Title: A Wicked Kind of Dark (The Minaea Chronicles #1)
Author: Jonathan K Benton
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult,
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
Robert Duncan no longer believes in magic. A mysterious call about a blood moon, however, leads him back to the magical world of his childhood and to Luthien, the beautiful girl with flame-coloured hair, who he loved and lost.
As Robert unravels the secrets of his childhood, darkness enters his life and an ancient evil awakens. To have any chance of defeating the dark forces that would destroy two worlds, Robert must find Luthien before the rise of the blood moon. He must, once more, believe in magic …
A Wicked Kind of Dark mixes vast and spectacular fantasy landscapes with gritty urban reality. A must-read for people of all ages who believe in the power of imagination, and the importance of never losing touch with your inner child
It starts with a phone call, mysterious graffiti and a name. Luthien.
Robert Duncan can’t remember six months of his life after his parents died in a tragic house fire. One day he gets a phone call from a woman screaming at him to help Luthien before it’s too late – the only problem is that Robert has never heard the name before… or maybe he has. Robert sees a painting of a beautiful flame-haired girl and knows instinctively that it’s her. The girl he’s supposed to save – his Luthien. With the help of Dennis and Arthur – former alcoholics who have been shown the way by The Sparkling Man – Robert starts to question the Winter of No Content, as he calls his half-year period of amnesia. Who is Luthien to him and why is Robert the only one who can save her?
Conceptually I loved this book. There’s a lot of mystery mixed in with a great dose of fantasy. The ideas of the twin souls and distant realms to be travelled to through the power of the mind are incredible. The world of Minaea and the creatures who inhabit it are interesting and remind me of other fantasy kingdoms I’ve read before – in a good way. I liked the adventure Robert went on and how the plot developed as the story went on. I enjoyed Benton’s use of language to paint the scene. I adored his use of colour at the start of chapter one.
Where this book falls down for me is whilst I liked the ideas, I found it fell down a little in terms of execution. There were many times when I found myself slightly confused as to exactly who certain characters were. I also think that Robert felt a little old – his ability to instantly believe the impossible felt more appropriate for the young boy he had been prior the Winter of No Content rather than the young man on the verge of adulthood that he is in present day. That aside – this is a great read.
A Wicked Kind of Dark is an interesting read with fantasy elements that also touches on social issues like homelessness and alcoholism. A great debut for author Jonathan K Benton, this first book of the Minaea Chronicles offers fantasy lovers an exciting read with fantastic ideas.
Thanks to Odyssey Books for the review copy.
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