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Creatures of Will and Temper

Creatures of Will and Temper

By Molly Tanzer

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

John Joseph Adams/ Mariner Books

Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date 14 November 2017


Simply exquisite, Creatures of Will and Temper is an exotic bloom of a fantasy novel. It is not only a wondrous homage to Wilde’s Dorian Gray, it stands in it’s own right as a literary work.

The novel centers around two sisters, Evagne and Dorina Gray. The younger Dorina yearns to be an art critic, to experience and explore the art world of London. Her vibrance makes Evagne’s taciturn stolidness seem all the more dull and unpalatable. Evagne has limited love of beauty and has been disappointed both in love and by her sister’s actions. Her only love is that of fencing, the physical pleasure of achievement. It is only natural that the connection that Dorina forms with the captivating and completely unconventional Lady Henry troubles her. Lady Henry is a diabolist whose focus is aesthetic enjoyment. Henry’s unconventional approach to life, her intelligence and her fearlessness attract Dorina immediately. Evagne on the other hand fears her influence and distances herself from both Lady Henry and her sister. Instead, she goes to a fencing academy, meeting the instructor she always desired. But nothing is as it seems, and not all demons are the same.

Aesthetics, morality, sexuality and art as a means of expressing its creator are all concepts that are explored within the pages of Creatures of Will and Temper. It is a novel that is thought provoking. Like Lady Henry, it doesn’t seek to influence the reader, but encourages the reader to ask their own questions. This is a character and concept driven fantasy rather than an action driven one.

5 / 5

I received a copy of Creatures of Will and Temper from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



A Victorian urban fantasy featuring duelists, demons, and the dark arts, inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders . . . and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister, aspiring art critic Dorina. Unfortunately for Evadne, she soon learns too much about all of it when Dorina meets their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton. A semi-respectable aristocrat in public, in private she is secretly in the thrall of a demon obsessed with beauty and pleasure. When Lady Henry and Dorina immediately hit it off, Evadne abandons her chaperone duties and enrolls in a fencing school. There, she meets the fencing master she’s always dreamed of. But soon, George reveals he is more than just a teacher. He has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and their servants, and he needs Evadne’s help. As Evadne gets pulled further into this hidden world, she begins to suspect that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist. Even worse, she believes Dorina may have joined her. Combining swordplay, demons, and high society, Creatures of Will and Temper shows a timeless world and adventure readers won't soon forget.

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