on 11 August 2014
"This is a gift, it comes with a price
Who is the lamb, and who is the knife?" – Florence & The Machine, Rabbit Heart
“This belonged to my sister-in-law," Prometheus explained. "Pandora."
A lump formed in my throat. "As in Pandora's box?"
Prometheus shook his head. "I don't know how this box business got started. It was never a box. It was a pithos, a storage jar. I suppose Pandora's pithos doesn't have the same ring to it.” ― Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian
"You see what we do to each other over the slightest differences in religion or politics? We beat each other up over baseball games. We’ll kill over the wrong-colored bandana. What would we do faced with the Fangborn?" – Adam Nichols, Seven Kinds of Hell
One thing you must know about this book before walking into the story is this – you hold in your hand not some simple, See Jane Run, Run Jane Run novel. If you are looking for minimal world building, simplistic answers, and only two or three characters with clear-cut goals, this book isn’t for you. It is so far out of the “let’s just do mindless entertainment” wheelhouse you can’t even see it from the top of the Pharos Lighthouse. Instead, this is a book of complexities. Of unknown alliances, political convolutions, archeological mysteries, and xenophobic hatreds worthy of any Shakespearean play. Families destroy one another, blood is spilled, and there is avarice, sociopathy, vigilantism, viciousness, and political infighting enough to fulfill any Roman Senate chamber. No, if your idea of a good book is simplicity, walk away now.
Ah, but if you are like me – if you long for convolutions, for amazing world-building, a plethora of characters with both known and unknown agendas, a modern storyline with tentacles reaching back to the beginnings of time, a deep understanding of the history, archeology and stories of the cradles of civilization, rejoice, my friend! For Dana Cameron’s words will reach out to you, grab your mind and inject it with adrenaline, force you to pay attention, to learn, and to madly mark up whole paragraphs in order that you might research the lands and stories she portrays. It. Was. AWESOME!!!
Of course, the idea that there are creatures in this world, those who call themselves the Fangborn, calls to my love of all things fantasy. And Ms. Cameron’s concepts of fantastical creatures are not simplistic either. “Vampires” harken back to the snake goddesses of Knossos and Minoa rather than being the more Germanic wall crawlers popular in modern literature. There is no disturbing of the laws of physics as werewolves retain their mass when changed, and, gratefully, their clothes! Rather than burning in the sun, these vampires crave the sunshine, as do their snake cousins, and use their fangs to heal, and their powers of mind control to protect. Very different than what one normally would expect – but then, Ms. Cameron also makes grand use of various animal entities from history, from the Egyptian Anubis to the Greek Medusa.
"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." - Mahatma Gandhi
History is about to change, worlds are set to collide, and humans are, of course, acting like humans – and not exactly in a good way. No, you will not learn who all the characters are and what their alliances are in this volume of the story. Who exactly are the Fangborn who first approach Zoe? Who, or what, is Download and from where do his powers spring? Is Adam really to be trusted, or merely a mercenary, willing to change sides on a whim? More importantly, exactly who and what was Zoe’s father – and apparently more importantly, her mother? The book ends with the answers in Zoe’s hands, in a thin, coffee stained folder. Is it the truth? Is it a lie? Only time will tell. Well, and the next volume, should help of course! Pack of Strays comes out on April 15, 2014 (only a few days away, Hooray!) and my finger was hot on the preorder button. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but no matter what book is next on my spreadsheet, that one gets moved to the top!
I received this book from Justin Golenbock at 47North and Netgalley in return for a realistic review. All comments are my own and reflect my own interests. I want to thank Justin for this marvelous opportunity and look forward to reading the next book in the series!