Rownie, the youngest in Graba the witchworker's household of stray children, escapes and goes looking for his missing brother. Along the way he falls in with a troupe of theatrical goblins and learns the secret origins of masks. Now Graba's birds are hunting him in the Southside of Zombay, the Lord Mayor's guards are searching for him in Northside, and the River between them is getting angry. The city needs saving — and only the goblins know how.
I bought this book purely on the book cover as you probably know that I'm a sucker for a good front cover. In fact I was drawn in purely on this alone - it has been illustrated brilliantly by Alexander Jansson. Perhaps a question that might be asked is did the cover live up to the story within? I have to say that it did ...
I didn't know anything about the author or the book before I started reading. Therefore, I was very interested to see how it would read. The first thing that I noticed from the start was its cast of colourful characters that leapt off the page. They were very interesting to read and intriguing to follow.
The author soon sets out his stall in building a great setting. I immediately became immersed and lost within it. I have not read many books this year that will come close to establishing such a great setting. The author has skilfully dreamt up a place of awe and one that I enjoyed visiting and being apart of very much.
Equally, I loved the unique and original ideas - these are becoming harder to find as so many books are now being published. However, they really worked within this story. The distinctive language had a style of its own that flowed through the pages. This perhaps holds similarities with the great writer, Catherynne M Valente, who also has a similar style of writing. Every page you read makes you think and evaluate the story. The heart of the book is very complex and at times I wasn't sure whether I was grasping what the author was intending. Therefore, I found myself revisiting certain parts of the book, but it was a good for me to do this as I did not want to miss anything by rushing through the pages.
I was really intrigued by the masks coming to life - this section was fascinating to read as it gave the story a real fantasy element. The idea of the inhabitants of Zombay running around with clock work parts, gears and sprockets to fix the human body was a particularly cool concept. It injected the story with a slight steampunk theme, and one that I really loved reading.
There is a lot going on within so few pages. In fact once the story comes to an end, you will want to start the book all over again. This book is like a clockwork automaton as it runs on its very own magic right up to the end. This is a book for the reader who enjoys the power of words and a great story. A recommended book for definite.