By: Tessa Gratton
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 2012
Although fantasy readers may find some very interesting scenes in this tale, the problem I found is that out of the two story lines presented - past and present - the past was the one that was far more interesting.
When we begin, readers meet up with Mab Prowd in a quiet, almost deserted area of Kansas. Her life revolves around magic and she’s currently trying to kill rose bushes that are on the property. She’s been trying for some time, and for those who don’t know, killing roses are almost like trying to kill a vampire - extremely difficult. Mab was told by her now deceased benefactor that she must destroy them, yet they seem to be cursed. What she hasn’t figured out yet is why. Using a spell, after a very disgusting sacrifice, Mab creates what you would call a doll-like monster who races away from the property.
Will is a young man who’s sitting by a lake. Will recently saved a girl from drowning in this particular lake, and he is trying to get over the fear that still resides in his soul. While there, a huge doll-like monster makes his appearance and Will ends up killing the thing. Unfortunately, he also ends up catching a curse that a female stranger will need to help him with.
Will has enough problems without getting involved with Mab. He has a very dedicated family - dedicated to the marines - and his father and brother want him to join up and make that his only pathway in life. However, his other brother, Aaron, found only death while in the armed forces and Will truly doesn’t want to head into that dark, frightening future.
Mab has her own difficulties. As the Deacon of a place that takes care of people with a magical bent, she is also brought a young boy who has a major curse set on him by his father that she has to free him of. She is also still dealing with her family and a horrific event that happened a while back that turned one boy into many crows.
The parallel story running through this present-day tale regards Mab’s past. How she came to Kansas, finding romance with her benefactor, and a relationship that was beyond obsessive. This is a good story that, if the plot worked differently, might have been spotlighted instead of the ‘reality’ tale.
For any reader who is interested in the magical ways of the world, they will enjoy this book. The scenes are certainly detailed and offer many a terrifying moment to go along with a mystery of mammoth proportions.
Quill Says: To be well understood, this is a novel that needs to be read in a quiet room so that nothing is missed.