BOOK REVIEW: Strangeness and Charm by Mike Shevdon
PROS: A rich plot and strong character-development make this Urban Fantasy offering fresh and enjoyable.
CONS: At times, it wavers under a little too much historical detail, but in the end, those details enrich the story. Definitely need to read the previous books to fully appreciate this one.
BOTTOM LINE: Overall, a strong, enjoyable read.
Told from the perspective of Niall Petersen, half-mortal Warder of the Feyre court and his daughter, Alex, Strangeness and Charm picks up not long after The Road to Bedlam ends.
Alex is finally free of the shadowy group that was holding her and other half-feyre for experimentation, but life isn’t getting any easier. Haunted by the things she experienced there, struggling to adapt to her power and a non-human life, and faced with a new family dynamic, too, she lashes out. Getting involved with a group of other powerful, half-feyre creatures, she finds herself caught up in a plot to bring about the end of…everything.
Meanwhile, Niall is struggling with just as many problems. His relationship with his lover is rocky in the wake of their son’s birth, and he has to find a way to tell his ex-wife that their daughter—Alex–is still alive after all. His actions to free Alex have put him in bad graces with the Feyre court. Ordered to clean up the mess he made, he finds himself trying to serve both the immortals and his own conscience.
They both have to learn to adapt to their new lives, and figure out their relationship as father/daughter, half-feyre, and heroes. It’s a surprisingly human story dressed in the trappings of grand Urban Fantasy, and it works very well. Shevdon’s urban fantasy is unlike just about anything else I’ve read. His attention to detail and history tickle my love of historical fantasy, while long-running political and social intrigues tie the series together in a strong arc.
Overall, a strong, enjoyable read. At times, it wavers under a little too much historical detail, but in the end, those details enrich the story. (As an added bonus, Shevdon’s gotten some spiffy covers. Rather than contorted women or vague, misty swords, the art is elaborate and suggestive of something precious. The series is cohesive, too, each cover tied to the theme of the book.)
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