Advent – James Treadwell

Once again I find myself with mixed views over a book. I’ve left the review for a short while, to try to reflect on what it was I liked and disliked.

First, to the story itself – the short prologue is an interesting one, telling of ‘the greatest magnus in the world’, going to his death at sea, apparently taking all of the magic in the world with him.

We are then taken to modern times, where Gavin, a teenage boy, is about to journey alone to Cornwall. Gavin has had a difficult time, seeing things that adults tell him he shouldn’t. He has spent his life aware of Miss Grey, a presence no one else can see.

Gavin is travelling to stay with his aunt for a week, whilst his parents go on holiday, but when he arrives, she is no where to be found. Over the course of a couple of days, his life changes beyond all recognition, as magic begins to re-awaken, with strange and frightening consequences.

Dotted throughout this story, told in reverse, is the story of Johannes, the magnus from the prologue.

The first part of the story was particularly enjoyable – it quickly moves away from predictable,  there’s a great sense of unease, the unknown, and what is to come. There are lots of strange events, and questions being asked, but always there is the implication that answers will be forthcoming.

As the book progresses, events seem more confusing, as more characters are introduced. There’s a very dark feel to this progression, reflected in the dark and powerful storm conditions which arise.

It was towards the end of the book that my views seemed to waver – on the one hand, many things became clear, and I particularly liked Corbo and Holly, strange creatures under the control of the magnus, but who also show their own strength.

In contrast to this feeling of clearness however, the story seemed to lose it’s way, becoming strangely complexed, and a little too dark. There are some unexpected endings for some of the characters, whilst others seem to survive situations they shouldn’t, or find inhuman strength. There’s also a final chapter which opens the way for the 2nd book in the trilogy, which unfortunately seems to continue with more strange, dark creatures.

Looking at recent reviews, the majority seem to really like the book, in particular praising the writing.  On the whole, I agree with these, but I do feel that the ending let down the book for me – the great promise at the beginning didn’t quite work out all the way through. I won’t be looking out for the 2nd book myself, but I can see the trilogy gaining quite a few fans.

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