Book Review: Advent

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Advent Book Cover Title: Advent

Author: James Treadwell

Summary: [from GoodReads]

“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.

Disclaimers: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review. Unfortunately, I did not finish the book and this review is based on the first 300 pages or so only.

My Review: When I’m choosing what I want to read, I have to be very picky. My TBR list is far too huge to read everything that comes my way. The summary of this one sounded amazing – a boy bring magic back to the world after hundreds of years, and a house that wasn’t quite of this world seemed like elements of a great story. Unfortunately the book the summary was describing and the book itself seemed to me like two completely different things.

At first the surprise was pleasant. There were a lot of English quirks that made me really feel like I was experiencing England all over again. I especially loved the scene on the train, and was reminded of the many train rides I took while I was there. Even once we got to Pendurra, there were little thingsthat kept me smiling. The atmosphere was a little like a cross between Bridge to Terabithia and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Marina was wonderfully kooky, a little like a young Luna Lovegood. There was a flavor of mystery and I was curious to see what would happen. I could have done without the flashbacks to 1537, but I was willing to wade through them for the rest of it.

Then we hit the turning point and everything changed. Gavin takes the name Gawain and essentially becomes another person. After spending all that time getting to know Gavin, and rooting for him through the ups and downs, I found I didn’t particularly care for or about Gawain. I wasn’t that interested in his quest and I didn’t really care what happened to him.

In the end what really sunk the story for me was the weight. I found references to just about any story about ancient magic you can think of littered about the text in passing. The most prominent were the stories of King Arthur and Faust, both stories I like to see retold – but neither goes much beyond a few names and small references. I think it’s because the author was just trying to cramso many different stories into one! I’ll admit, that’s what eventually had me setting this one down – I was having a hard enough time keeping all the intertextual references straight, much less the actual story lines!

I hate to bash any book, and I hope it doesn’t sound like that by any means, but I do kind of wish I hadn’t chosen to try this book. I put a lot of effort and time into it (I was more than 3/4 through when I finally put it down) and when everything suddenly changed on me, I felt that effort was kind of wasted.

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Advent”

  1. Yael Itamar says:

    I was really intrigued by that summary. It’s too bad the book didn’t live up to it.

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