Monday, April 8, 2013

Advent by James Treadwell

Publisher: Hodder
ISBN: 978-1444728491

Advent gets off to a great start (see First Paragraphs post here) and I really enjoyed the beginning.

It is quite a long book at 624 pages, but I was racing through it at first, then it got to that moment that every member of a book club knows about - when you know you have to stop reading one book so you can have enough time to read the assigned club book. So I had to put Advent down for a while, and I think that's where it went wrong. I'd lost enthusiasm for the story, and it took a major effort to pick it up again and finish.

The story is basically that of Faustus returning from the dead in the 21st century, to achieve his goal of being the most powerful immortal in the world. Disaffected teenager Gavin is the only one who has a chance of defeating him and saving the world from darkness.

I have to admit after I picked up the story again I found jumping back and forth between characters a little confusing. The purpose of some of the characters (the journalist) seemed to be missing or too obscure for me. The Professor goes off to do something important and I don't think she ever comes back, at least I don't remember it clearly. Marina's father appears at the beginning, and at the very end, but nowhere in the middle. A few characters who seem important at the start of the story just come to nothing later on. As a result it felt like the second half of the book didn't belong to the first half. I have seen references to this being the first chapter of a trilogy, so maybe these things would be resolved later on.

Elements of the story don't work for me, but I can't deny that the writing style is wonderful. Treadwell has a gift in describing time and place, and writes in quite a compelling way, and if I'd not had to put the book down for a week or two just as things were hotting up I might well have had a different feel for the book. I think it must be me, as the comments on the rear cover of the book are incredibly positive.

What I liked most - the promising start, the haunting prose and wonderful descriptions of Cornwall. Descriptions of the cold and snow that are so convincing they made me shiver while sitting in front of a fire (recent weather may have helped this a little).

What I liked least - the disconnect between the start of the book and the end, the apparent disappearance or insignificance of characters who appear important at the beginning. The fact that I had to stop reading half way through and subsequently lost interest (my fault).

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