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Demons, Petticoats and Swords & 5 Reasons To Read This Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer

This book has been ABSOLUTELY WOW and if we hang out, I’ve already told you countless times that you need to read it. If I haven’t? Well, YOU NEED TO READ IT. There. And now onto the reasons why!

5 Reasons To Read Creature of Will and Temper

Creatures of Will and Temper

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★★★★★  5+++ stars


Essentially, it’s a retelling of Dorian Gray. But it’s also very different! First of all, the main characters are girls. Two sisters, Evadne and Dorina could not be more different from each other – Evadne is homely, but strong, loves fencing and is a simple person, while Dorina is a beauty, brimming with life and hoping to experience everything passionately. Over a disagreement, they both get marched off to London to visit their uncle, where they meed Lady Henry, who is quite progressive for her time, and… Well, is a diabolist (it means, summons demons). Things move on from there…

This story is about so many things! Love, passion of life, passion in general… Appreciation of beauty, and even just finding yourself. Also, with impeccable style and fabulousness!

The Sisters’ Clashing Characters Propel The Story

The story is told in the third person, but between two perspectives – Dorina and Evadne’s. What’s amazing is that they are basically polar opposites, and the author does a great job representing both of their points of view! Which means, it presents both of their hurts and complaints about the other, and does not defend either one. It’s very objective, doesn’t demonize or defend either of them either, does not judge. You can’t pick a side between Evadne and Dorina, and that’s the charm of it.

(Wrong story, I know! But the GIF totally works!)

Queer In The 19th Century And Not Bothered

Truly in Oscar Wilde’s tradition! Most of the characters are queer in this book, and very vibrantly and enjoyably so! It really works for them. I can’t tell you whether the quality of the rep was good or not cause it falls out of my realm of experience, but all I know is that these characters were a pleasure to read. There’s no pathos about characters being queer (“look! I’m being diverse just to be diverse!” – you know what I’m talking about, some books do this). They just are. In a very honest and natural way.

The Battle Between New And Old

The intersection of the 19th and 20th century: challenges ideas of class, dress and society, especially regarding women and sexual orientation, or just societal norms. Dorina and Evadne symbolize two generations – one is willing to embrace it, the other is unwittingly angered about it, and although she’d like to go with it, she can’t shake propriety. Lady Henry, meanwhile, challenges every belief that of those times by basically flat-out acting like a man. Of course, I find it hard to believe a woman wouldn’t be institutionalized for something like wearing men’s clothes back in that day, or consuming tobacco in public. No matter who she was, or how rich she was. So this calls for some suspension of disbelief, but all in good cause. And it certainly spiced up the story!

Demons And Swords! …And Vigilantes!

Come on. Do I have to elaborate? They summon demons and some of them fence. It’s brilliant! The demons here aren’t evildoers necessarily – they are not always interested in our affairs or meddling with the world. Some of them are pure consciousness that wants merely to appreciate, to enjoy through human eyes. I believe this fits SO well with the Oscar Wilde theme of Dorian Gray – embodies the hedonism so well. You will also read about Lady Henry’s society of appreciation of beauty. Would it be really corny to say I appreciated that a lot? (YES.) As for the swords? No, but seriously. It should just speak for itself!

It’s Just So Incredibly Epic

Just take my word on it! Alright, so you’ll have to suspend your disbelief at times, but hey, isn’t all urban fantasy kind of like that? I particularly like books like this though! It’s not just ever so slightly (and stylishly…) paranormal, it’s also a little bit steampunk through being based in Victorian times (I wouldn’t say full on steampunk, though), and it’s got just the right amount of darkness in it – a mere pinch, all it needs! It reads incredibly comfortably, the characters are great and it moves at just the right pace. What I also liked was all the art appreciation. I mean, it was about an appreciation society! And so much drama between the sisters, and you’re unable to take a single side! I absolutely loved this book and I believe you probably will too.

More Books Like This

Brother’s Ruin (Industrial Magic #1)   Weaver's Lament (Industrial Magic #2)   The Breedling and the City in the Garden (The Element Odysseys #1)   Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1)

I thank the publisher for giving me an early copy of this book in exchange to my honest opinion.

Have you read any books like this, and would you care to recommend? Have you heard about Creatures of Will and Temper yet? Are you going to read it?

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3 years ago

Ooo, this book sounds quite intriguing! I’m quite glad you enjoyed it, although I’m not sure whether I’ll pick it up. It’s not my typical genre, but we shall see! Fabulous review!

3 years ago

I like the challenge between the two centuries thing! Feels relatable And this sounds one crazy rollercoaster read!!

JJ @ This Dark Material

Added this to my to-read shelf as soon as I saw your recommendation on Goodreads! 🙂

JJ @ This Dark Material

I definitely will! 🙂

Utopia State of Mind
3 years ago

UM YES I am so glad more people are screaming about this book. Like oh my goodness, it is absolutely fantastic! I want everyone to scream about it! I LOVED it

Utopia State of Mind
3 years ago

LOL WE DO! I don’t have any off the top of my head like Creatures (because it was so darn good!) but have you read An Unkindness of Ghosts?

Anne Clarence @ The Reading Life

I haven’t read historical fictions often in general. But I am reading books taking place in the past because right now I’m reading Agatha Christie books. I will remember to check this out in the future!

Anne Clarence @ The Reading Life

Oh! Okay :D. Thanks for the correction.

Anna @ Adventures with a Book Nerd

I’ve never heard of this one, but it sounds truly epic! Thanks for the recommendation, I’m off to add it to Goodreads!

3 years ago

This sounds like a pretty fun read, I like that it’s kind of a retelling of Dorian Gray (which I’ve tried to read a dozen times but never quite managed it oops). Wonderful review 🙂

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages

Lovely review! This book indeed sounds intriguing, though I have never heard of it before. Did you get it from NetGalley? I’ll definitely check where can I get this 😀 You are increasing my TBR pile, you know? 😀

Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

Sounds like an amazing book, and quite fun! And it’s a great review; you’ve done a very good job of “selling” me on the book. I’ll keep it in mind if I decide to add any new authors to my already-overflowing want-to-read list. 🙂

Jennifer | Book Den
3 years ago

Thanks for the recommendation on this one! It’s great to see your review and hear all about it. I loved reading Dorian Gray this past year.

Laura Thomas
3 years ago

The sister part really grabs me. I like the gif comparison from Practical Magic. And that kitty cracks me up. Plus, I can’t resist a Dorian Gray plot.

Olivia Roach
3 years ago

Oh my goodness I absolutely loved the gif you used in this post with the cat and the rainbow colours <3 Also, I am glad you were able to enjoy this book so much! I love a good retelling and can never read too many of them. I haven't read the original book The Picture of Dorian Grey yet for some reason although I really want to DD:

Chauncey Rogers
3 years ago

I was reading this post with my toddler daughter on my lap, and she too was quite taken in by the rainbow kitten.
Sounds like an interesting book. I really like The Picture of Dorian Gray. I don’t usually do historical settings–ironically, out of a love of history–but maybe I’ll make an exception for this one at some point.

Karen Blue
3 years ago

Great review! I definitely want to read this now. I do like steampunk and the Victorian era. I especially love Dorian Grey-ish novels.

Daniela Ark
3 years ago

ok here is another reason to call me “a precious little oddity of 2017”.. first.. I had the worst instinct on books last year. I kept passing on great books like thi sone on NetGalley! Because very important reasons like you know.. a) I don’t like retellings? [until I read them and then I love them *roll my eyes waaaay back into my skull* b) Dorian Grey? When did I decide I don’t like that story? I DON’T KNOW. c) Steampunk. I’m crazy about EVERYTHING steampunk BUT books? no? why? who knows! I should be dissected and studied! WHY do… Read more »

Darque Dreamer
3 years ago

Nice review! Adding to my list!

Lashaan Balasingam
3 years ago

This sounds absolutely fantastic. Funnily, I just recently got my hands on The Picture of Dorian Gray, although I have no clue when I’ll ever get around to it. 😛 I love how epic this one sounds though. Tackles so many different subjects and still delivers? Wow. Fantastic review as always, Evelina. 😀

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

Well, this book sounds awesome, I love that it centres on two sisters who are very different and the story sounds really interesting. And there are queer characters too! Well, I don’t know why I’ve not heard about this book but it’s now one I want to read.

Anna @ Read and Repeat

This book sounds so interesting! You have me convinced to put it on my TBR 🙂 I’ve never read Portrait of Dorian Grey but I know the basic idea. Even beyond that aspect of the story, the book sounds pretty cool.

Alexis Kami
3 years ago

I put it on my TBR in the right moment I saw it on Goodreads!!

3 years ago

This book sounds awesome!! I love that you gave A section of books like it!

Jackie B.
3 years ago

I never read The Portrait of Dorian Gray– do you think I need to have read that book in order to appreciate this one? It sounds awesome. I love well-done steampunk novels. They all seem to have us suspend disbelief when it comes to modern ideals of feminism. I’m cool with that because it fits the world I WANT to explore. Sometimes, that’s all we want from literature, right? A new world to explore?

How did you find this book? I probably would have glossed right over it… Silly me!


[…] Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books.  […]


[…] ARCs for Creatures of Want and Ruin and The Fated Sky, both sequels to books I really loved – Creatures of Will and Temper and The Calculating Stars. Then I also hauled three books by Peter Watts, the author of The […]


[…] I’m extremely excited about Creatures of Want and Ruin! I absolutely LOVED the first book, Creatures of Will and Temper – and when a friend told me that another book by Molly is coming out, I grabbed at it through all the means possible! Which is why I now have a review copy through NetGalley AND Edelweiss 😂 but better safe than sorry, right? However, I will still not be reading it for a while, because it comes out only in November. I will continue being excited though! You can read my review of the previous one, Creatures of Will and Temper here. […]


[…] a sequel to Creatures of Will and Temper which I loved with all my heart and you can read the review here. (I have the hardest time remembering both the names. Most of the time I stop at […]

3 years ago

A fabulous review of a really intriguing book. I’m going to make a note of it and see if I can get hold of it at the library…


[…] one, because it’s simply brilliant! You can find my review of Creatures of Will and Temper here and here’s the Goodreads info for the first […]