SECRET SOCIETIES? IN MY CITY?
I think it’s a well known fact that both Chelsey and I love The Falling Kingdom series. Falling Kingdoms has great characters, great twists and is all round a story that we can’t help but get excited for. When it was announced that Morgan Rhodes would be writing a companion series we were both interested to see how Rhodes was going to add on to her world.
A Book of Spirits and Thieves takes place hundreds of years before the events of Falling Kingdoms. The two Goddesses are still controlling Mytica. This of course was a pretty cool place in her time line to start. In Kingdoms we hear a lot of about the two Goddesses and how they’re patrons to two of the three countries in the all out brawl that is that series. I was excited to learn more about them.
Then things got weird. ABOSAT crosses over ancient Mytica with none other than MODERN DAY TORONTO. Also known as my hometown. This left me wondering, if Ancient Mytica runs parallel with our here and now, where do the time lines sync up for Falling Kingdoms and Toronto? Are there flying cars? Will we ever know?
ABOSAT has two main narratives. In Toronto we’re introduced to Crystal Hatcher. Her family owns a bookstore in Toronto, unlike her mother and her sister Becca, Crys isn’t satisfied with working in the store and wants to pursue her one true love: photography. One day her aunt sends them a book, and when Becca touches it she is put into a comma. Crys blames herself and tries to find a way to save her sister, specifically by reaching out to her father who just kind of left the family and joined a cult…
A cult that Farrell, our other lead, also happens to be a member of. The leader of the cult or as they would call it the “secret society” have sent Farrell to spy on Crys. You can guess where that is headed….
MEANWHILE Becca’s spirit has been transported into Ancient Mytica where she runs into Maddox, a boy with magical powers. He’s the only one who can see her and he has a few of his own problems, like being captured by one of the Goddesses and held prisoner, also he can use magic, something practically unheard of for males.
The novel’s biggest weakness is this blend of these narratives. The two stories don’t fit well together. I had a hard time trying to suspend my disbelief to think that yes, Toronto and Mytica can exist along side one another. I don’t know how Rhodes is going to bring these two stories together into a solid believable close.
I found myself getting distracted by the city of Toronto. I don’t know if it’s just being some one from Toronto, all the name dropping became repetitive and unneeded. I can see why Rhodes did this though, she wanted to make the city stand out against all the other cities in fiction, she was trying to elevate Toronto up to the same level of places like New York City, places that people can instantly recognize and have a feel for. Instead I found the constant use of cross streets and subway stops off-putting. Also Farrel’s obsession with Grey Goose vodka, because reasons!
The world of Mytica was a lot easier to handle, here Rhodes controls everything and is not bound to recreating an accurate picture of a city she’s clearly spent a lot of time in and around (no lie, she knows Toronto). Yet what Mytica makes up for in setting it lacks in plot. Maddox and Becca just kind of wander around and get told things by those who convince them to join the rebellion. Also Maddox learns he’s a necromancer. Hooray!
The Toronto plot is more interesting (if less believable). Crys needs to find a way to save her sister and come to terms with her family’s past. A past that she has just learned about. Even if I wasn’t too fond of either Crys or Farrell as characters I was more interested in seeing what would happen to them as the story progressed, and it was Farrell’ cliff hanger at the end that will lead me to picking up the eventual sequel.
Overall I wasn’t too fond of ABOSAT. I found the story weak and not much happened overall. That being said, finishing ABOSAT made me think about the first novel in the Falling Kingdoms series and how I wasn’t super impressed with it either. Yet, as the series progressed I found myself growing more attached to the characters and interested in the twists and turns of the plot. Hopefully this new series will be the same way, now that Rhodes has gotten all the ground work out of the way she’ll be able to focus on where she really does excel: telling an awesome story.
We can only wait and see.
Also… is necromancy really in right now? Or is that just me?