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Review of Voyage of the Damned by Frances White

Who doesn’t love a fantasy debut, entwined around a murder mystery on a cruise with wonderful characters? Voyage of the Damned is my first favourite book of 2024, even though I read it last month: the book grief, along with the sense of swooning I felt as I turned the final page has lingered, and I am dying for a re-read already! At this point, I would happily read Frances’ shopping list!

Voyage of the Damned is set aboard the Emperor’s ship amidst a celebration that will last 12 days to celebrate 1000 years of peace between Concordia’s twelve provinces. An heir from each of these provinces are on-board, but so is a murderer, and the body count is only set to increase...

Each one of the heirs have inherited a Blessing from their parent, one that is utterly unique to them and their origin... Everyone except my new fictional bestie, Ganymedes Piscero, but he’s not going to let anyone know that - oh and of course, how could we not adore Grasshopper?

Frances has created not only the magical, captivating world of Concordia, but also individual three-dimensional characters with their own voices - what an amazingly creative talent to be able to spin all of these plates and balance them utterly perfectly?! As well as the spellbinding settings and characters, Frances has injected a layer of all the best gay magic with romance and sparkles, and most importantly, the theme of loving and accepting yourself for who you are because that alone is magic!

Voyage of the Damned will have you smiling, laughing-out-loud and falling utterly in love with Frances and her magical world, but not without being suspicious of all the guests and their motives on-board the cruise ship!  I cannot fault any aspect of this beautiful book - although, if Frances changed her mind and decided to set a series in Concordia, I’d say, shift over Ms. Maas, it’s time to share your crown!

Reviewed by Danielle.

Voyage of the Damned was published on 18/01/24 by Michael J Books.

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