Blurb from GoodReads:
Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.
After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.
As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.
I’ve wanted to read and review the debut novel from Alys Arden for such a long time- the blurb alone was enough to whet my appetite, and it’s even set in one of my ultimate travel-to places, New Orleans. When I saw that it was on Kindle Unlimited I jumped at the chance to buy it, and have since spent the last week reading it OBSESSIVELY. There are so, so many things I love about this book I’m very tempted to name it as one of my books of the year- and this is the year that I read ‘Six of Crows’, people, so this book has SERIOUS competition.
(Ps. this is sugar and absinthe in this picture, NOT drugs! Don’t do drugs, kids- and keep off the absinthe! :D)
Let me list for you all the things I loved about this book:
NEW ORLEANS: Oh my, oh my, it was so wonderful to read about N.O by someone who actually lives- and clearly loves- the place. It felt so rich, so vivid, so alive with magic and wonder and myths and legends and general Halloween-parade-craziness. I loved all the little in-references to voodoo parlours, teashops, New Orleans food, culture, customs…this had it all. I really felt as though I was there.
THE STORM: This novel is set after a huge and dangerous storm has ravaged New Orleans- apparently based around actual storms that Arden experienced. The aftermath of the storm was so poignantly and vividly described I really felt for the victims and the survivors, and the homes they had lost. Even Adele’s own home is badly damaged, and in the wake of the storm at first there is no safe water to drink, no milk, and hardly any fuel. Residents have to survive on ‘hurricane gruel’- a hodge podge of ingredients that somehow survived the storm, and Adele has to resort to taking canned goods from a wrecked ice-cream shop at one point. It’s brutal and bleak at points but I really admired the tenacity of the locals and their community spirit.
REN: Oh my god, I loved this guy so much. He’s a flamboyant tour guide who dresses like a flirty pirate and is happily in a relationship with a guy who wants to be a vampire. (He’s had fangs implanted.) Every story that spilled out of his mouth was pure gold. More Ren please!
DESIREE: The beautiful, popular girl in school, Adele’s witchy ally, and the daughter of a voodoo queen, Desiree is badass and streetsmart.
ISAAC: Adele’s artsy love interest, he has long blonde hair (swoon,) lots of muscles, a secret philanthropist heart, and may be more than what he seems… I am most firmly #TeamIsaac on this one.
MAC: Adele’s dad, Mac, is a metal-work artist, illegal bar owner, and is just way too cool for school. Badass.
Things that didn’t quite grab me:
-At times the plot felt a little slow at point
-I felt the tale of Adele’s ancestor, Adeline-with-the-confusingly-similar-name, slowed down the pace even more, and felt just a teeny bit tedious at points. Same thing with the witchy twins she meets- ‘witch triplets’ seemed a bit far-fetched, and having seven of them all making up one coven meant there was a lot of characters to keep track of.
-The same with the vampires: crikey, there was a lot of vampires in this book! And they all seemed to be Italian, and eager to bore Adele to death by talking too much… in fact, all the vampires just seemed a bit cliche to me. Harsh, I know, but still.
-NICCO: Ugh. I really did NOT like this character. I KNOW he’s meant to be handsome and heartbreaking and a love-triangle interest for Adele, but he came across to me as just manipulative, violent, devious and cold. Why couldn’t she just be with Isaac, with out all the creepy insta-love drama? Nicco=creepiness. Same goes for his brother, Gabriel.
-ADELE: I really liked her character, but at points she seemed a bit naive, and I hated all her ‘Isaac is such a jerk, I’m going to totally ignore him in favour of Nicco’ moments. #TeamIsaac! Isaac seems like such a decent guy, and I totally do not see the appeal of Nicco when compared to his genuine warmth of feeling for Adele. I don’t get why she’s so hung up on him- to me, Nicco is clearly just using her. Also I felt that the text messages between her and her non-witch friend Brooke were a bit dull. Desiree struck me as more interesting and unique.
-I liked the development of Adele’s telekinetic ability a lot, but felt she would probably have been more freaked out about it. She also used the term ‘spaz’, and however much the book is gripping and unusual, this term was just offensive to me.
-At times, the whole ‘vampires in the attic’ plot was a bit vague. There also seemed to be a lot of people going in and out of the attic.
Don’t get me wrong, that may seem like a long list of ‘cons,’ but this book really did have me gripped. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, ‘The Romeo Catchers’ (out in May 2017)- I hope it sees a welcome return to New Orleans, and perhaps Desiree’s voodoo parlour!
Overall rating; 10 out of 10!
This book is four words: Vivid. Funny. Unusual. Witchy.
Read if you enjoyed: ‘Interview with Vampire’ by Anne Rice
All images via Tumblr