ARC Review: "A Study in Drowning" by Ava Reid

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. Haunted by visions of the Fairy King since childhood, she’s had no choice. Her tattered copy of Angharad—Emrys Myrddin’s epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, then destroys him—is the only thing keeping her afloat. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to redesign the late author’s estate, Effy feels certain it’s her destiny.

But musty, decrepit Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task, and its residents are far from welcoming. Including Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar determined to expose Myrddin as a fraud. As the two rivals piece together clues about Myrddin’s legacy, dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspire against them—and the truth may bring them both to ruin.



I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

Trigger warnings: mention of sexual assault (off page), blood.

This book was a fascinating surprise. I am not one to read thrillers, and I can not even categorize it as a thriller per se, it is more like dark vibes of academia with a hint of thriller and Fae elements.
Our story follows Effy Sayre an architect student, the only female one, who has always believed in fairy tales. Surrounded in a man's world of academia, despite her longing to become a literature student, she is at the same time haunted by visions of the Fairy King, a creature known only in myths.

She knows by heart, Angharad—Emrys Myrddin’s epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King and kills him, a book that is considered a national treasure, in a world that seems to be at a point of Cold War, along with cultural and political prejudice.

When she gets the chance to create the new architectural plans for Myrddin's family house she jumps to the chance to get to know the family of her beloved deceased author, along with a literature student Preston Héloury, whose aim is to discredit Myrddin's work as a fraud.

But the house hides more secrets than the growing unrest of rising waters and even more than that, the threatening presence that seems to surround the house itself, threatening to destroy both Effy and Preston.

This book with themes of literature, natural disasters rooted in myth, and a hint of magic held deeper meanings. While Effy and Preston try to work around the house and its residents it is at the same time the outlet from which they come to terms with deeper secrets of their selves. The plot unspools slowly but picks up quite fast close to around the 75% of the book where we see who truly was Myrddin and what his legacy would be like if the truth had come out.

I loved how the romance between Effy and Preston developed. He was smitten from the start, I call it now. :D

Overall this was quite a good book, worth of the praise and the Goodreads Award nominee! Recommended but keep in mind the TW at the beginning of the review.

About the author:

Ava Reid is the author of critically acclaimed and bestselling adult fantasies Juniper & Thorn and The Wolf and the Woodsman, as well as the forthcoming A Study in Drowning, her young adult debut. After obtaining her degree in political science from Barnard College, she moved to Palo Alto, where she continues to haunt university libraries.

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