Monday, June 4, 2012

Advent by James Treadwell

Pub date: July 3, 2012.

Author website.

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 terrible. 

 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 tell him the same thing: magic exists, and it’s leaking back into our world—and bringing something terrible with it.  (

ADVENT was one of those books that I DESPERATELY wanted to like but no matter how hard I tried it just kept falling short.  Ultimately I can add this one to my hearty DNF pile as of late.  I tried to hard to like this one.  I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt but by the time things started picking up I was too tired of trying to care and couldn't muster the want to keep it up.

Gavin's a character that wallows in his own self pity for about two thirds of the book, constantly harping on how no one understands him, how alone he is, how he keeps seeing Mrs. Grey everywhere.  Alternatively Johann is the same exact way, stuck in a time loop of cyclical proportions because every time the plot snaps back to his 1537 it was telling the same damn story over and over again.  He loved a woman that gave him power and kept trying to find her.  She spurned him.  Over and over again.  I was tired of it.  I didn't understand why the story couldn't just move on.  Gav really needed to get over his shit far sooner than when he did and Johann had a lot of women issues that just grated on me.  Plus his story was redundant.

The story finally starts to get somewhere by about page 300.  It reads like it was duct taped together after a drunken night out.  I'm not sure who decided on the order of the chapters but if the story actually started where the story was finally getting good I probably would have stuck around for the whole thing.  This one random chapter, somewhere between half way and two third of the way finished, completely sucked me in.  It gave the appropriate amount of backstory to the people living at Pendurra, and it's amazing backstory to boot.  It answers a lot of the whys that had been swimming around for the length of the plot up until that point and it's actually incredibly interesting.  Unfortunately for the book it was too little too late.  Up until that point I had put forth so much effort to try and care that when I actually could my brain just wasn't up to it.

I get it.  I know it's not technically YA although the protagonist is a fifteen-year-old boy, which is why I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt.  I expected the plot to take a little longer to get into but I wasn't expecting so long.  I didn't think the same point would get beaten over my head for nearly 300 pages until something finally happened.  All I wanted was a good fantasy to read and judging by the blurb this rightly could have been it.  Maybe it's my fault for setting my expectations far too high.  Or maybe it's the book's for taking FOREVER to get the eff on with it.  I need something more than an emo boy and his invisible issues whining about his life.  Or the chauvinist masturbating to the sound of his own awesomeness.

I just couldn't do it.  I wanted to but I couldn't.  I'd been set up and set up and set up too many times up until the turning point to being open and willing to get set up again.  No thanks.  Maybe when my care returns I'll try finishing up the rest of it but right now I need something that hooks me in from the beginning; not something that takes me nearly the entire book to go YES.

Ban Factor: High - It's a fantasy so that's pretty much automatic.  It's set in the real world so there is grounds for salvation there but at the rate it involves old gods and magic I'm not giving it much hope.
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