buy this book, read it, pass it on
5 April 03, 2019
I didn't quite know what to expect to begin with, especially having relatively little experience in the fantasy genre, but by the end of the first part of the book, I was hooked.
It's the kind of story that pulls you in with both hands and doesn't let go until you realise it's been three hours since you last blinked. The twists and turns make it impossible to put down - "just one more chapter", you'll say to yourself, every 10-20 minutes.
Without giving anything away, the story is superbly driven, from start to finish, and for the uninitiated there are a number of points along the way where your hairs will stand on end. The story is spellbinding and you sense that in every chapter, the author has pored over every minute detail, probably for years on end, to create a living, almost tangible experience for the reader. You feel as though you know the characters, particularly the protagonist, and this itself is a reason you want to read on. You want to know how things turn out - or rather you need to know how things turn out.
The characters, as I've already mentioned, are masterfully created. Again, you get the idea that the author has been creating these souls over a long period of time before writing the book, because every idiosyncrasy, every back story and every personality is so well rendered. There is never a hiccup. Never does one character act differently to the way they did in the last chapter, never do they speak differently and never does the author spring a cheap twist by making any of the characters change to suit the plot. All of these details mean that you empathise with the characters and feel as though you have known them for a long time, a sign of a talented author.
Clearly, the author has a keen eye for detail and this book is all the better for it. Hopefully she can weave up something similar for the future books in the series, because I believe Vivian's story will be loved by many readers of all ages.
There are some dark bits that some people may find disturbing, so I recommend reading it yourself before introducing younger children, but having said that, it depends on where in the world you grew up. There are clear influences of Nordic folklore, shades of the brothers Grimm (something I haven't seen compared yet) and those who are familiar and ok with that won't be put off by the darker aspects. Myself, I believe my children would love the story and I think there are some fantastic and inspiring messages sprinkled throughout this book that far outweigh the darker parts. Viv's reality is a reflection of our own and so expect some evil.
Finally, I must say that I fully recommend this book. There are no plateaus in the story, the characters are tangible, the themes are unique and exciting, the world has been painted with expertise beyond the authors (presumed) age and most importantly, the plot just keeps giving.
Please, if you haven't already, buy this book, read it, pass it on and help this talented author receive some much deserved exposure.