Posts Tagged ‘ advent ’

James Treadwell: Advent – Ambitious? (Review)

advent

Advent. 439 pages long and I felt most of them go by.

That’s not to say the book is awful. It isn’t. The side note that the protagonist, Gavin, likes Victorian novels does seem to be an autobiographical comment, as another reviewer has noted before me. However, this does not give the book an excuse to lose tension. Between page 250 and around 340 or so I lost interest. It was an uphill battle as I forced myself to keep reading.

In the middle section of this book not much interesting happens, simply put.

I think one of the major issues is the narrative structure. The main protagonist, Gavin, is well crafted and has a character a reader can delve into and enjoy. However, the imposition of the 1500’s magus character does not work brilliantly.

He is essential to the back story and current plot but he is cold, greedy and has no redeeming features. Yes, some villains are like this but it does not seem realistic. There has been an attempt at romance and knowledge gone dark, twisted, but the change, the contrast, is too stark, too unrealistic. He becomes a caricature.

Of course, this may have a lot to do with the layers within the book. It expects a lot of a reader if we are to understand every sly reference. The book alludes to less known corners of Arthurian legend and Faustian tales.

For this, I both reward and condemn. It assumes a reader has more knowledge than a general fantasy reader necessarily may have. Perhaps, in some ways, it is more literary than genre fiction.

However, the novel does break away from the stereotypes of fantasy and strive to create something new, if influenced by the Gothic.

As wikipedia notes from an interview with James Treadwell, the novel (and its assumable the following series) looks at what would happen to modern society should magic be reintroduced to the world as real. This is a concept I myself wrestle with in my own writing (and novel in progress: While I Slept).

At risk of becoming hypocritical, I just feel Treadwell could have done this better. It seems he’s thrown creatures at a page with little thought for why those particular species were picked and the punch lines in the story were too spaced out.

A good 100-150 pages of the novel could be cut and it would be a much better read as, I must say, despite all this criticism, the first 250 and the last 80 pages were a great read. The writing style and turn of phrase can also be, and often is, fantastic.

To sum up, James Treadwell is a great writer and I’m sure we will see more writing from him in future. Hopefully, those books will build on this first one and his writing will improve.

For this book, I give him a score of 3.5/5

Advertisements

Charity Shop Treasures

This Tuesday just gone me and a few of my house mates travelled into town for ‘CharityShopShopping!’ as I love to enthuse.

Of course, I found some clothes: 2 dresses, and 3 tops, but the major find was the books.

Here’s a little pic:

DSC05756

(As when I first pick them  up off the shelves, I find it hard to stop hoarding them to my chest. I just can’t let go – partly ’cause it usually means they all fall to the floor with a thunk. Currently they’re in a haphazard pile on my bed, awaiting a read). Maybe someone with a good editing programme can turn this into an inspirational wallpaper of some sorts/illustrate over the top.

I think I found a good mix of crime and fantasy, even a great book on dream symbolism. Most people may think that a little odd, but it’s going to be really useful when I try to create worlds and new cultures. They have to have symbolism come from somewhere! The avenues open to us in books on the occult and fantasy are almost limitless. Then there’s real life to boot – superstitions, looks, fashion, taboos, food…

Here’s a list of the books and their authors. I think I picked most up for around £1.

DSC05750

  1. ‘The Lovely Bones’ – Alice Sebold (Have heard it’s a good book and intend to do my own research). 
  2. ‘The Mermaids Singing’ – Val McDermid (A serial killer crime book. The blurb caught me: ‘You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder…’)
  3. ‘The Calling’ – Inger Ash Wolfe (First found the author’s name interesting and the grimy cover pretty cool. Then I was interested by a handicapped detective and a body with a ‘mouth moulded into a strangely meaningful shape’).
  4. ‘Three Great Novels – The lost years – Let it Bleed, Black & Blue, The Hanging Garden’ – Ian Rankin. (Three novels in one. How could I resist? Also I’ve read Rankin’s books in a holiday destination’s bookcase and rather enjoyed them so needed more).
  5. ‘Blue Moon’ – Alyson Noel. (Looked familiar. Turns out I’ve probably read this particular novel in the series in ebook format but I don’t remember the plot that well so no worries. Onward reading!)
  6. ‘Ink Exchange’ – Melissa Marr. (Not going to lie – this really was a case of a stunning cover. Then  I looked on the back and eyes and wings pulled me forward. It sounds like a dark tale full of mystery. Can’t wait to get to it!)
  7. ‘The Complete book of Dreams’ – Edwin Raphael. (A great reference book to add to my home library as I build my writer’s den. It looks good from what I’ve looked up so far although a skunk was woefully absent, as was sex. Interesting.)
  8. ‘Advent’ – James Treadwell. (Okay so I bought this book online but it WAS in the charity shop as well when I went out. This is the one I’m reading at the moment. Again, it has a great cover but, more than that, is represented by the Janklow and Nesbit agency and I met one of their agents at the London Book Fair. Also, it just sounded like my kind of read. Magic is on the loose, people see things that aren’t there and cannot conform to the modern day).

Needless to say, my backpack was rather heavy after buying all this! Very much worth it though.
Once I’ve given these a good read I’ll be sure to report back on their contents.

If you know of any great books then please message me, especially if these are great writing references. I need more of those!

Also, if you like fantasy or crime, I’m currently writing a novel which is a blend of both. I’m toying with the title ‘While I Slept’.
My next post will have snippets of the text and some character info most likely but if you want to keep on top of my progress then I’m recording it on twitter almost daily: https://twitter.com/Holly_emma_Ice

Hope you are all well and reading/writing to your heart’s content.

Advertisements
crime writing solutions

Offering guidance and advice to writers of crime fiction.

Sally Bosco

Author of Dark Fiction

Simple Pleasures

Visual Poetry, Photography and Quotes

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Lightning Droplets

Little flecks of inspiration and creativity

adoptingjames

Read our Mission. Find out how you can help us adopt James.