Published by: Popcorn & Rice Publishing
Publication date: 31st July 2013
Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that’s what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn’t exactly normal …
Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who can alone see the real ‘Creatures’ which inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like Ewan, go to learn the ways of the Creatures.
A huge thank you to the author for sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I went into this book not knowing what to expect but I was drawn to it because it sounded similar to two other fantasy/paranormal series I’d read. I was expecting it to be the same and was settling in for another spin on these other popular series but it’s actually pretty different and unique. It was an incredibly fascinating read with very likeable characters and a story that left me hungry for more. Shaun Hume is an incredibly talented writer and I was in awe of how richly detailed his writing is.
Just before the book starts, there’s a chilling quote and it really sets the spooky atmosphere for the book:
“Whispers in the night, the White Wraith will call, Slicing through the air, they will come for us all, Turbulent in mind, it claws at your soul, Spirits taken away, bodies left to fall.“
This is so freaking creepy and I love it! It gave me serious chills and had me frantically swiping the pages on my phone, eager to start this story. Which leads me on to talk about the prologue because damn that was AMAZING! It was so beautifully written and Shaun definitely has a way with words. In just a few short pages I was unable to look away from my phone. I had to know what was happening and who this mysterious girl was. Plus she was there to kill someone so I was like an assassin? Aw hell yes! Digging assassin’s lately.
I said in my WWW Wednesday post that I didn’t really enjoy the start of this book and that’s mainly because when Ewan first arrives at Firedrake, I found his descriptions of the place to be very overwhelming. I found it hard to be picture what everything looked like and even the inside was hard to imagine. I felt like I was being bogged down by how descriptive it was. I can’t deny that Shaun’s writing is impressive but there was too many words being used to describe one thing if that makes sense. I just think it could have been a lot simpler and some of the descriptions were a bit unnecessary. Plus there was quite a few metaphors used but they are just wasted on me. I didn’t like all the weird metaphors in Nevernight and only really enjoyed it when we got past all the descriptive stuff. Which is the same for this book because once every detail had been exhausted that’s when I started liking it more. There was less emphasis on description and more story telling as Ewan started attending classes focusing on magic and fighting to name a couple. I felt for him when he had to do exercise because I, too, hate exercise and I hated P.E. in school. I just prefer lounging around reading a good book and stuffing my face with unhealthy food.
What I’d have liked to see in this book was more background from some of the characters. There’s a trio of characters: Ewan, Mathilde and Enid. Since Ewan is the main character we obviously know his backstory from the start: He comes from a horrible line of foster families, he can see creatures no one else can and he has no friends. Which leads him being sent to Firedrake (awesome name, by the way) and joining others of his kind. I kept forgetting that Ewan was only eleven because he acts much older, it honestly felt like he was sixteen or seventeen. So it kind of shocked me when he realised it was his twelfth birthday. I think it would have been better if they were older but I understand why they were only kids.
On to Mathilde who I warmed to right from the start. I couldn’t stop grinning whenever she said the word “dude” she just came across as such a chill character. But she had her secrets. We got to find out what those secrets were and then she revealed more of her past and why she had come to Firedrake. It was quite sad but I’d like to learn more about Mathilde because I thought her backstory was really interesting.
I think Enid was possibly my favourite after Mathilde. Enid was awesome, she was such a badass for an eleven year old. Plus she was a freaking pirate! I love pirates! To me though she is still quite a mysterious character. I have no idea how she came to be at Firedrake and I don’t think it was explained. We got to see some of her backstory and find out about her family but I have no idea why she came to Firedrake. Plus everyone seems to hate pirates but I couldn’t work out why that was? It is simply because she is a pirate and is not to be trusted? Or was it something else? Because Ewan didn’t care she was a pirate and wanted to be her friend instantly. So I thought that could have been explained more or made more clearer.
I’d have liked to see more of the White Wraith’s because they were super interesting. You only really see a couple of them and then the rest is just stories about them. Even though they make it clear you immediately die if you see one, I think it would have been cool to see them trying to fight them. Or being invaded by a ton of them, maybe. But since they’re not fully trained yet I guess that wouldn’t really happen. Or since the quote says “it claws at your soul, Spirits taken away, bodies left to fall” I’d have loved to see someone being taken by a White Wraith and then everyone freaking out over it when their body falls. I just think it’d have terrified me and left me with shivers running down my spine. We did get to see a White Wraith in action but it wasn’t as creepy as I’d hoped. I’m like calling for the death of a poor character but it needs to happen to make me fear these White Wraith’s.
I really enjoyed the ending because it had a really surprising plot twist. Throughout the book Ewan, Mathilde and Enid try playing spies and unravelling this mysterious assassination attempt on someone’s life. They try to work out why they are being targeted and how to stop it. I cracked a smile watching three eleven year olds working out how to stop an assassination from happening because, well, they’re just kids. But since I kept forgetting how old they are it didn’t really matter most of the time. I loved the ending because it came out of nowhere but in a good way. It was far from what I was expecting and I was genuinely shocked watching it all unfold. This story has so much potential and I’d love to read a second book watching these characters learn more about Creatures, White Wraith’s and being badass people, basically.
This is a really long review but I just had so much to say about this book. I am so glad I read it and I’m grateful to the author for sending me a digital copy. It was an awesome story and I highly recommend it for all you fantasy/paranormal lovers out there. It has potential to be a great series and the authors writing is really top notch, I was impressed. There’s so many more stories waiting to be told from this world and I eagerly await them!