I’m a solid fan of this author’s work – see my review of The Hadrumal Crisis – and have always enjoyed the politically aware worldbuilding and sharp characterisation of her epic fantasy novels, all set in the same world. This one, however, is a complete break from her former body of work. This is, in effect, a very Brit take on the urban fantasy sub-genre, where the supernatural world interacts with the human version in trying to get to the bottom of a crime. But instead of grimy city streets, the setting is an English stately home and instead of the usual fare of vampires and werewolves, we have dryads, boggats and wyrms…
A hundred years ago, a man with a secret could travel a few hundred miles and give himself a new name and life story. No one would be any the wiser, as long as he didn’t give anyone a reason to start asking questions. These days, that’s not so easy, with everyone on social media, and CCTV on every street corner. So Daniel Mackmain keeps his head down and keeps himself to himself. But now a girl has been murdered and the Derbyshire police are taking a closer look at a loner who travels from place to place, picking up work as he goes. Worse, Dan realises the murder involves the hidden world he was born into. When no one else can see the truth, who will see justice done?
A modern fantasy rooted in the ancient myths and folklore of the British Isles.
And she has absolutely nailed it. This is a complete and utter joy. I loved the character of Daniel, part-dryad, who is desperate to meet up with others in his situation and when he finally tracks down someone who can help – it doesn’t end well… He is a sympathetic protagonist with a few chips on his shoulder – not surprising given his heritage and how it has caused him problems. He is tall, well-built and innately attracts women. While that might sound like dream attributes, in reality it has caused him a lot of problems with annoyed boyfriends and brought unwelcome attention from the police, when such incidents turn into brawls.
I love the setting of a country district – McKenna has got the social faultlines running through modern England spot on. While the beautiful setting, juxtaposed with the grim threat reaching back into history and now posing a possibility of creating havoc all over again, works beautifully. This one grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until I put it down in the wee small hours, drained and slightly giddy.
The book hangover I’ve had since has been painful, because despite reading perfectly enjoyable, well written adventures, they haven’t been this world, with these characters. I want them back. I want more. And I’m hoping, fervently, that McKenna has plans to make this a series, because I’m already addicted.
Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and murder stories with a very cool paranormal twist.
I love seeing 10/10 reviews from you😊 This does sound so good. I like the idea of a different kind of urban fantasy, especially one that gives you a book hangover. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!
Oh yes – this one is awesome! I would love someone else to read it so we can swoon over the world together…:)
Wow. You did love this one. I need to check it out. You find books I’ve never heard of!
Oh, I really think you, too, will love this one, Laura:)). She is a wonderful writer and this is her at her very best…
This book intrigued me when you first mentioned it in a previous post, and now that I’ve read your review I understand why it called out to me 🙂 so that I added it to my “wanted” list.
I know what you mean about finding a particularly good, well-written story and for a while not being able to find its equal: it might be unfair to other good books, but when this kind of work touches us so deeply there is nothing to be done about it…
Thanks for sharing!
You’re very welcome, Maddalena. Yes… it’s not that often that a book sinks its hooks RIGHT in my soul like that. And the lovely thing is that when I say a thing like that on this site – I know other folks visiting will know EXACTLY what I mean. Which doesn’t happen all that often in real life…:)
Oooo, I’m digging this, and putting on my Goodreads list! 😀
Oh do! I’d love to get your take on it – there is a real Brit feel about this book and the supernatural creatures are wonderful, based as they are on ancient folklore from around the country.
This certainly sounds FASCINATING!! I LOVE stories based on ancient legends, and this one certainly does seem to fit the bill! Besides, the legends of the British Isles are particularly enthralling! So thanks for the heads-up on this one, Sara! I’m adding it to my Goodreads shelves!
Thanks for the lovely review, as well!! HUGS!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂
So glad you, too, love the idea of the British legends infusing this fantasy – I’d love to get your view of this one, given that I simply fell in love with it:)).xxx
Added to the wishlist. Sounds terrific and like something I would love.
It is – my favourite book of the year so far…
Wow! Impressive rating. Your description of the book leaving you drained and slightly giddy was how I felt after finishing the last pages of Housekeeping by Marilynn Robinson. I still am not sure about the ending. Another book club friend and I decided to bring it up at the next meeting where we are scheduled to discuss this particular book.
Oh, this one really blew me away… Yes – books that get under your skin and inhabit your inscape do leave you drained, don’t they?
I love that you are teaming up with a friend to chat over how the Marilynn Robinson book leaves you feeling… I hope you are having a great weekend, Rae:)
Ooooh, this sounds very interesting! I’m definitely putting it on my wishlist. (And I’m not sure whether I should thank you or complain that I added yet another book to the long queue… 😉 )
I know… I know – but at the risk of sounding like a used-car salesman – this one really IS special.
I’ll keep my eye on it. Thinking of getting a new e-reader for Christmas (the old one is like 10 years old…), so my reading habits might finally pick up.
Ooo… a new e-reader! How exciting, Joanna:)