Advent by James Treadwell – Book Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews James Treadwell’s fantasy/young adult debut novel, Advent, published by Hodder and Stoughton.
“A wonderfully written tale that is unfortunatley flawed by its slow pacing.” ~The Founding Fields
I really wanted to love Advent. At a first glance, it sounded right up my street, which I was partly so glad when a copy arrived on my door from Hodder to review. Sadly though, this was not the case. Whilst I did enjoy some parts of Advent, there were some major issues that I had with James Treadwell’s debut novel that I hope will be rectified with further installments in this particular trilogy, each of which I will highlight below.
“A drowning, a magician’s curse, and a centuries-old secret. “1537. A man hurries through city streets in a gathering snowstorm, clutching a box in one hand. He is Johann Faust, the greatest magician of his age. The box he carries contains a mirror safeguarding a portion of his soul and a small ring containing all the magic in the world. Together, they comprise something unimaginably dangerous.
London, the present day. Fifteen-year-old Gavin Stokes is boarding a train to the countryside to live with his aunt. His school and his parents can’t cope with him and the things he sees, things they tell him don’t really exist. At Pendurra, Gavin finds people who are like him, who see things too. They all make the same strange claim: magic exists, it’s leaking back into our world, and it’s bringing something terrible with it.
So, first off, what did I like about Advent? What kept me reading? Well, in short – it’s Treadwell’s wonderful prose. Drawing from a wide range of myth and folklore from Arthurian Legends to even more ancient tales, Advent is something that really nailed the description, the world-building and the setting. It’s richly developed and you can tell that Treadwell put a lot of time into researching his world. The characters are strong, likeable and memorable.
You’d think that I’d really enjoy this title then if it fit the previous requirements, right? I wish it was as enjoyable. It’s just that what let Advent down was that the pace seemed to drag out a bit, a slow-burner that really left me wondering at some points in this novel if I wanted to continue. Don’t go in expecting a page-turning, edge-of-your-seats read, because you will be sadly disappointed with Advent. I didn’t go in expecting a page-turning read maybe due to its epic length, the paperback page-count clocking in at four hundred and thirty nine pages. The pace is, whilst we’re on the subject, uneven. The first half of the book is slow, but it picks up dramatically in the second half. Whilst it still may not be as fast paced as say, a James Patterson novel, it isn’t completely worth overlooking.
This is a book where most people will fall into the middle ground whilst reading. It’s not unfortunately strong enough to earn a devout following, but neither is it weak enough to earn a large group of haters (Yet, Twilight did both). I reckon everyone should find something that they like about Advent though, it’s not a complete write-off.
The last chapter also sets the reader brilliantly up for the next novel, which I will be hopefully checking out to see if Treadwell improves. It’s almost as if the last chapter was written as sort of a teaser for the sequel.