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Monday, 22 June 2015
From A High Tower
From A High Tower
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
When a man is caught stealing from a walled garden owned by a strange woman, he bargains away his youngest daughter in return for food for his family. The woman, rumored to be a witch, takes the golden-haired child and locks her away in a high tower. Sixteen years later, Giselle has lived an isolated life, but her adoptive mother has trained her in Air magic, and Giselle must use her new skills on a quest to avenge her broken heart...
So, Titan sent me a Heralds of Valdemar omnibus to review a while ago, and I loved it and was eager to read more of the authors work, so when this showed up in the post I was crazy excited, especially as it sounds like Rapunzel but reimagined.
From A High Tower has Lackey's usually original twist, and the book has many unique elements to contribute to this, and a few other elements to keep every type of reader enthralled. I found myself quite surprised when the witch who had taken Giselle turned out to actually be nice and had actually raised her as if she was her own mother, rather than cruel witch you usually connect with Rapunzel.
I enjoyed the magical element, with the four elements and so on. The book was set in 19th century Germany, which I found to be an interesting time setting, and Lackey really brought it to life and sucked you in to the time period and the setting. The settings where vividly described and beautifully written. I loved the inclusion of a travelling troupe that's all Wild West-y and who do the (obviously) Wild West shows, it was certainly an interesting addition to have to the story.
This book wasn't entirely problem free for me though, which I was kind of sad about because I'd loved the Valdemar books so much! There were a few action scenes, and those were totally awesome, but the action of the book was scattered about. The book is more about relationships, and friends and so on, so lacks in the action, and is mostly setting up for the ending. To be fair, things really do pick up towards the end!
I found this book to be a tad slow paced at points, like there is a villain, but you don't really see the villain until towards the end of the book.
Giselle I found it hard to connect with as I found her to be a bit bland most of the time, but I was fascinated by her powers. There where plenty of other colourful characters to enjoy in the book, including Captain Cody who was an incredibly interesting character. He's a good hearted person who just so happens to be a bit of a womaniser, it was an interesting combination. I also enjoyed Rosamund immensely and he particular brand of magic.
There were some really nice atmospherically creepy passages to the book, and as someone who's been to the Black Forest and imagined that sort of scenario, I particularly loved the creepy Black Forest scene. Seriously, if you ever visit it, I guarantee once you're done noticing how pretty it is, your brain will be like "okay this is creepy....what was that? Was that a rabbit or a giant person eating monster!?". The Black Forest has that kind of vibe were you can easily picture creepy things happening like in the book.
While I loved the Valdemar books, this one is getting a lower rating for me. Although I'd be interested in reading more of the Elementals books, this particular one was just a bit too slow paced and lacking in the action, to be quite to my taste, however I did enjoy the majority of the book and the originality in this particular retelling.