AUTHOR: Steven Savile
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
RATING: 3/5 Stars
Fifteen-year-old Ashley has a complicated life. There’s no doubt her overachieving parents love her, but they are wrapped up in their own worlds for so much of the time it leaves her feeling like she’s alone.
Like a lot of teenagers, Ashley dreams of other worlds, but unlike a lot of teenagers her world is about to collapse as rifts to an ancient Fae Kingdom begin to open all around her. With the arrival of of a supernatural hit-squad intent on killing her, and an unexpected inheritance, Ashley’s London is about to become a magical and mysterious war zone where the prize is Ashley herself.
Ashley has to find out the secrets of her own life before she is killed.
What I Liked:
- The first part of the book really grabbed me! The opening chapter was really enjoyable and honestly, I thought I had possibly found a new favourite right there and then. Savile seemed to have thought really hard about the world he was building and the creatures that were in it. Some of them even felt really original (such as the Nightgaunt), or at least a new take on the classic mythical creatures we all know and love.
- The world-building in this book is something that remained consistently good throughout. I've mentioned the originality of some of the magical parts, but I was really impressed with Savile's knowledge of London throughout the book. It was so precise and detailed, and living in London meant I recognised most of the places mentioned!
What I Disliked:
- Despite a strong beginning, the story began to lose it's pace (and my interest) as I reached the middle and beyond. Savile is very wordy with his descriptions and I found that the more I read, the more I found he was just saying the same thing but in a hundred different ways. It took up a lot of book time that could have been focused on development (one example being that at the end, he took a good two or three pages to explain the events of a few seconds) and I found the way he went about his explanations read more like an instruction manual in some instances. He was quite fond of short sentences too which grated after a while.
- I really thought that the ending had the potential to save the book, when we finally got to see the Moonlands. Unfortunately at this point, it felt like Savile realised he was running out of book space and dramatically rushed those final chapters. It was a shame because his world-building was so good it would have been nice to be able to fully appreciate it for a second or two. This rushing also meant a great deal of insta-love and out of character decisions I'm afraid.
I felt like Savile was very much focused on the here and now with this book. He could write a three thousand word essay on what that character was thinking and doing at that moment, but I really wanted a moment to learn more about their pasts and personalities. I liked the characters and they, along with everything else, had so much potential. Blackwater Blaze was a really interesting viewpoint and I liked him and Ash as a couple, but their romance (along with the last third of the plot) moved far too quickly and made very little sense. Also I want to see a gradual development when somebody changes their ways, not a complete personality change in two seconds flat. There were some great moments in the book, as I've mentioned before with the world-building and knowledge, but the pacing and writing style were off so it took a nose-dive from being potentially a fantastic book to an okay, slightly disappointing one. I did like the cliffhanger at the end though and I would be interested to read a sequel if there was to be one.