Here I am, finally getting these reviews out. So far my reading in 2020 has been sluggish; I think it’s because I’m so backed up on reviews. I need to get them out my head before moving on no matter how interesting the stories I’m currently reading are.
Anyway, here’s one I read in 2019 that was pretty good.
The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.
These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it. (Goodreads)
“A sinister, blood-soaked story steeped in myth and darkness”
That’s how Tammy at Books, Bones, Buffy quickly described this book and made me immediately add it to my TBR. The cover was also appealing, and I decided that if I saw it when I next visited the library, I would get and read it. I did exactly that.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like the book as much as Tammy did, but her description of the story is spot on. The story is dark and atmospheric and has an almost sinister feel to it because of the protagonist, Johann. I admired the writing and loved the setting, which highly appealed to me because of how well it fits the characters, Johann and his master, Florian. Unfortunately, I didn’t care much for the characters, or rather, I didn’t care much for Florian and his revenge, so I didn’t care for the story, which was largely based on him.
Revenge plots often turn me off and I think that’s what happened here. I kept reading, however, because Johann is a very intriguing character due to his personality and unique ability. He is so obviously a creature of Elendhaven, the peculiar, strangely appealing city this story is set in. It’s not a city I’d ever want to visit, but it is one I’d love to read more of. So I hope Giesbrecht will write another story set there.
Apart from Johann, the city, and the writing, I also like that the story explores the concept of monster and monstrous and how and why we apply such labels to certain people and things. It also makes us question what we would label a monster and presents the case that people are often so layered that we never really know what they might be hiding within.
Overall: ★★☆☆☆ ½
It is a good read with great writing that easily brings the setting and characters to life. It didn’t work for me because it’s partly a story about revenge and I tend not to like such stories, but this is a book I would recommend. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
This is probably the first I’ve given a book a low score but still recommend one to Buy it. However, if it interests you, I recommend Buying or Borrowing it.