On a recent trip to Paris, I visited my favourite Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, situated in the breath-taking region of Notre Dame Cathedral. It was an especially welcomed visit on a particularly cold and rainy day. This was the first book that I selected fron the vast shelves of books. The cracking book cover first drew me in. However, it soon turned out to be a book that I particularly liked the sound of. Interestingly, the book begins in Paris in 1903 - that'sfate if you ask me! It will come as no surprise that I really needed to read this book during my wonderful stay.
This is the first book in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow series. It is a brilliant debut book that encompasses so many fantastic elements into one book. It is based around a nineteenth century gothic setting which is particularly mesmerising to read. It has so much distinctive details that it will take your breath away. The fantastic steampunk elements are set in the golden age of steam with spark reactors powering nearly everything from airships to the coffee machine on the Orient Express.
The Light and Shadow realms are weaved into the real world - spirited fairies mingling with the Nightwalkers. This brings a much needed supernatural element to the book that will give readers a lot of enjoyment. Blood-thirsty in nature, they roam the dark hours of the night and walk openly among the unsuspecting populace reeking havoc.
The mysterious Mr March is a human Warlock who lives for centuries. However, he showed no particular magical powers throughout the book and, in my opinion, needed perhaps a little bit more spark to do the role justice. The Alchemists on the other hand were great fun to read about as they plotted to unleash a magical apocalypse. Stylishly written in a particularly imaginative and creative way they really add to the story.
Elle Chance is the main character - she shares her perspectives and feelings throughout the story. She creates an inner glow that is radiated through every page and leaves you feeling very content. She's a particularly feisty female in charge of her own business - a small flight freight service. However, one day, a cargo that was supposed to be delivered sends her life through a changing set of events. These prove to be pretty spectacular events that hold some punchy twists and turns.
The books attention to detail really makes it stand out and makes for a fantastic reading experience. The only thing that perhaps let this book down was the romantic liaison between the two lead characters. It got a little too much towards the end of the book. I would have preferred to have seen a different approach as it spoilt it a little bit. Nevertheless, this book is a fantastic read full of surprises. As part of a series, I hope that the next book will deliver another eclectic mix of all things good.
Published February 7th 2013 by Del Rey