A well-written atmospheric debut with great imagery that boasts a memorable cast of characters. And with a gorgeous cover too!
Book Title: The Breedling and the City in the Garden (The Element Odysseys Book 1)by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Category: YA fiction, 280 pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy; is also intended for Adult (18+) readers
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Release date: September 20, 2016
Tour dates: Oct 31 to Dec 9, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 This book is rated PG-13 for time period slag (no F*words), violence and mature themes associated with the historic time period such as smoking, drinking, gambling, and death (no sexual scenes).
Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.
These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.
He chose defiance.
Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.
Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.
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Bartholomew ends up in 1930s Chicago and is discovered in an upper floor of an orphanage at the onset of a terrible disaster. Charlie, a 17 year-old orphan takes him under his wing and Bartholomew as well as the reader discover historical Chicago together as both begin their adventure. I was impressed at how well the author brings this historical setting to life and I could so easily see this as a movie. I love historical fiction and so I loved this setting.
Bartholomew is on a mission as was well established at the onset of the book and I was eagerly anticipating the discovery of what this would lead to. But the search is slow as we are bogged down by some mundane scenes and dialogue that did not advance the plot. There are a lot of characters from the fantasy world that are referenced but never developed so I was left wondering how they were connected to the story.
Charlie is a great character, beautifully developed, strong, kind and smart. We become attached to him as he experiences great loss and we can't help but root for him. Bartholomew is still a mystery, an old soul in a teen body. He is almost broken from his past imprisonment and anguished from keeping his secret. He comes across as naive even though he is ancient and we have yet to discover what his secret is and how exactly this affects Charlie.
This is a promising start to the Element Odysseys books that would have benefited from a better world-building in the fantasy part. The book is well-written, has great imagery, is atmospheric and boasts a good cast of memorable characters. I enjoyed the storytelling, but felt the plot could have been stronger. The ending leaves us with many unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in Book 2.
To read more reviews, please visit Kimberlee Ann Bastian's page on iRead Book Tours.
Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a unique love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. This melting pot of elements is what prompted the creation of her epic ELEMENT ODYSSEYS series, starting with the reboot of her debut novel now titled THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN.
When she is not in her writer's room, working her current "day job", or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of your Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture.
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- 8 winners will each get a print or ebook copy of The Breedling & The City in the Garden (print open to USA & Can / ebook open Int’l)
- 1 winner will get the Chicago Swag Box (USA only) Prize contains: Jay’s Potato Chips, Wrigleys Gum, mug, a book on history of Chicago (Then and Now), a magnet and a few other items