Top critical review
Recommended to anyone who likes magic & crime, with nice plot twists!
on 2 May 2016
I enjoyed it; I loved the worldbuilding and some of the concepts, and even though I’m not raving about it, it’s a good book! It’d make a very good read for teenagers (it is pushed as a YA) but is a nice one for adults too; it doesn’t present anything majorly challenging but at the same time, is a story about identity and guilt, magic and family…The story’s interesting, and you’re immediately sucked into the plot; Cassel’s interesting, horrible, conflicted and brilliantly written. The worldbuilding is excellent, and I loved the way magic’s done, particularly for the death-workers! The plot twists are also excellent.
However…I never quite felt the world was a whole. I struggled between the “magic” and the “con” sides of things; I think the danger and the crime element could probably have been played more strongly, at least on Cassel’s side (his mother being in prison was a good indicator of what could happen if things went wrong). I suppose the “magic being outlawed” aspect was the flaw for me; everyone in the book wanted to not be using it because it was dangerous, not because the rest of the world had issues with it. I wonder if the book’s been slightly mis-sold as well; the blurb on the cover is “You’re only a finger-tip away from another world” – which is true, but it’s not a world-walking, another reality thing. It’s a “someone can kill you with a touch”, which is a bit of a different prospect! When I re-read the blurb, I don’t exactly see the book I read…so I’m not sure how much that affected my expectations of what I was going to read, and how much that would help if it was changed.
I’m not sure if I’m going to pick up the next one – I have other things I’d rather read, and I’m not that invested in the world or story that I have to know what happens next. But I’d recommend it to anyone who likes magic and crime, with a dose of nice plot twists and a good characterisation!