Tuesday, October 25, 2011

[Review & Giveaway] Brimstone by Alan Skinner

Title: Brimstone {goodreads}
Authors: Alan Skinner
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 04/10/10
Publisher: Sibling Press
Source: For review (thanks Sibling Press!)
Age: 14+ Mild to moderate violence and gore
Pages: 300
Series: #1 (Earth, Air, Fire and Water)

My Rating:

At the age of 14, Jenny Swift is torn from her home deep in the forest to become apprenticed to the master alchemist Richard Antrobus. Jenny's mother was a healer from the East who has taught her well and from whom she inherits her exotic looks. But this difference means that she faces suspicion and distrust as she is drawn into a plot to throw the world into chaos. Not only does Jenny have to fight to stay alive amid the treachery and intrigue that surrounds the court of the Duke, but she finds her friendships and loyalties tested to the full. Forced to seek the key to the greatest secrets of the alchemists, Jenny discovers the power that lies within her - skills which could make her the greatest alchemist of any age.
My thoughts: 

What Skinner has written in 'Brimstone' is a cleverly spun tale that draws upon a reader's imagination in ways that any good fantasy novel should. Full of drama, danger, intrigue, magic, astonishment, and Romance with a capital 'R', 'Brimstone' fires up to a good start - as a series starter and a debut novel.
My synopsis: We begin with Jenny Swift, who is taken away from her home in the most horrid conditions she thought possible - only a handful of days left of her mum's life and she will be spending them playing the role of alchemist's apprentice. To one of the most esteemed and acknowledged alchemists in the world, mind, which would serve as a huge honour for anyone. But Jenny just wants to be with her parents and live in their cosy home in the woodlands. As Jenny and Antrobus, the alchemist, reach the great city of Vale, Jenny is thrown into imminent danger. Murder, betrayal...

Cover: Like any book, 'Brimstone' comes with its good points, and its bad points. Cover-wise, I probably would not have taken a second glance at it, to be completely honest. It's nothing to jump over the moon about, and it has a dated look to it. It gets the job done though.

Writing: 3rd perspective. Yes, it did result in a bit of a detached feeling towards the characters. Overall, it was also quite wordy (at times), and I did need to skip passages I found unnecessary. At best, Skinner remembers to include all the senses when describing something that should be dramatic and elicit strong reactions from the reader.

Characters: I liked and appreciated them the same way I would appreciate a Shakespearean character - a good point by far. I think with more character development, that I'm hoping will be in the next books, these characters can go much further and become memorable ones. I don't have a favourite, though I did enjoy the scenes with Emily and Jenny together; they have such a great friendship.

Ending: Definitive, momentous, heartfelt and dramatic. The twists at the end really threw me off, but any twists usually do.

Recommended for any fan of the fantasy/historical genres.

Note: Thank you Sibling Press for the documents and notes on the book, AND the actual book itself! I actually didn't have a look through the notes until afterward, and if I had known there was a character list in there I would have looked further, since there are so many characters in this book!


Check out the first chapter HERE.


* cheapest Australian e-store price



All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---


Giveaway Time!

Australia only, ends 18th of November.

All you have to do is COMMENT below and answer this question: Which is your favourite element - earth, air, fire or water? Include an email address so I can contact you if you win!

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