Written by: Sara M. Harvey
The premise: this steampunk fantasy is steeped in the Biblical legends of the Nephilim and is the first installment of a trilogy. Portia is sent to an abandoned convent to investigate news of a demon. She's still reeling from the incident that cost her lover Imogen her life and has little to no confidence in her abilities or magic. Fortunately, the ghost of Imogen is always at Portia's side, giving her guidance when she needs it. However, it may not be enough, as what Portia hunts is far greater and more dangerous than anyone ever imagined, and worst of all, her dead lover might be involved in a plot that will destroy her.
Glad It Was Free: there's potential in this book, no doubt, and certainly, Harvey is dealing with original material when it comes to the fantasy genre. Using Biblical mythology/legends that embrace more than simply angels and demons can make for a fascinating read, but my wish is that rather than writing a novella, the author had really THROWN herself into the world and created a story that was bigger and more epic. I wanted to like the book far more than I did, and I blame my distance on the fact that I'm thrown into the action and expected to care about characters that I don't even know in crisis. The info-dumping, while extremely necessary to get through the book, is unfortunate because I'd rather experience and discover the world, not have it dumped on me. It's a fast read that reminds me of a hybrid between Harry Potter and the film The Orphanage in terms of setting and world-building, which is kind of fun. But I firmly believe the novella (or a trilogy of) is the wrong form for this epic set of ideas, of world-building, and even the level of relationships that have formed between the characters. Everything about this story is epic, but the form is far too short to let the reader truly appreciate and experience it, which in turn is a let down. Will I read the rest of the trilogy? No. I'm convinced the two sequels will be told in the same manner, and if the form doesn't work for me, why read more just to get more out of the world and characters? That may not make sense, but it boils down to the fact that this should've been something far bigger, and anything less just won't do. Not for me.
The full review, which does include spoilers (and cover commentary!), may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: Sara M. Harvey's THE CONVENT OF THE PURE