Series: Advent Trilogy #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on February 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository
"A drowning, a magician's curse, and a centuries-old secret. "1537. A man hurries through city streets in a gathering snowstorm, clutching a box in one hand. He is Johann Faust, the greatest magician of his age. The box he carries contains a mirror safeguarding a portion of his soul and a small ring containing all the magic in the world. Together, they comprise something unimaginably dangerous.
London, the present day. Fifteen-year-old Gavin Stokes is boarding a train to the countryside to live with his aunt. His school and his parents can't cope with him and the things he sees, things they tell him don't really exist. At Pendurra, Gavin finds people who are like him, who see things too. They all make the same strange claim: magic exists, it's leaking back into our world, and it's bringing something terrible with it.
First in an astonishingly imaginative fantasy trilogy, "Advent "describes how magic was lost to humanity, and how a fifteen-year-old boy discovers that its return is his inheritance. It begins in a world recognizably our own, and ends an extraordinarily long way from where it started--somewhere much bigger, stranger, and richer.
What started out as a book full of promise and beautiful prose, swiftly became a confusing muddle of events that left me feeling pretty disappointed by the end of the book. I wanted to like it, I truly did and in fact at the beginning I felt it held the same sort of promise that The Night Circus did, unfortunately Treadwell just didn’t manage to maintain momentum.
Set in the present day this is the story of Gavin a 15 year old boy who is visiting his aunt in a remote English village with no phone or internet reception while his parents go on holidays. Gavin is not an ordinary boy, he sees things no one else can see and because of this feels completely adrift – unloved by his parents and an outsider in the modern world. Entwined into Gavin’s story is the story of Faust which adds depth and information vital to the series of events playing out for Gavin in the modern day.
The book starts off with good writing and a real sense of atmosphere. By the time Gavin arrives at his Aunts place I was biting my nails in anticipation the immersion was so skillfully done. Unfortunately the book just starts on the downward slide from this point on. The actual character of Gavin was hard to like, I couldn’t really feel sorry for him he was just too odd and when you don’t relate to a character it doesn’t matter what they’ve been through it’s hard to empathise with their lot in life. I also found the majority of the supporting characters to be quite empty and lacking and while I believe the author was going for “otherworldly” I don’t think he really pulled it off.
There is a lot of different myths used in this story and I did think they were woven together very well, although I wasn’t expecting Cassandra from Greek mythology to turn up – this definitely made me stop a moment. The actual culmination of events however I believe left a lot to be desired and I often found myself going back and rereading segments to try and make better sense of where things were at and why they were taking place. Perhaps if I were to reread this I would enjoy it more but I just don’t think a book marketed to the Young Adult crowd should be that complex or over written that a reread is necessary.
This book didn’t hold my interest enough to warrant reading the remainder of the series, and I think there are other Young Adult fantasy novels that have be released recently that would be more appealing to the majority of readers. If you are mad keen on myths and legends and don’t mind a fairly unrelateable main character then by all means give it a whirl. Book reviews for this novel seem to swing from either loving it or being highly disappointed so while it wasn’t for me, it could be for you!
– Disappointing book considering it started so well!