Author: Ross MacKenzie
Illustrator: Julia Iredale
Cover illustrator: Amy Grimes
Publisher: Andersen Press
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade fiction, Fantasy
Book format: Paperback
Description: THE EVERNIGHT HAS BEEN UNLEASHED…
As far back as she can remember Larabella Fox has scraped together a living by treasure-hunting in the sewers. In a city where emotionless White Witches march through the streets and fear of Hag magic is rife, Lara keeps her head down. But when she stumbles upon a mysterious little box in the sewers, Lara finds herself catapulted into a world of wild magic – facing adventure, mortal dangerand a man who casts no shadow.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is an interesting tale with a well thought out plot, but for some reason I struggled to connect with the characters and as a result I just couldn’t enjoy the story as much as I had wanted to. ‘Lara’ is a tosher, someone who spends her days searching beneath the city, in the sewers for hidden treasures that wash up there. But recently strange things are starting to happen in the Silver Kingdom where she lives, a strange dark magic is about to be released. And someone very dangerous is lurking in the sewers, preying on toshers like Lara. A dangerous man who casts no shadow.
This feels like such a well thought out story with a lot happening throughout the book. We’re introduced to a lot of different charcters right away and the first chapter, about Shadow Jack immediately made me want to read this as he’s definitely a brilliantly dark and eerie character. The novel takes on a fast pace as I said, a lot happens, especially in the firt chapters as the action switches between different characters and scenes. I have to admit that I felt the action switched between locations and characters too quickly at first. I’d only just read and understood what was happening with one character before the next scene was unfolding, and then the next. It did lead to a little bit of confusion for me at the start.
The writing style is interesting, it moved the story along well and quickly, but at times it didn’t quite gel for me with descriptions shorter than I’d like (and I’m not a fan of long descriptions), and action switching too fast for me to keep up. I did feel a disconnect with some of the story as a result. As the story moves forward we get to know Lara, her friend Joe and a couple of witches. I have to say that I did like the character Double Eight. He’s the first character I felt I really got to know and connected with and this was probably because a little more time was spend showing his life and what was happening to him. For some reason I just couldn’t connect with Lara and the other characters all that much. A lot happens in the story and there is a very fast pace to the entire tale. This wasn’t a problem, but because of this I never really felt I got to know Lara and the others that much. I felt like I knew what they looked like and what they were doing, but a lot of their personality felt missing.
The magical plot is very good and I could see this being turned into a fantasy adventure movie. The story moves back and forth, showing us what is happening to Lara and her friends as well as showing us what an evil character is doing. The magic is well thought out in this story and I love the new take on how spells are fired using a wand which has a chamber to hold the spells in (a bit like a gun). I also loved the idea and location of a special tree that comes up later in the story, it’s very imaginative and I wish there had been more description about the place or more time spent getting to know the place.
The plot is quite dark and what happens to the city and the people when some dark magic is released is very creepy. I really enjoyed this, I do like spooky and creepy things and I do like the dark take on these things called the Painted and what they end up doing, however there are some descriptions that made me wonder if parts of this story are a little too gory for some younger or more sensitive children. There’s mentions of some blood, brief descriptions of characters being cut or stabbed and there’s even a head being cut off! It’s not overly described, but a few of these descriptions might be a bit too much for very sensitive readers (it would have been for me).
There are some lovely images that form the chapter headers and each chapter has a name rather than being numbered. The cover is also really beautiful, with shiny silver that reflects in the night giving off a beautiful image that first drew me into wanting to read this book.
Although the story is well thought out and the ending is a good and satisfying one, I can’t help but feel disappointed after reading this. I just never felt a connection with the story, despite the really good and well thought out plot. I never felt compelled to keep reading this once I’d put it down, and it feels as if the story would have been so much better if there was a little more description. The characters feeling flat and the way the tale is written just feels as if a lot of descriptions have been cut in favour of the fast pace. And while this is usually beneficial to the writing of a novel (they do say you should cut out any scenes which are unecessary), it does feel as if this book has been overly cut to the point of losing some of the core parts that make you feel real emotion and connection with characters when reading. The amount of action going on in the story is so great that it feels as if there just wasn’t enough description of certain places or people. These might be described in more detail in another book, but I really feel as if there should have been more here.
I’m sure many people will love this book, and in fact, at the moment, I seem to be the only critic of it. I am looking forward to a next book in the series to learn more about the characters and the world they live in, but unfortunately this does feel like a book that just missed a great opportunity to really pull me in emotionally, and while the plot idea is brilliant, and the dark character of Shadow Jack is one I really did love reading about, I just don’t feel like picking this book up again in a hurry.
Have you read Evernight? What fantasy books do you enjoy reading? Do you like the fantasy genre or prefer others? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂