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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Goblin Moon: Mask and Dagger I by Teresa Edgerton

Title: Goblin Moon
Author: Teresa Edgerton
Series: Mask and Dagger I
Read Type: eARC from Tickety Boo Press
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You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and Amazon US
You can find out more about the author on her Blog, Facebook and sub-forum on sffchronicles.com

Book Blurb

When the Goblin Moon rises:

Coffins float down the river, alchemists seek to turn mandrakes into men, the gentlemen scoundrels known as the Knights of Mezztopholeez practice bloody rituals as vicious as they are depraved, and one man fights a secret battle against villainy and dark sorcery, with wit, ingenuity, and a lethal lack of compunction.


Author Bio

Teresa has been telling stories since she first learned to talk. More than sixty years later, she is still inventing them.

The author of eleven novels, written under her own name and her pseudonym, Madeline Howard, as well as short fiction, reviews, interviews, and articles on writing, she currently lives with her husband, two adult children, a son-in-law, two grandsons, assorted pets, and more books than you might think would fit in the remaining space.



Review

Strong language: Some, mild
Drugs: None
Violence: Some, infrequent
Sexual content: None

I was given a copy of this novel by Tickety Boo Press in return for an unbiased review.

Imagine a smattering of Charles Dickens's lyrical phrasing, such as from The Cricket on the Hearth, with a pinch of Terry Pratchett's character design set into a world both of the high society of Downton Abby, with frocks and suits at every occasion, and the grizzled backstreets of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files where you can feel the breath of an unknown monster breathing on your neck as its claws just miss—or was that merely a leaf blowing by in the wind?—then you have a taste of the world inside the pages of Goblin Moon.

The novel starts following an elderly man and his grandnephew (Caleb and Jedidiah) salvaging scrap on a river to try to make a living. They pull in a coffin, believed to hold a dressed dummy from one of the higher classes' bizarre pastimes, and take it to Jenk, a man who may have some interest in the items inside. He takes it, but he knows far more than his casual fa├žade is letting on.

The novel then splits off into several sections in very different ways of life, each connected by one character knowing one from another scene. For example, Sera, a seemingly lovely orphan of age has been sent by her uncle, Jenk, to live with her rich cousins in hope of giving her a better life. Jenk has hired Caleb on as staff for his bookstore, leaving Jedidiah out in the cold. But Jedidiah knows Sera from when they were little children. Some other characters get scenes, but this is scarce, especially in the first half of the book. Overall it leads to a feeling of family, getting a chance to know each set of characters well, though never quite being sure which are the main ones.

The story had a nice flow to it, taking time to discover the city and the world round the characters without dawdling or getting overly flowery. It is a very fine line to balance on, but I think Ms. Edgerton has accomplished it. In between these scenes, we'd get scenes of a darker or more action packed nature to keep all happy.

In particular, I found the double life and charismatic influence of Lord Skelbrooke interesting. Watching him go from gentle wooer of Sera to mysterious man of the night had my attention. Because of his seemingly dubious activities, my opinion of him teetered between good and evil for long while. Then I decided I might want to shove a ring on his finger and take him from his romantic interest!

At first you could be forgiven for believing this to be a historical novel, with the dress, the split between the classes, and the unusual pastimes, but as I read on little nooks and crannies revealed the fantasy world hidden beneath, waiting for its chance to burst onto the screen: myths that may not be so fictitious; different races, living so well integrated at times, it’s hard to notice them; dangers lurking on the street corners; and dark magics being practiced. These slowly built up under the more obvious plot until working for a dwarf seemed entirely normal! It wasn't until the end was drawing near that all of these elements popped out of the woodwork and took centre stage, yet still leaving room for the human element and emotions.

I loved the language used by the characters particularly the men when considering a woman as partner, it felt traditionally Victorian upper class done so it still felt relevant. I think you'd find few modern women who wouldn't like to be wooed like Francis woos Sera.

The 411

Overall, I felt the novel was original in its style and mix of faux history and fantasy, making for a lovely in-depth get away from the real world. The characters from various classes kept the world live while magic and fantasy elements built underneath, peering out from behind the stage curtain until the big reveal.

I give this novel well deserved 4.5 which I'm adjusting to 5 for reviewing sites.

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