Both parts of this dark, folk-myth fantasy stand quite well as novella-type books. They each talk about what’s beyond the veil that protects us from fairies and similar.
Where it really falls down is the linkage. We go from two innocent boys to two troubled adults with minimal exploration of why. Instead its very much “bad stuff happened” offscreen which is quite jarring and could really have done with a few chapters of them growing up and meeting up. I mean its logical how they both end up somewhat disfunctional, but some things have to be experienced.
This was possibly to be expected as the early setup had a similar feel, with leaps in how relationships within the family twisted and how this damaged everyone involved. We were taken through all the steps of what was happening but I didn’t feel any connection to it.
The fantasy elements were brilliantly done, with a very strong helping of the no gift without a curse trope. There was a good exploration of the interplay between magic and humans strongest desires, and how the best and worst of humanity are so often linked.