My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the first book in The Grenshall Manor Chronicles. I LOVED IT!
Iris "Tally" Grenshall is a wonderful character. She is an orphan in Victorian London. I really liked this enterprising woman. She is very street smart and clever young girl when we first meet her. Looking for a home, she comes across the Grenshall's. They have no children of their own, but Lord Grenshall recognizes something in Iris and adopts her into his household.
Rose is also a wonderful character. I really liked her. She is very determined and focused. After a vicious attack that leaves her with amnesia, she finds herself on a dangerous quest that will change her life forever.
There are some intriguing characters brought to life in this book. I liked getting to know Rose and Tally, but there is also Thomas Barber, a young man unwillingly turned into a monster, and Kara and Jennifer. Kara is a parapsychologist and Jennifer has an incredible paranormal ability. I liked the dynamics these characters bring to the story, but found Jennifer to still be an enigmatic mystery. I'd love to get to know her better.
This is a fantastically woven paranormal fantasy, full of mystery, intrigue and danger. I started this book and didn't want to put it down! It is told through the eyes of various characters and flicks between the past and the present. I was quickly hooked and found myself sitting on the edge of my seat as the intensity and intrigue increased. This story is full of twists and turns. Just when you think you've got the story sussed, along comes another twist to throw a spanner in the works!
I found myself gasping at certain scenes and cringing at others. There are also some truly terrifying ones involving Lady Raine and her daughter Violet and a certain piece of jewellery. This piece of jewellery is a key part of the story, although I kept wondering about it's origins. This was not entirely explained clearly in my opinion. I get that it has power, but HOW did an inanimate crystal become cursed or imbued with it's deadly effect? I am hoping that the second book in the story will shed some light on this for me. They do say that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and never is it more true in this story. The paranormal aspects of the story are quite exciting and chilling at the same time. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster throughout the story and when I reached the end of the book, it was with great sadness as I wanted to keep reading. It's a good job I purchased the second book in the series, Primal Storm, at the same time and I hope to start reading it shortly.
R.A. Smith has written a fantastic, fast paced and action packed debut paranormal/urban fantasy. I love his fast paced writing style and the flow was wonderful! I was worried that the flickering timelines would be a problem and effect the flow, but it didn't. I had never heard of R.A. Smith before, until a friend of mine mentioned him. But now that I have, I look forward to reading more books written by him. He has found a fan in me!
Although this book is not aimed at the Young Adult age group as such, I think that this book would appeal to readers aged 16 upwards who love dark urban fantasy. I also highly recommend this book to adults who love horror, paranormal or dark urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton
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Author of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles, Russell A. Smith has enjoyed many an adventure both with pencil, paper and dice, and also in real life. Each has been a formative experience for him. A keen petrolhead, he has a long list of things he wants to drive, and the list grows longer every day.
Russell has enjoyed an eclectic career so far, with more interesting past jobs including
editing newsletters and magazines, and spending a small part of the year as a Tudor soldier and time traveller. These days Russell spends a lot of time on tour across the UK investigating various houses and even more drinking tea. As well as writing, he enjoys a semi-regular presence on the Book Worm podcast on Fab Radio International.
Russell currently resides in Manchester, UK, and can be lured out of the house with the promise of fun conventions, great music or exciting teddies.