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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Empty Shelf/Mad Reviewer #36 - Hideous Creatures by S. E. Lister

This really is a truly remarkable novel, which I truly hope begins snowballing in terms of how widely it is read.

Arthur Hallingham, the youngest son of an English earl, is on the run from his former life in England, though we do not find out for a long time as to why that is. He meets a mysterious man named Shelo, whom Arthur felt call to him from across the ocean. Together they set out to change the world, though Arthur is reliant on only breadcrumbs of information that Shelo chooses to share with him.

This is historical fiction with dark, fantastical twists. The writing coaxes you along, gently, offering you threads of information, neatly weaving them into a great, big tapestry you don't see clearly until the very end. The descriptions are elegant and lyrical, with almost throwaway phrases that don't seem to matter at first glance, but unawares they create vivid backdrop of the world the reader is drawn into.

When the story does reach its stunning, dramatic conclusion you wonder how you didn't figure it out before, because it makes so much sense, though it is painful and heart wrenching.

If you haven't read this amazing book, do. It's hard to believe that this is only a debut novel - it reads like the work of a much more experienced author. I can't wait for her next book, "The Immortals".

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