Sunday, September 9, 2012

Advent by James Treadwell

There were some things I didn't know about certain legends before I started reading Advent.  Like, I had not heard of Cassandra and her curse.  And I did not know anything about Faust.

Having read Advent, I now want to read more about both of these legends.  I typically do not read intros and authors notes because, frankly, they're not really relevant to me.  I am reading a story and I don't really care what someone says about the author or the impact the story has one some community... or what the author wants to "extra point out" after you've taken the time to read his book.

When I DO read these extras, I know that I have enjoyed the book.  I am in a place to read more ... often times, anything more I can get my hands on.

In this case, the author's note at the end of the book was a rewarding (and thankfully brief) read.  It explained that the legend of Faust is like that of Arthur -- little solid is known, allowing for great flexibility in the telling of the story.

Advent was great.  Whether you know anything about Faust / Cassandra or not, it is just great, a well-told story with vivid characters and a colorful setting.

Advent starts with a teenage Gavin who is escaping from the stifling rule of his parents' upbringing.  He has a dad who seems to hate him, a mother who weakly mimics love while cowering under the heavy handed rule of her husband, and a friend - a best friend - who isn't real.  As he has been told countless times by the adults in his life, who know better.

Gavin has been permitted a brief escape to his aunt's house in a small town a train-ride away, while his parents are on vacation -- largely from him.  Gavin's aunt is unlike the other adults in his life - in fact, while others have assumed imaginary friends, his Auntie Gwen encouraged his visions and often asked for details -- a little too excitedly.

However, when Gavin arrives, his scatter-brained Aunt is not at the train station to pick him up.  Gavin, fortunately, has made friends with Professor Hester who drives him home, around the long winding road, to his Aunt's lodge at the front of the Pandora Estate... oh, i'm sorry, Pend*ur*ra.  ;)

As you can see from the above, which truly is just the very very beginning, Treadwell packs a lot into each sentence, pulling the reader into the world at Pendurra completely.  The entire book occurs over the course of a weekend, or so.  But rather than being weighed down with the details, Treadwell's book instead brings the world therein alive.

Treadwell is a gifted writer and I am eager to read more.  I found myself often straying back to Advent, even when time did not actually permit.  I savored the book and found myself with an appetite for reading again.  After so many "false-starts," it was nice to find a real book-book.  A book with a hearty plot, believable and endearing characters, and an intriguing story line.

It wasn't a five-star book only because it wasn't.  I don't have any precise criticisms and I can't point out specific flaws.  But this book wasn't the next Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, though it had flavors of it.  And it didn't make me rabid for more, but it almost did.

I highly recommend and I will certainly read more Treadwell.
FOUR of five stars.

No comments: