Written by: James Treadwell.
Published by: Hodder UK.
Released: 2nd February 2012.
Official synopsis: "For centuries it has been locked awayLost beneath the sea. Warded from earth, air, water, fire, spirits, thought and sight. But now magic is rising to the world once more. And a boy called Gavin, who thinks only that he is a city kid with parents who hate him, and knows only that he sees things no one else will believe, is boarding a train, alone, to Cornwall. No one will be there to meet him."
I'm going to be perfectly honest from the start, I found this a weird book to read, almost difficult in places. And again, being honest, I'm not entirely sure why.
When the proof/arc landed through my letterbox last September, I was intrigued. It was stunning. A white paperback with a black wrap-around cover. And the premise was fantastic. Magic returning to a world that has no clue it exists. Brilliant. Again, like with The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker, I felt it was too early to read it for a Feb 2012 publication, so I put it aside. Last week, I received a finished copy, and thought great, now my proof can stay in perfect condition. I picked it up, started to read and I'll admit I was hooked.
But there's something off about the book and still now, a week after finishing it, I'm not sure what it is. It's brilliantly written, the prose is rich and enticing, and the premise is still there but it isn't entirely what I was expecting at all. The book flips from present day Cornwall to a time when magic was still feared in the 1500's. Sometimes I felt like the flips in time came at the wrong place - when something exciting was about to happen, and it'd be a chapter before you could jump back - kind of breaking up the flow of the story. I suppose it's a good thing because it certainly made me want to read on to see what would happen next, but at times I felt myself sigh. Not again...
Anyway, the premise itself is very strong in the book and with Treadwell's prose it's haunting and terrifying in equal measure.
Gavin as an actual character is great. I think Treadwell gets the teenage voice spot on, before flipping to the speech style of the sixteenth century. Gavin is lost really. His parents have packed him off to Cornwall but when he gets there, his expected welcome from his aunt isn't there... No one is there to greet him.
The book has a certain gothic feel that chilled me to the bone and has left me eager to see how the story continues in the second book of the planned trilogy. Hopefully it can draw me in even deeper than Advent did. Whilst I didn't love it, it is a good book and looks set to be a massive success!