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Blackbirch: The Beginning (English Edition) Kindle版
"I devoured this book! The intrigue grabs you from page one, and this air of mystery and magic carries throughout the whole story." - 5 Star Goodreads Review
"Blackbirch: The Beginning is the first book of 2020 to grab me from the very first page." - 5 Star Goodreads Review
"Loved it. The storyline gets you hooked from the first chapter, and the plot twists keep you guessing right to the end." - 5 Star Goodreads Review
"K.M. Allan's characters are well-rounded and the story had me hooked from the first page - I finished it in two days." - 5 Star Goodreads Review
"This is intriguing and intelligent YA fiction with the essential ingredients of goodies and baddies, magic(k), dreams, mysterious pasts and mysterious people." - 5 Star Goodreads Review--このテキストは、paperback版に関連付けられています。
- ASIN : B0849KSK8K
- 出版社 : K.M. Allan; 第1版 (2020/2/17)
- 発売日 : 2020/2/17
- 言語 : 英語
- ファイルサイズ : 2736 KB
- Text-to-Speech（テキスト読み上げ機能） : 有効
- X-Ray : 有効にされていません
- Word Wise : 有効にされていません
- 本の長さ : 199ページ
Technically a YA novel, it was still sophisticated and intriguing enough for this 52-year-old reader to thoroughly enjoy and relate to. Telling the tale of 17-year-old Josh’s return to his childhood hometown after the tragic death of both his parents in a car crash. But much more than just his family have been taken from Josh, most of his memories appear to be gone as well. Understandable amnesia caused by shock is the diagnosis of the doctors, but, as the tale unfolds and strange things begin to happen to Josh, the reader starts to realise there is something a lot more sinister going on.
The author writes well and is obviously comfortable creating believable and relatable teenage characters who are neither annoying nor sappy. I particularly liked the way she allows us glimpses into their internal thoughts and feelings which adds to the depth of the characters, although I have yet to make a connection with the character of Max. Very much a supporting act, I’m not sure what purpose he serves other than to eat any food he can lay his hands on and ferry the main characters around in his car. But this is only book one of the series so maybe the author had plans for Max to grow and develop into something more significant than the cypher he currently is.
Leaving aside the human cast, it is the town of Blackbirch itself that fascinated me the most. A place surrounded by a creepy wood of ancient black birch trees that are steadily encroaching on the township, it is impossible not to pick up on the sense of creeping unease. It is a town rich with a history of magic and witchcraft and Josh and his friends soon find themselves embroiled in old secrets and ancient powers that linger just beyond everyday life.
A short, quick read, Blackbirch is the perfect book for those looking for a few hours of escape and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I think the first thing that captured me was the magic system, which is fascinating and diverse, with deep roots in the past and the place, and also in Josh's own personal history.
The second factor I really loved was the mystery. Or rather, mysteries, because there are quite a few: Why can't Josh remember his past? What has he forgotten? Who is Kallie and what are her motives? What's really going on in the woods? Who is the scarred man? These and other questions kept me reading. Some answers are given by the end of the story, others are only hinted at in this opening novel.
Finally, the town of Blackbirch itself, with its woods and its trees (and yes, I googled black birches and wintergreen oil and disappeared down that rabbit hole for a while) is almost another character in the novel. The black birches are everywhere, casting their ominous influence over every page.
So why four stars instead of five? Honestly, it's mostly just personal preference. I would have liked the writing to be a little smoother. It's not bad, just not my favourite style. I also found Josh hard to connect to at first, although as he's lost his memory, this is understandable. But he's a moody teenager, and this grumpy older woman has less patience for that than she used to. Finally, the character of Josh's friend Sarah seems a bit bland. But these are minor quibbles, nothing that spoiled my enjoyment or made me want to stop reading. And I loved the climax.
Blackbirch: The Beginning (clever title, by the way, and you won't see how clever until you read the book for yourself) is a great story, a really exciting debut from K.M. Allan. And I have a strong feeling that now the everything has been set up so well, Book Two will be even better.