Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Book Review: F. E. Higgins - The Phenomenals: A Tangle Of Traitors

       
I remember being gripped many years ago by this author's debut book 'The Black Book Of Secrets'. This was a brilliant and slightly different read to anything else at that time. It was certainly an exciting platform for the start of her writing career - a book that made me into a huge fan. This is now her sixth book to have been published and the start of a new series. One, that in my opinion, will find a new readership. So step this way into the new world of F. E. Higgins.....

From the very first page, you will note the interesting use of words and, at times, experimental vocabulary that conjures up a flavour to this unusual adventure. I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the writing. I found myself looking up many of the words to find that they were not in the dictionary that I possessed. However, they certainly added to the interest of the story and the plot.

With this story we are thrown into a great twisted adventure full of eerie and somewhat macabre comings and goings that I have come to expect from this author. There is an undercurrent of a supernatural or, in this book, a Supermundane nature that will tug at your soul. I was hoping for more of the story to be developed, but I was left wanting more to quench my thirst.

The book is full of phenomenal characters that will both intrigue and engage you on different levels. Citrine Capodel - heiress to a corrupt empire and framed for a murder she did not commit; Folly Harpelaine - a merciless destroyer of Lurids, who dabbles in the dark arts; Jonah Scrimshander - a deadly harpoonist, who has already cheated death and, Vincent Verdigris (my favourite with such a great name) who is light-fingered but even lighter on his feet. That's just for starters. The next motley crew include Edgar (brother to Citrine evil) and heartless Leopold Kamptulicon, who hangs out with his old pal - a Lurid ghost who has risen from the tar pits. A beastly destination for the dead. This is a putrid place full of Wraiths - the traitors and murderers who have drowned in its bubbling depths. 

I loved the storyline as it was both clever and funny. Although the imaginative elements, at times, were very creepy. The depiction of the tar pits and Vincent's encounter with the torture chair were both gripping and enthralling to read. Fiona has stretched her creative juices and let everything go in this book. The expectations for this book have been delivered making it a mouth-watering beginning for the next book "A Gaggle of Ghouls" which is due to be published in 
August.

Published by Macmillan Children's Books
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