Captures that sense of endless hope that readers have on behalf of their characters ... Where noir tales are traditionally heavily masculine...Polk places the majority of the story’s agency in the hands of its women ... Polk’s heart-wrenching, gorgeous story is the type to stick with readers long after they turn the last page. The prose itself is luminous ... Even as readers think they know what’s coming next, there are surprises and twists ... Evocative prose and their mysterious tale of bargains and risks ... The journey to get to the ending is worth it.
Excellent worldbuilding. The novella may be short—under 150 pages—but it isn’t shallow or hollow. Readers get a good sense of the world these people live in, the magical systems, and enough historical background to give context to the present ... Some of the characters are sketched too thin, but Helen is a fascinating antihero ... The mystery is a little too easy to figure out and the ending is a little too pat, but overall it’s a thrilling, charming novella.
A stylish magical noir with a heartbreakingly human love story at the center ... Even Though I Knew the End rockets along from the very first page, and Polk’s ability to enrich the story while upping the pace is impressive ... Each detail [is] woven into the narrative exactly when it’s required. A sense of mystery and discovery is ever present ... Fantastically rendered depiction of a celestial war ... Immediately compelling ... Gripping final chapters.
Genre-bending fantasy ... Though readers will wish they had more time to explore this shadowy world, Polk’s focus on character development makes every interaction matter as they craft a layered exploration of love and power with genuine emotional stakes and a soaring, perfectly bittersweet payoff. It’s another winner.