Monday, June 25, 2012
Book Review: ADVENT
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date: July 3, 2012
"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. (Synopsis from Goodreads.)
Advent was a book I looked forward to reading for its wonderfully strange world seeped in mythology. The world was intriguing and made me think odd creatures and magic really could be lying in wait at the far corners of the earth. As much as I wanted to love the story, however, I just couldn't get into it. It started extremely slow, with pages and pages about Gavin traveling to his aunt's house and then meeting the people in Pendurra. Although there was the mystery of why Gavin was seeing something that no one else could, I feel like the questions this brought up were dragged on for far to long without any answers.
I think this book could have been cut down to half its length and still hold the important points of the story. The mysteries were initially interesting and the prose beautiful, but my curiosity fizzled out as I had to slog through pages of unimportant events.
The chapters in Advent alternate between Gavin's perspective in the present and Johann Faust's perspective in the past. I found myself constantly skimming the sections on Faust, as they bored me. I just couldn't get into his story, and wanted to get back to solving the mysteries in Gavin's life. I did really enjoy Horace, and wish Treadwell would have fleshed out his character and his relationship with Gavin more.
Advent did pick up at the end, but that was too late for me. Do not write it off, though, for others have picked up this book and loved it. If you like mythology and lovely prose, you may very well enjoy this book where I didn't.