1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Original review posted on Lily Loves Indie as part of a blog tour and an ARC copy was received - http://lilylovesindie.co.uk/?p=281
I said it to start this review, but seriously, it needs saying again, this is quite simply, one of THE best books I have read this year (and that statement packs a punch given there are only 3 days left in this year!) and it really isn’t an overstatement, promise! I’ll have to ask you to bear with me as I will probably waffle slightly as I gush with merriment at how wonderful this book is, and how fantastic this author is at drawing you into the tale.
A story of love, strange worlds and power struggles between good and evil. Tabitha is born into a struggle and a new world that has been hidden from her for her whole life, just so she can be kept safe. Nathan is her protector, his love for her pure and totally sincere. The other characters are double agents, guardians of Tabitha, there to ensure safe passage to the Northern Gate and her home land, when the time comes.
So, having started off with how great I found this book, I suppose I really should elaborate further on my 5 star rating! Firstly, one of the characters, Nyleh/Helen, is portrayed as having dementia, or other similar memory trouble. Now, this might seem like a really tiny thing to pick up on, but bear with me on this, it was fantastically written. I know several individuals who have suffered with these kinds of problems and Clarke had it spot on throughout. The ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’, the confusion, the way it tires those closest to them more than the individual suffering. It was all perfect, and that made me understand and engage so much more in the book because it was clear it was well thought of and accurate. Like I said, it’s a teeny tiny thing, but to me, having experienced this first hand in my own life, a huge thing that lots of authors mess up. Huge high five to Clarke for doing it right and doing it justice.
Another amazing thing about this book is how mysterious it is throughout. Usually, an author hints at mystery and then gives in halfway through, but Clarke holds the suspense from the first page to the last, never letting the reader know more than what is absolutely necessary for the part of the story. This makes it incredibly addictive and compulsive reading as you literally cannot put the book down at any point. It’s really phenomenally paced and just excellent. I’m sort of at a loss on how to express it, but the mystery, it’s just amazing. You know little more than Tabitha, so it really helps you engage and invest emotionally in the characters as you feel in the same boat, as it were. It’s very skillfully done and I doff my hat to Clarke as I know it can’t have been easy!
Something else I truly adored in this book is the beautiful development of the romance and intimacy between Tabitha and Nathan. It’s so intricately and delicately shown to us that at times it almost felt like we shouldn’t be seeing it because it’s too private a union. At times, when they were sharing thoughts and feelings, I felt a little awkward for being party to it, which is strange as I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, but I was just overwhelmed by their love for each other. I’m not a soppy person, as much as I like a happy ending and a bit of romance, but I adored their trueness and devotion to each other, despite their recently new relationship. It was just wonderful, and so well done that it’s left me speechless once again!
In addition, the characters deserve a mention. I’ll keep this short, as I alluded to it earlier on, but the characters are a wonderful bunch. Nathan and Tabitha are excellent leading characters, both strong in their own ways, and they lead a wonderful ensemble of other characters who are each unique and add something to the story. Sarah, Lewis and Lucy are all gradually introduced, allowing us as readers to become used to them, similar to how Tabitha does, in small stages. This makes it much more easy to understand them and their motives, and as such, makes the story that much more interesting from all angles.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the ending to this book is an absolute corker! Talk about cliff hanger! Even with the little extra snippet at the end, there’s still not enough to leave you satisfied. The twist, the sudden end, it’s all fantastically done and leaves you really wanting, well, actually more like needing more of this story. It’s rare a story grips me so hard and so completely but Clarke has got me good and I will honestly be counting down the days to the release of the sequel.
So, to conclude, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The whole premise and storyline is incredibly well thought out and developed, so subtly alluded to from the first page that you truly believe this other world is out there and you’ve just been walking around with your eyes wide shut. It feels familiar and known, it’s a great feeling. The whole story is engaging, enticing, incredibly well written and a delight from start to finish. So, only thing left to do is twiddle my thumbs and wait patiently for the next in the series….