of one another and of themselves. Evadne and Dorina, the sister protagonists, have a well-drawn tense and tender relationship—tender, at least, in the sense a wound's tender—and the occult mysteries, demon hunting, and so on, reinforced and heightened the character drama without dissolving it into plot. I'd advise against going Tanzer's written a fantasy novel of great focus and balance, a chamber drama of demons, romance, and swashbuckling, where the plot hinges on characters' misapprehensions of one another and of themselves. Evadne and Dorina, the sister protagonists, have a well-drawn tense and tender relationship—tender, at least, in the sense a wound's tender—and the occult mysteries, demon hunting, and so on, reinforced and heightened the character drama without dissolving it into plot. I'd advise against going into Creatures of Will and Temper hunting Dorian Gray parallels, though they are there. Just treat the book as its own thing, and let it unfold.
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  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    Set in Victorian London, we learn of two sisters who are about as opposite as you can get. While they struggle in their relationship with each other, their trip introduces other characters who become vast influences on each of them. The beginning of the book lays a foundation of their individual characters and their sisterly fights while still having that underlying loyalty of love that only siblings share. Then as we get into parts 2 and 3, the book starts to take off.I'm not a huge fan of hist Set in Victorian London, we learn of two sisters who are about as opposite as you can get. While they struggle in their relationship with each other, their trip introduces other characters who become vast influences on each of them. The beginning of the book lays a foundation of their individual characters and their sisterly fights while still having that underlying loyalty of love that only siblings share. Then as we get into parts 2 and 3, the book starts to take off.I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I LOVE Dorian Gray and books about demons and the dark arts. This book is a mix of both and as such, I have mixed feelings with this story. The writing itself is fine but the slow start had my attention being pulled away from the pages. I struggled to continue at certain points but was really curious where the demon and Dorian Gray feel would enter into play as the first half was pretty deplete of any inkling of either of these two things. Keeping in mind this book is INSPIRED by the story and not a retelling, it's fitting it played more into the subplot rather than into the main storyline. By the time we are introduced to the diabolists, demons and the dark side of the book, I was just "eh" about it. It did get interesting but the demons still had little influence... Demons aside, this felt like more of a story of sisterly love and finding that chord that solidifies their relationship than anything darker or supernatural. I think those who like historical fiction will be more apt to enjoy this book more than I did. I think I may have expected more than what I ended up getting and was hoping for a darker read.Thank you to Mariner Books for this copy!
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  • nat
    January 1, 1970
    this was strange but delightful. I just love reading about monsters and the supernatural set in a Victorian era. it warms me. and in the center of all this, are sisters Evadne and Dorina, who on their trip to London to visit their uncle, meet Lady Henry. Dorina is quickly enamored while Evadne gets a bad feeling about her. ... they soon discover a world full of demons and rituals. and these people called diabolist who, in a way, live to serve them. my only complaint? I wanted to see more demon-w this was strange but delightful. I just love reading about monsters and the supernatural set in a Victorian era. it warms me. and in the center of all this, are sisters Evadne and Dorina, who on their trip to London to visit their uncle, meet Lady Henry. Dorina is quickly enamored while Evadne gets a bad feeling about her. ... they soon discover a world full of demons and rituals. and these people called diabolist who, in a way, live to serve them. my only complaint? I wanted to see more demon-worshiping or whatever the hell they do. or maybe it was boring and I should be thankful there wasn’t any? who knows.
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  • Nostalgia Reader
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.There are so many things I want to say about this book, but at the same time, I feel like a short and sweet review will do it much more justice.I wasn’t sure what to expect from this when I started reading, but even with the slow build to the action and actual plot, I got sucked into the world and wanted to know more and more about the characters. We focus on two sisters, who are a mish-mash of tropes, but the exact opposite of what their general look would clue you in on. I loved the 3.5 stars.There are so many things I want to say about this book, but at the same time, I feel like a short and sweet review will do it much more justice.I wasn’t sure what to expect from this when I started reading, but even with the slow build to the action and actual plot, I got sucked into the world and wanted to know more and more about the characters. We focus on two sisters, who are a mish-mash of tropes, but the exact opposite of what their general look would clue you in on. I loved the contrast between the two of them, and it really allowed each of their two storylines to stand separate from each other, while still melding excellently together in the end.The pacing is excellent and while I suspicious of almost every character, I was still surprised exactly how everything played out in the end. While the entire demonology aspect did seem a bit lacking in straightforward explanations, there was still enough divulged to understand what exactly was going on.This was slightly inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I found the similarity to that to be more of a sub-plot than a part of the main plot. However, it does end up playing into the demon explanation in the end, so it’s a fun Easter egg of sorts to follow throughout.Definitely recommended to those who enjoy paranormal thrillers!Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!(Cross posted on my blog.)
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  • Kristen Burns
    January 1, 1970
    This book was not quite a retelling but was inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray. And while it wasn’t all that similar, it was still a good book in its own right.I don’t actually know what it’s like to grow up with a sibling, so reading about siblings is always interesting to me. And this book had a type of sibling relationship I have not come across often in books, or at least not seen explored so deeply, even though I feel like it was a realistic one. Evadne and Dorina didn’t always get alon This book was not quite a retelling but was inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray. And while it wasn’t all that similar, it was still a good book in its own right.I don’t actually know what it’s like to grow up with a sibling, so reading about siblings is always interesting to me. And this book had a type of sibling relationship I have not come across often in books, or at least not seen explored so deeply, even though I feel like it was a realistic one. Evadne and Dorina didn’t always get along, they often annoyed each other, sometimes they purposely pushed each others’ buttons or said/did hurtful things, they often didn’t feel like the other cared about them, but they did still love and cared about each other. They wanted to be closer as sisters, but they just had a really hard time trying to figure out how to do that. And that relationship seemed to be the focus of the book more than anything.As for the characters themselves, I’ll be honest, neither Dorina nor Evadne was wholly likeable, but they weren’t wholly unlikeable either. They were realistic. I appreciated that. And by the end, as they both grew some, they grew on me as well.The writing was also very good. It matched the tone and setting of the story and had this way of drawing me in.The fencing aspect was another thing I enjoyed. I didn’t know anything about fencing, so that was fun to read about, and Evadne’s passion for something athletic helped me to relate to her.My one main complaint is that took a long time for things to really start happening. I feel like the first half or so was just kind of, “Ok, here they are doing stuff in London. Here are Dorina and Evadne not getting along. Here is Dorina hanging out with Lady Henry. Here is Evadne fencing.” I wanted to get to the stuff about the demons sooner. Once it did get to the demons, things got faster-paced and more interesting.I also want to note that I generally don’t categorize books as LGBT+ unless the protagonist is LGBT+, but I’m making an exception in this case. Dorina, who is a lesbian, is a POV character and has a big part (even though I’d say Evadne is the protag), Dorina’s relationship with Henry plays a big role in the story, and multiple other characters are LGBT+ as well.So even though this book wasn’t very similar to the original Dorian Gray, the author did ask what it would be like if Dorian’s quest for aesthetic experiences didn’t actually lead to corruption and stated that her intent was to create a less dark variation on the story, and in that regard, I think she succeeded.---------------------Rating: 3.5 StarsRecommended For: Anyone who likes the original Dorian Gray, slow-paced stories, sibling relationships, demons, and Victorian London.Source: I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.Original Review: Metaphors and Moonlight
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to HMH Books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!Victorian England, demons, and fencing - what more could you want in a fantasy novel? This was definitely a more unique read and I think that's what I liked most about it. CREATURES OF WILL & TEMPER by Molly Tanzer seemed to have a little of everything, but they were combined so well that it wasn't awkward.We follow two sisters, Evadne and Dorina as they venture to London. Dorina is an aspiring art critic, and Evadne Thanks to HMH Books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!Victorian England, demons, and fencing - what more could you want in a fantasy novel? This was definitely a more unique read and I think that's what I liked most about it. CREATURES OF WILL & TEMPER by Molly Tanzer seemed to have a little of everything, but they were combined so well that it wasn't awkward.We follow two sisters, Evadne and Dorina as they venture to London. Dorina is an aspiring art critic, and Evadne is along for the ride as she chaperone's her younger sister. Being an avid fencer, Evadne enrolls herself in a fencing school where she meets her instructor, George Cantrell. George not only opens her eyes to new fencing techniques, but also to a hidden world of demons and the cults that worship them. He has dedicated his life to getting rid of demons and the diabolists that serve them and he enlists Evadne's help. However, this will prove to be difficult because the woman that Dorina has become enamored with might be a diabolist. What's worse, Dorina could be turned as well.When you hear the combination of elements in this story you may think they sound like an odd mixture. I definitely did at first, but Tanzer blends all perfectly. Nothing felt out of place and I loved how realistic the characters were - you didn't love them but you didn't hate them. The relationship between the sisters felt like an authentic sibling relationship. Lots of disagreements and rebellion on Dorina's part. If a book has demons and cults in it, then it's going to pique my interest. Fencing is something that I know very little about, so having a swordplay element was unique.Overall, if you want a unique story with a historical fiction feel, then this is one you should add to the TBR list. Cults, swords, and Victorian London - what else could you want in a fantasy novel?I give this 4.5/5 stars!
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  • Wendy Wagner
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely enchanting read! The story of two very different sisters who find their way to an appreciation of each other, this book is a sweet and rollicking read. Plus, it's packed with really great fight scenes and some super sexy moments. I really enjoyed it.(I got a free copy of this book from the publisher to prepare for an interview with the author--gosh I love my job!)
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    When Evadne Gray catches her younger sister, Dorinia, dallying with another teen aged girl right after the man Evadne loves informs her that he is marrying someone else, Evadne runs to their mother to tell and assumes it will put a stop to Dorinia’s planned visit to their uncle in London. (Dorinia has the ambition to become an art critic, and there is no art to be seen out in the country where she lives.) Instead, their mother decides that Evadne will accompany Dorinia, something Evadne has no i When Evadne Gray catches her younger sister, Dorinia, dallying with another teen aged girl right after the man Evadne loves informs her that he is marrying someone else, Evadne runs to their mother to tell and assumes it will put a stop to Dorinia’s planned visit to their uncle in London. (Dorinia has the ambition to become an art critic, and there is no art to be seen out in the country where she lives.) Instead, their mother decides that Evadne will accompany Dorinia, something Evadne has no interest in doing. Upon arrival at their uncle’s house, they meet his friend Lady Henrietta Wotton, who goes by Henry and wears men’s clothing. Dorinia is immediately smitten by Henry, and Henry has taken it upon herself to introduce the girls to London. Evadne is shocked and revolted by Lady Henry because of her dress and open smoking. But Evadne has learned to fence and is thrilled to have an invitation to a fencing school from both Henry and the friend (and erstwhile boyfriend) who taught her. While still living with their uncle, Evadne and Dorinia go their separate ways. Dorinia manages to convince Henry to invite her to a meeting of her secret society. The meeting seems totally harmless- a dinner devoted to one of the sense, so she cannot imagine why it’s considered secret. True, there is a short time where Dorinia is asked to step outside the room, but what could go on in that small space of time? Evadne is taken on by the top instructor at the fencing school, and finds herself invited to a secret club, too. And she is shocked to discover that there is some common ground between that club and Henry’s… The story took a very long time to get moving. There was a lot of gorgeous description, perhaps too much. There is a lot of going and coming and eating. I found it hard to really like any of the characters- I didn’t *dislike* them, but they just left me flat. I found it hard to believe that Evadne, who attends a fencing club where she is the only woman, is shocked and disgusted by Henry’s wearing of male attire, especially since she is unshocked by homosexual love. (yes, I know that homosexuality and cross dressing are two different things. But it just seems to me that if a person is okay with one, they’d most likely be okay with the other) I found it equally hard to believe that their uncle, who had left the secret society, would allow Dorinia to go. The book *almost* made me love it, but not quite. It’s a first novel, so I have great hope for this author. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous. Four stars.
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Victorian Era London is a wonder that's known for it's fluid social roles, vibrant arts scene, and underground diabolic cults. Evadne Gray, a fencer, isn't interested in those first two and doesn't know about the last, but she finds herself in the city against her wishes to act as a chaperone for her younger sister, Dorina, an aspiring art critic. After Dorina meets their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, an aristocra I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Victorian Era London is a wonder that's known for it's fluid social roles, vibrant arts scene, and underground diabolic cults. Evadne Gray, a fencer, isn't interested in those first two and doesn't know about the last, but she finds herself in the city against her wishes to act as a chaperone for her younger sister, Dorina, an aspiring art critic. After Dorina meets their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, an aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school where she meets George Cantrell, a top tier fencing master. George shows her more than she bargained for - a hidden world of demons and their servants. George has dedicated himself to fighting demons and diabolists, and he needs Evadne’s help. In fact, Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist - and worse yet, Evadne suspects Dorina have turned as well.As soon as I realized that Molly Tanzer's newest novel, Creatures of Will and Temper, was inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, I knew I had to find a copy for myself. Luckily, I actually managed to get myself approved for an ARC on NetGalley. This is my first time trying Tanzer's work, but overall I was really impressed with the quality of it all. Although the story is slower paced than what I usually like and takes a little while to really get going, the writing is gorgeous. I really enjoyed getting to know our two flawed sisters, Evadne and Dorina, since they have such a close connection. Neither are completely likable, but I couldn't help but root for both of them. I loved the fencing and action in the story. I don't often see fencing in historical fantasy, so this was a lot of fun seeing Evadne get to go toe-to-toe with a master. It's also was also good to see an f/f relationship take the spotlight - between Dorina and Lady Henry, especially since Dorina's one of the leading characters and taking the setting into account - plus, there are other LGBTQ+ characters featured.Overall, if you're looking for a refreshing new historical fantasy with a great cast, epic sword fights, and a realistic connection between sisters, then you absolutely need to try Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer. Just be warned the first half of the book sets a slow pace as we are introduced to the characters and their world, but it's definitely worth sticking with it. Like Cat Winters, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, then you'll probably like this new release.
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  • Nannette
    January 1, 1970
    Creatures of Will and Temperby Molly TanzerHoughton Mifflin HarcourtJohn Joseph Adams/Mariner BooksPub Date 14 Nov 2017Courtesy netgalleyMolly Tanzer’s book, Creatures of Will and Temper, is described as “A Victorian urban fantasy featuring duelists, demons, and the dark arts, inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray.” It is all that and more. I picked it up because of the nod to Oscar Wilde’s classic. I read Wilde’s book in college, more than thirty-five years ago, and remember the broad strokes Creatures of Will and Temperby Molly TanzerHoughton Mifflin HarcourtJohn Joseph Adams/Mariner BooksPub Date 14 Nov 2017Courtesy netgalleyMolly Tanzer’s book, Creatures of Will and Temper, is described as “A Victorian urban fantasy featuring duelists, demons, and the dark arts, inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray.” It is all that and more. I picked it up because of the nod to Oscar Wilde’s classic. I read Wilde’s book in college, more than thirty-five years ago, and remember the broad strokes of the story but not the fine details. Tanzer’s story uses that basic level familiarity and builds a new story with great characters.The main characters are sisters, Evadne and Dorina Gray. They are eighteen and seventeen years old respectively. They live in the country and are upper class. Evadne is dutiful, conservative and the bane of her younger sister. Dorina is a risk taker, rule breaker and fed up with her sister tattling to her parents. Dorina is a lesbian and enjoys a series of girlfriends, all under the radar because of the societal rules at the time.Dorina is planning on spending time with her Uncle Basil in London, a renowned painter. Dorina is thinking of being an art critic so spending time with her uncle should be educational. After Evadne tattles on Dorina’s latest relationship, she finds herself being sent to London as her sister’s keeper. Neither sister is happy with the situation or each other. Once they arrive in London, the story really takes off. Their uncle is mourning his friend and lover, Oliver. Oliver’s sister takes Dorina to see the museums of London and meet the people who appreciate the art Dorina will one day be writing about. Evadne finds herself becoming more confident when she finds a fencing master and pursues her passion for fencing. There are demons in London. They are not the horns and pitchfork variety. Like London itself, these demons are complex and all with their own agendas. Evadne and Dorina encounter the demons in very different ways with very different reactions to them. There are several facets of this book I really enjoyed. One was the fencing. For over ten years, I was a fencing parent. The sections of the book detailing the salle, the weapons, the tactics, the smelly fencing whites after an afternoon of bouting, were a joy to read. The other facet I enjoyed was the relationship between Evadne and Dorina. It is a very realistic depiction of sisters close in age but far apart in temperament. Their relationship evolves over the course of the book. Like the two characters evolution, it is not straightforward or smooth. It has fits and starts as in real life.I recommend Creatures of Will and Temper. It kept me engaged. Gave me characters I cared about. Alternated action sequences with character exploration. Molly Tanzer has created a fantastic book with strong female protagonists.
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    This was absolutely phenomenal. It blew my mind in this Picture of Dorian Gray f/f reinterpretation except EVEN BETTER. It's about sisters, standing out, and demons. It features two sisters at the heart of this novel which inspires me to say all sorts of emotional mushy stuff to mine. It's not perfect, constantly surprising you and giving you all the turbulent emotions. This is a must read for anyone who loved The Picture and sisters and demons, and all of these combined!Disclaimer: I received t This was absolutely phenomenal. It blew my mind in this Picture of Dorian Gray f/f reinterpretation except EVEN BETTER. It's about sisters, standing out, and demons. It features two sisters at the heart of this novel which inspires me to say all sorts of emotional mushy stuff to mine. It's not perfect, constantly surprising you and giving you all the turbulent emotions. This is a must read for anyone who loved The Picture and sisters and demons, and all of these combined!Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
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  • Alex Watkins
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I stayed up late rushing through to the end of the book, I just had to know what was going to happen, and I was ever so worried about the characters. I appreciated how well done the victorian setting was. I also was intrigued by the demons that exist in this universe, they weren't at all what I expected!
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  • rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I received an early copy of Molly Tanzer's new novel from NetGalley but I'm not receiving any compensation for this review. I must confess that I've met the author a few times at conferences and am a great admirer of her work, but I doubt she could pick me out of a lineup so I don't think that biases my review either. Creatures of Will and Temper reimagines Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray as a feisty feminist dark fantasy. This is a story that values sisterhood, strong women, and daring swo I received an early copy of Molly Tanzer's new novel from NetGalley but I'm not receiving any compensation for this review. I must confess that I've met the author a few times at conferences and am a great admirer of her work, but I doubt she could pick me out of a lineup so I don't think that biases my review either. Creatures of Will and Temper reimagines Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray as a feisty feminist dark fantasy. This is a story that values sisterhood, strong women, and daring swordplay, but don't mistake it for another Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Tanzer is not just giving her source inspiration a twist. (To be fair: I did enjoy PP&Z, but much more as a film than a book). Tanzer uses Dorian Gray as a launching point, but this is a whole new story with original ideas. Tanzer clearly knows Victorian literature well and she adapts the conventions and twists the tropes in ways that don't feel self-consciously post-modern or gimmicky. Readers familiar with Wilde's work will be richly rewarded here, but this is a book that also stands on it's own strengths. I thought the story well-structured and well-paced.
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  • Sibil
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars
  • Bry
    January 1, 1970
    This book was...odd. I am really having a difficult time summarizing how I feel about this novel. At first it seemed to check off tons of my boxes - London, Victorian age, women breaking from their expected roles, a supernatural element, and a complex sister relationship. I went into this book expecting to devour it and then as for some more. Instead I found myself struggling through the slow first half and considered abandoning it, then speeding through the back half but questioning every chara This book was...odd. I am really having a difficult time summarizing how I feel about this novel. At first it seemed to check off tons of my boxes - London, Victorian age, women breaking from their expected roles, a supernatural element, and a complex sister relationship. I went into this book expecting to devour it and then as for some more. Instead I found myself struggling through the slow first half and considered abandoning it, then speeding through the back half but questioning every characters actions! Let's start with the bits I enjoyed...overall the writing was good throughout. The pacing was slow to moderate, but it made sense for the plotting. My only issue was that the language was not consistent. For the most part the author maintained a 19th century tone, but every once in a while a modern phrase would sneak its way into the character's dialogue which at the beginning of the book made me second guess if the time frame actually was 19th century London, or if this was meant to be an alternant timeline/universe. Things like "Actually, I was thrown for a loop yesterday..." and "I did not come here for my MRS degree." That last one is especially not period appropriate. The book felt very familiar at times, but it reminded me greatly of Sense and Sensibility as we had 2 sisters, the elder, more mature sister, and the younger, more vivacious and carefree. The differences in personality often led to conflicts and their ideas of proper actions and associations were a spectrum. Their strained relationship forms the basis of most of the conflicts throughout the plot and was very believable and well thought through. I loved that the sister's relationship, and its ups and downs, was a focus throughout the novel, and often trumped the other relationships in terms of importance and pages dedicated to it. The best part was the inclusion of same sex couples, and that their relationships were a non-issue. Everyone seemed free to love whomever they wanted and not judged for it. Some things I had an issue with was the supernatural element, Demons, which were extremely sparse throughout the first half of the book. It read more as a historical fiction novel that an urban-fantasy/supernatural novel. Even in the second half of the book where we finally learn more of Demons and their role in our world is minimal. The idea is that anyone from our world can summon a demon and meld their existences in that the Demon's mind would take up residence within the summoner's mind. The only issue though is that the summoner have no way of summoning a specific demon. In this case the 'good people' ended up with a 'good demon' and the 'evil people' with an 'evil demon' but it could have gone completely the other way. If you can't guarantee that the demon you summon won't instantly influence you to start murdering children why would you even take the risk of summoning one at all?! This last bit is a bit difficult to explain and is totally spoiler-y so read at your own risk! (view spoiler)[I have very mixed feelings about the end of this book which actually caused me to knock my rating down from 3 stars to 2. I feel like this book is advocating drug use in a warped way. The characters have to constantly imbibe substances laced with demonic essence to maintain their connection with the demon, and once you start you can't stop or risk health issues. Yet, this connection always comes with a price. For multiple characters, namely Lady Henry and her society members, it meant shorter life spans. Yes your life will be filled with beauty and you won't age, but you could basically die at any time. For another character, Basil, who tried to 'kick the habit' despite the risks ended up with in major health issues. And in the end the characters are forced to start new lives at what is basically a commune, but continue their addiction and connection with the demon. Finally, Evadne, who basically really was the only character not trying to commune with freaking demons, got the shortest end of the stick and ended up the worse off in the end. Blah. (hide spoiler)]So far this book seems to be a stand alone novel. It definitely set up the possibility of it becoming a series at the end you, but I don't think I would read it.Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Online Eccentric Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ Creatures of Will and Temper is a book that will likely be divisive to many readers: it's a literary take on a beloved literature icon that can be hard to get into initially but rewarding if followed to the end. Using The Portrait of Dorian Gray as a starting point, author Tanzer gives us a feminist take on the subject that is intriguing and thought provoking. But this is a slow burn story that is allowed to grow and dev More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ Creatures of Will and Temper is a book that will likely be divisive to many readers: it's a literary take on a beloved literature icon that can be hard to get into initially but rewarding if followed to the end. Using The Portrait of Dorian Gray as a starting point, author Tanzer gives us a feminist take on the subject that is intriguing and thought provoking. But this is a slow burn story that is allowed to grow and develop organically if you are willing to stick with it. Also reminiscent of Sense and Sensibility, this is a story about a grounded older sister and a more romantic younger sister - rather than a romance of supernatural. In fact, the supernatural elements rarely come up and the conflicts come from people rather than demons.Story: Sisters Evadne and Dorina are complete opposites navigating London Society around 1900. Evadne is grounded and pragmatic while younger Dorina follows her passions recklessly. When the girls travel to London to come out for a season, both discover a world they had never known. Evadne, whose passion is the very manly sport of fencing, finds a home at a prestigious fencing school. Dorina, whose love is art and women, falls in love with a mysterious older noblewoman. Through their uncle, a painter, they find themselves embroiled with a mysterious hidden world where people can channel and communicate with demons. But demons don't have a moral compass - they can be both good and evil. The sister will encounter both as their new friends bring them into the fold of cabals and loves lost.Author Tanzer stays true to the novel's literature roots by telling the story in the same languid way as the source material. It's not a retelling; rather, this uses many aspects of Dorian Gray but changes them quite a bit as well. Those invested in Oscar Wilde will likely enjoy where Tanzer took the story. Those not familiar with Wilde's works can enjoy the story on its own since it was inspired by (and not a rewrite of) Dorian Gray.The sisters are an excellent contrast - one who falls deeply in love while the other chases romantic moments. Each girl finds the person they think is the perfect soulmate for them - but things are not always what they see in a society based upon appearances. There is a lot of growth of the characters as well as a lot of action and drama. Evadnes, the fencing master, especially gets to take on the knight chivalric role in impressive ways.Although fairly slow in the beginning as the girls move to the City and navigate its waters, the mystery unfolds smoothly and organically. Tanzer allows the plot to develop naturally and doesn't rush it - this is not a typical YA that is all rushed and hurried and written for teens with low attention spans. But the half way part, the mysteries and explanation, twists and turns begin and we have a great story to follow. Be prepared for surprises aplenty.If I had one problem with the book, it's that it was too anachronistic in several places. Characters would use modern turns of phrases that were jarring and ruined a lot of the atmosphere. There weren't many and for the most part, the book was written as if it was penned at the turn of the century. Mannerisms and dialogue felt right for the time. But there were enough 'slip ups' that is was noticeable.In all, a fascinating take on Portrait of Dorian Gray, giving it a feminist twist as viewed through the lens of fin de siecle England. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
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  • Crittermom
    January 1, 1970
    Simply exquisite, Creatures of Will and Temper is an exotic bloom of a fantasy novel. It is not only a wondrous homage to Wilde’s Dorian Gray, it stands in it’s own right as a literary work. The novel centers around two sisters, Evagne and Dorina Gray. The younger Dorina yearns to be an art critic, to experience and explore the art world of London. Her vibrance makes Evagne’s taciturn stolidness seem all the more dull and unpalatable. Evagne has limited love of beauty and has been disappointed b Simply exquisite, Creatures of Will and Temper is an exotic bloom of a fantasy novel. It is not only a wondrous homage to Wilde’s Dorian Gray, it stands in it’s own right as a literary work. The novel centers around two sisters, Evagne and Dorina Gray. The younger Dorina yearns to be an art critic, to experience and explore the art world of London. Her vibrance makes Evagne’s taciturn stolidness seem all the more dull and unpalatable. Evagne has limited love of beauty and has been disappointed both in love and by her sister’s actions. Her only love is that of fencing, the physical pleasure of achievement. It is only natural that the connection that Dorina forms with the captivating and completely unconventional Lady Henry troubles her. Lady Henry is a diabolist whose focus is aesthetic enjoyment. Henry’s unconventional approach to life, her intelligence and her fearlessness attract Dorina immediately. Evagne on the other hand fears her influence and distances herself from both Lady Henry and her sister. Instead, she goes to a fencing academy, meeting the instructor she always desired. But nothing is as it seems, and not all demons are the same. Aesthetics, morality, sexuality and art as a means of expressing its creator are all concepts that are explored within the pages of Creatures of Will and Temper. It is a novel that is thought provoking. Like Lady Henry, it doesn’t seek to influence the reader, but encourages the reader to ask their own questions. This is a character and concept driven fantasy rather than an action driven one. 5 / 5I received a copy of Creatures of Will and Temper from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.--Crittermom
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  • Jessica Bronder
    January 1, 1970
    Evadne Grey has just been dumped by her fiancé. She then catches her sister Dorinia with another girl and tells their mother hoping to disrupt Dorinia’s trip to London. Instead Evadne is sent with Dorinia. Once in London, both girls meet Lady Henrietta, or Henry as she prefers to go by. Henry has a fencing school and connections. Although Evadne is put off by Henry dressing like a man she is enjoying the fencing lessons. Dorinia is taken with Henry and talks her into letting her attend a club wi Evadne Grey has just been dumped by her fiancé. She then catches her sister Dorinia with another girl and tells their mother hoping to disrupt Dorinia’s trip to London. Instead Evadne is sent with Dorinia. Once in London, both girls meet Lady Henrietta, or Henry as she prefers to go by. Henry has a fencing school and connections. Although Evadne is put off by Henry dressing like a man she is enjoying the fencing lessons. Dorinia is taken with Henry and talks her into letting her attend a club with a secret dinner where she is going to be in for more than she expected. At the same time, Evadne attends another clubs dinner with the head of the fencing school and learns that there is a paranormal connection between the two clubs. Evadne is going to be recruited to fight demons but it seems her sister may have become a part of this club. Evadne and Dorinia are typical sisters. They care for each other but at the same time have a hard time getting along and tend to do things that will upset the other. But when they get to London they go in their own directions and find themselves on different sides in a battle.I have to say that the story slowly progressed in the first part. Yes, there was a Victorian world to develop and I have to say that I wasn’t as interested in that as I was for the demons and fighting. I did like the fencing training and the battle at the end. Yes, I was completely thrown off guard with the twist at the end.Over all I liked this book and will keep Molly Tanzer in mind for future book.I received Creatures of Will and Temper from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion for it.
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  • Emily Moore
    January 1, 1970
    A Delightful Surprise for Fans of Genre Mash-UpsCreatures of Will and Temper was so much more than I originally thought it might be. I started reading expecting a light, fun read with a touch of Victorian class. Little did I realize I would be pulled into a story full of adventure, badass female characters and demons. The story focuses on two sisters: Evadne, the older sister who loves to fence although feels lonely and forgotten on the outskirts of her family. And Dorina, the younger sister who A Delightful Surprise for Fans of Genre Mash-UpsCreatures of Will and Temper was so much more than I originally thought it might be. I started reading expecting a light, fun read with a touch of Victorian class. Little did I realize I would be pulled into a story full of adventure, badass female characters and demons. The story focuses on two sisters: Evadne, the older sister who loves to fence although feels lonely and forgotten on the outskirts of her family. And Dorina, the younger sister who throws care to the wind, charms her way through problems and tries to experience life and beauty to the utmost. When Dorina is caught misbehaving, Evadne accidentally finds herself chaperoning her younger sister to their uncles house in London. While there, they meet the unusual Lady Henry who dresses and carries herself like a man. While Dorina immediately falls into step with the eccentric woman, Evadne feels that something is not quite right. Finding this book was a fantastic surprise. It reminded me a bit of the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger — less witty banter but a similar feeling of action and strong female characters in a period setting. Molly Tanzer did a great job balancing the character development, plot, action and supernatural while dosing the story with the perfect amount of Victorian elements. I will definitely be adding more of her books to my to-read list. I’m providing this review in return for an ARC through NetGalley.
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  • Marissa
    January 1, 1970
    Creatures of Will and Temper is a story of demonic cults and duelists that take places in Victorian England. The story features around two very different sisters - Dorina, the young, naive, aspiring art critic and Evadne, the older sister who is a female living her life in the predominantly male world of duelism. Through their experiences while visiting an uncle in London, these two become entangled in demonic cult followers. This combination of demonic cults and duelists made for some pretty ki Creatures of Will and Temper is a story of demonic cults and duelists that take places in Victorian England. The story features around two very different sisters - Dorina, the young, naive, aspiring art critic and Evadne, the older sister who is a female living her life in the predominantly male world of duelism. Through their experiences while visiting an uncle in London, these two become entangled in demonic cult followers. This combination of demonic cults and duelists made for some pretty kick ass and creative storytelling. Where typical books about demon worship and demon slaying are saturated with descriptions of the demons, their demonic powers, special weapons needed to slay the demon, or religious themes, this book was the exception. It really gave a sense of how demonic cults affect humans at their core. In addition to the demons and duelists, the author tells the story of how the relationship between two sisters evolves. I really enjoyed the character development. I also appreciated that when I finished the book I actually felt a sense of resolution. My only real complaint about this book was that at times I felt the author would almost provide too much detail during critical, action filled moments. Overall, a very unique story featuring entertaining story telling and some kick ass dueling action.I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Michaela Whitney
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC copy through NetGalley for review.Let me say that I absolutely loved this, Molly Tanzer's Creatures of Will and Temper is a dark, passionate, journey of two sisters and the ties that truly bind them, just as all around them seems set to tear them apart, possibly forever.Set in victorian London, it gives you everything you want in the vein of spiritualism, mysticism, and things not appearing exactly as you'd think. Not every monster is monstrous, not every kind face a reflection I received an ARC copy through NetGalley for review.Let me say that I absolutely loved this, Molly Tanzer's Creatures of Will and Temper is a dark, passionate, journey of two sisters and the ties that truly bind them, just as all around them seems set to tear them apart, possibly forever.Set in victorian London, it gives you everything you want in the vein of spiritualism, mysticism, and things not appearing exactly as you'd think. Not every monster is monstrous, not every kind face a reflection of truth.Two sisters go visit their uncle in London, the eldest Evadne, has a love of fencing, and wearing things other's consider unwomanly and unfashionable. Her little sister Dorina is the prim ideal of a young lady, all the while pushing against the rules of society in secret, she is fiery and full of life, ready to explore all it has to offer her. One sister a steady boil and the other a candle burning at both ends. But in the end they come to understand the love that binds them together, and the sacrifices they must make for each other to stay together.I really enjoyed this one, it far exceeded my expectations.
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  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    Author Molly Tanzer states that CREATURES OF WILL AND TEMPER is an homage to Oscar Wilde’s THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, but don’t assume that this is a simple retelling. While the novel certainly draws liberally from Wilde’s text, the work is so much more complex and nuanced than a retelling alone could be. A musing on morality that wrangles with the concepts of good and evil, CoWaT has the potential to get bogged down in its heavy subject matter - a fate Tanzer avoids by populating the novel wit Author Molly Tanzer states that CREATURES OF WILL AND TEMPER is an homage to Oscar Wilde’s THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, but don’t assume that this is a simple retelling. While the novel certainly draws liberally from Wilde’s text, the work is so much more complex and nuanced than a retelling alone could be. A musing on morality that wrangles with the concepts of good and evil, CoWaT has the potential to get bogged down in its heavy subject matter - a fate Tanzer avoids by populating the novel with a cast of quirky and unforgettable characters, adhering to a tightly-paced plot, and peppering it all liberally with elements of the supernatural. In addition to drawing inspiration from DORIAN GRAY, CoWaT can feel like a delightful mashup of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and PENNY DREADFUL, infused with unconventional female characters, battling literally and figuratively with their demons. With a few clever plot twists thrown in for good measure, CREATURES OF WILL AND TEMPER is a marvelous paen to sisterhood, and an engrossing read.
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  • Joe Crowe
    January 1, 1970
    Creatures of Will and Temper is a reimagining of The Picture of Dorian Gray-- kind of, with bonus demons, cults, and swordplay. The Oscar Wilde story has murder and a freaky painting in it, but really, it's more of a philosophical exploration. Creatures of Will and Temper ain't got time for that; It has demons, cults, and fencing. The book is more fully realized than a standard urban fantasy novel, though, despite the Victorian London setting and a few tropes (nothing wrong with tropes. Tropes a Creatures of Will and Temper is a reimagining of The Picture of Dorian Gray-- kind of, with bonus demons, cults, and swordplay. The Oscar Wilde story has murder and a freaky painting in it, but really, it's more of a philosophical exploration. Creatures of Will and Temper ain't got time for that; It has demons, cults, and fencing. The book is more fully realized than a standard urban fantasy novel, though, despite the Victorian London setting and a few tropes (nothing wrong with tropes. Tropes are like condiments on a hamburger.) Author Molly Tanzer goes for deep character work with the protagonists, sisters Evadne and Dorina, with equally vital parts that include cool fights against villains. This is one of my favorite recent books. It's a cool adventure with deep roots. It feels like the author could go back to this world and find more stories to tell. In fact, I insist. (review from an advance copy.)
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    After briefly reading a few reviews, I dove in expecting much more Dorain Gray than I got. That is not a bad thing here. Nods to the book by Wilde are definitely obvious, but there is so much more to this tale. Sisters off to London for a summer stay with their artist uncle experience adventures into worlds of swords and duels and demons. Dorina and Evande have never truly gotten along from Evande's judgmental standpoint of Dorina's personal persuits to Dorina's haughty attitude over Evande's pe After briefly reading a few reviews, I dove in expecting much more Dorain Gray than I got. That is not a bad thing here. Nods to the book by Wilde are definitely obvious, but there is so much more to this tale. Sisters off to London for a summer stay with their artist uncle experience adventures into worlds of swords and duels and demons. Dorina and Evande have never truly gotten along from Evande's judgmental standpoint of Dorina's personal persuits to Dorina's haughty attitude over Evande's personal presentation. During the encounters in London, both come to value the other and realize that in the end sisters must stick together.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Vivid and ExcitingCreatures of Will and Temper is one part Victorian period piece, one part romance, one part supernatural thriller, and one part action flick. These disparate parts are seamlessly pieces together by Tanzer to make a whole that is so much more than the parts.The pacing of the story gives the author time to flesh out her characters into people you kind of wished you knew personally. Each character is lovingly crafted into a someone that defies easy characterization.I read late int Vivid and ExcitingCreatures of Will and Temper is one part Victorian period piece, one part romance, one part supernatural thriller, and one part action flick. These disparate parts are seamlessly pieces together by Tanzer to make a whole that is so much more than the parts.The pacing of the story gives the author time to flesh out her characters into people you kind of wished you knew personally. Each character is lovingly crafted into a someone that defies easy characterization.I read late into the night for two nights to finish because I couldn't put it down. You'll feel the same.
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  • amanda eve
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-3.75 stars. Not bad, but not as clever or great as I had hoped. Tanzer is an evocative writer; her descriptions are lush. Unfortunately, the book was kind of a slog. It took a long time for the action to ramp up, so it felt like 2/3 of the narrative was 2 sisters bickering.
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