Author: Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Publication Date: June 2010
Hardcover: 299 Pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy
Reviewed by: Laura
RATING: 6/10 – Good
When Evie Walker goes home to spend time with her dying father, she discovers that his creaky old house in Hope’s Fort, Colorado, is not the only legacy she will inherit. Hidden behind the basement door is a secret and magical storeroom, a place where wondrous treasures from myth and legend are kept safe until they are needed again.
Of course, this legacy is not without its costs: There are those who will give anything to find a way in.
With the help of her father, a mysterious stranger named Alex, and some unexpected heroes, Evie must guard the storeroom against ancient and malicious forces, and protect both the past and the future even as the present unravels. Old heroes and notorious villains alike rise to fight on her side or to do their best to bring about her defeat.
At stake is the fate of the world and the prevention of nothing less than the apocalypse.
This book wasn’t quite what I expected it to be at all. I love Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series, but this was very different. It took a little while to get going, as it felt very disjointed at first. You begin with Evie the main protagonist’s story, then the second chapter is about the fall of Troy which totally threw me. And the book continues like this with alternating stories. Evie, more about Troy and the Greek Gods, some other stories which it took me a while to twig were of Evie’s ancestors. Then, to top it off, Evie was also writing a comic book and we get inserts of the comic story written into the narrative too. Because of this it takes a while to get into the swing of things. I found the sections on Evie’s comic book quite distracting, and found myself skipping over them and then worried that I would miss something of importance and made myself go back and re-read them.
I find the Greek Gods fascinating, and also the main concept of this book was fabulously unique. Evie’s family are responsible for caring for the storeroom. A room where magical artefacts that the rest of the world believe to be fictitious. This is a responsibility that has been passed on from generation to generation.
As Evie returns home to care for her dying father, she knows nothing of the storeroom’s existence, and becomes puzzled by the strange visitors that keep turning up at the house.
The story is set somewhere in the near future, with the world on brink of all out war. But the details of this is never fully explained, which is a shame as I would have liked more and to understand how the world had got there and the full implications. There are references to rationing and check points, but they were only references.
The book instead focuses on the storeroom and the mythology behind it, bringing into the story a collection of fascinating characters interested in getting their hands on its contents. With the world on the brink of an apocalypse some of the characters intent on preventing it, others hastening it.
The problem with this book is that it tried to achieve too much, there was a lot going on which meant the author did not have time to fully explain all of the concepts. On Carrie Vaughn’s website this is listed as a stand-alone novel and not the beginning of a series, but it felt like if some of the story had been given more time to breathe, perhaps across two or three books then it would have been more satisfying. As a stand-alone I would of also liked a little more time spent on the ending.
Despite its problems, I did still enjoy this book and if you’re a fan of stories with reference to Greek mythology then I also think you will like it too. Evie is a great character, and I totally fell for Alex and the two of them really make the book work. It was also fun, and the author’s sense of humour became apparent at certain points when a couple of hero mythological characters popped in I couldn’t help but smile.
This book counts towards the following BCC Reading Challenges:
Book #28 100+ Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2011
Book #8 Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge 2011