Book Review: Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

About the Book:

Title: Half a Soul

Author: Olivia Atwater

Series: Regency Faerie Tales #1

Page Length: 304

Publication Date: June 28, 2022

Publisher: Orbit Books

Synopsis: It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

Bridgerton meets Howl’s Moving Castle in this enchanting historical fantasy, where the only thing more meddlesome than faeries is a marriage-minded mother.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Half a Soul is such a unique and entertaining historical romance/fantasy. I haven’t read many books that mesh historical romance and fantasy so well, and I enjoyed how the author weaved together the different genres. The book is described as Howl’s Moving Castle meets Bridgerton, which is a great comparison!

Dora is a fantastic protagonist. A woman who had half her soul taken when she was a child, Dora barely feels emotions. Often, she observes the emotions and responses of others so that she doesn’t stand out too much. She is witty and astute, if a bit socially perplexing, and I found her to be very compassionate and caring for a person who lacks feelings. Much of the story focuses on people trying to help Dora regain her soul, but Dora’s journey also involves helping her cousin find a husband, facing the inequities and social injustices in their world, falling in love, and facing her past.

Elias is also a well-developed and compelling character. At first, I didn’t love Elias. He was too grumpy and insulting toward Dora. However, he grew on me as we saw a totally different side to this mysterious sorcerer. Elias is generous and humble, and his morals and feelings about the unfair treatment in society are admirable. He is so different from how he presents himself to the world. He is harsh and abrasive and insulting at times, but he’s also honest and passionate about the causes and people he believes in. Luckily, people like Alberts and Dora see past his grumpy shell to the honorable and kind man underneath.

And oh my word, the romance between Dora and Elias is wonderful! The banter between them sizzles from their first comical meeting, and I couldn’t get enough of this couple. I love how Dora challenges Elias, as not many other people would be brave enough to do so. It’s so interesting that a woman who can’t feel actually understands him almost better than anyone else. Their feelings for each other are lovely, and several scenes had me drawing hearts in the book and swooning. One particular scene where Dora and Elias dance together is so magical and romantic. I’m smiling just thinking about it.

I also love the relationships between Dora and Vanessa, as well as Elias and Albert. Dora and Vanessa are cousins, and they have a strong bond. Their devotion to and love for each other parallels Elias and Albert’s friendship, which is also one of my favorites. Their friendship is built on loyalty, respect, and admiration, and they seem more like brothers than friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It’s fun and original, and I loved the characters and the romance. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and learning more about the faerie world and those who inhabit it. Thanks so much to Orbit Books for gifting me an advanced copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The relationships between Dora & Vanessa and Elias & Albert
  • The fantasy elements.

Favorite Lines:

It is easy to be kind and generous and honorable when there is little to lose by it.

It may be true you have half a soul…but that does not make you half a person.


I would recommend Half A Soul to readers who enjoy unique stories with great protagonists and enemies-to-lovers romance.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

  1. Such a wonderful review!!! I’ve been seeing this book everywhere but wasn’t sure what it was about, so your review is very helpful for me to decide if it’s for me 😊😊

  2. Omg this sounds so wonderful! 🥹 I love Howl’s Moving Castle so much and the accuracy of the comp makes me even more excited to give this book a try! Even if I was on the fence about it before, your review defo would’ve made me want to pick it up asap. So glad you enjoyed this one! Fab review, Julie!

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