Dethroned / Inimical

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Moribund | Derailed | Ouroboros

Inimical was written by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge and first published in 2018. It is the third full-length novel of the Circuit Fae series, following on from Moribund (2017) and Ouroboros (2017). The series also includes a couple of shorter novellas; a prequel called Derailed (2018) and Dethroned (2018), which takes place between Ouroboros and Inimical. I would certainly recommend reading all of these instalments before tackling Inimical if you want to have any idea of what is going on.

When Rouen and Syl made a soul-bond, they thought that their troubles would be over. However, their desire to be together has instead sparked a cataclysm within both of the fae realms. The two worlds are set to collide on Midsummer’s Day and both princesses are told that the only way that they can save their respective kingdoms are to take their thrones. Trouble is, this will only ensure the safety of one realm. The other – and its princess – will perish.

To make matters worse, King Reinghûl of Dark Faerie has lost his mind. Severed from the hearthstone, he has taken extreme measures to ensure that he remains in power. Driven insane by his dark side, he engineers a new breed of Moribund – the Inimical – which allows him to completely control the infected. To make matters worse the Inimical is also immune to Syl’s fire, which means that she can do nothing to stop it.

Realising that there is no way to save her father, Rouen challenges him to a Battle of Wits and War. The victor will become the new ruler of Dark Faerie, while the loser will perish. However, the battle is only a few weeks away, so it will be a miracle if Rouen and Syl can survive frequent attacks by Reinghûl’s assassins, figure out a way to defeat the Inimical and stop the Great Convergence before then. Rouen knows that she has hidden depths that may help to give her an edge. However, this would mean succumbing to her own darkness…

Before I talk about Inimical, let’s just take a moment to discuss the novella that came before it. Unlike Derailed, which added further detail to a story already told in Moribund, Dethroned really is an essential read and Inimical does not make any sense at all without it. This is purely because Inimical does not pick up directly where Ouroboros left off. Instead, it explains how Reinghûl lost his mind and the sequence of events that resulted in his severance from the hearthstone.

Dethroned, in my opinion, is probably the best instalment of this series to date. While it is rather short, it presents a nice mini-adventure for Rouen. It also allows the reader a first-hand glimpse of how Dark Faerie is ruled, showing the wide variety of creatures that populate the kingdom. This world-building is certainly long overdue in the series. While we have had glimpsed both the Underhollow and the Overhill before, this is the first time that any character has spent any real time at either of them. And I loved it.

The novella also serves to further strengthen the relationship between Syl and Rouen, testing the strength of their new soul-bond and showing the lengths that they will go to protect each other. Although the series had a bit of a rocky start, Dethroned showed me the strength of Eldredge’s writing, making me curious to see where the plot would head now that both Dark and Light Faerie were starting to awaken. Unfortunately, Inimical struggled to keep up this momentum.

The pacing of Inimical just felt a little off. While it hit the ground running and contained some scenes of fast-paced action, the story seemed to move in fits and starts as, even in the face of the apocalypse, the girls seem unable to shrug off their daily routine of school sports and rock concerts. Yet it is impossible to deny that the stakes have never been higher for Rouen and Syl as even the opening chapter strongly indicates that their romance is dooming them both.

Yet, as tense as their romance and the looming Midsummer deadline is, I did find that I was frequently lost. Eldredge has a bad habit of name-dropping her unique concepts and introducing fae races without really explaining them. As with earlier instalments of the series, to enjoy this book you really just have to suspend all disbelief. True explanations of the way that the magical world works are not forthcoming and to enjoy the novel you really just have to roll with it.

It also quickly became apparent that Inimical is a story of two halves and I found this to be a lot more jarring than in previous instalments. While the build up towards the Battle of Wits and War should be tense, the novel skipped over a lot of the preparation for this. Instead, it spent this time focusing on a sub-plot about a school softball game that ultimately did not go anywhere. While it felt a little like it was setting up Becca to be Fiann’s “mean girl” replacement, the softball game was ultimately interrupted by the climax and so this whole plot thread was left unresolved.

I also found that the pacing issue was not helped by the narrative voice of the story. This is a problem that I have raised before but, despite their very different upbringings, both Syl and Rouen speak with the same voice. This is frustrating as they use the same turns of phrase and describe the same events over and over. We don’t really need to be reminded that one realm will be destroyed during the Great Convergence in every chapter, and hearing the two protagonists repeatedly refer to each other as though they are objects – “My Girl / My Princess” – is incredibly jarring.

Ultimately, it made the high school set portions feel as though they had been tacked on, used merely to fill time and pad out the novel until Midsummer. Yet, as the date finally arrived, the novel did become gripping. The final battle against Reinghûl is well paced and utterly enthralling. However, once this was resolved, the story disappointed me with its final sting. This caused Inimical to break off on a rather horrific cliff-hanger, which would have been better left for either a future novella or the next true instalment.

Yet I still do like the two protagonists. While all other characters have faded into the background a little since Fiann’s death, there is obvious chemistry between Rouen and Syl. While I am not sure where all the focus on Rouen’s dark side has come from (I don’t remember it having a voice in any other instalment), I certainly did not want anything bad to happen to either of them and the main reason that I kept reading was purely because I was curious how (or if) they would be able to save the day without making an unthinkable sacrifice.

Anyhow, I think that about covers everything. While Inimical was not my favourite instalment of the series, I am curious to see how the cliff-hanger will be resolved in the next instalment. Given how Inimical ends, I am also hopeful that the fourth novel will focus less on the girls’ school lives and spend a lot more time in Faerie. Here’s hoping I will have something more positive to say about this series when Nemesis is released next year!

Dethroned can be purchased as an eBook on

Inimical can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Sobeks 2018 – Part 4 | Arkham Reviews

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