Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: The Breedling & the City in the Garden by Kimberlee Ann Bastian with Giveaway

The Element Odysseys #1
by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
YA Fantasy/Mythology 
280 pages

Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.
These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.

He chose defiance.

Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.

Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.

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By mixing elements of mythology, Christianity and imaginative fantasy into the harsher street life of a 1930 Chicago, an intriguing world is formed which promises a fantastic ride.

Bartholomew is a Breedling who has managed to do the impossible--escape the thumb of the Fates. With the help of the mortal and orphaned Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must solve the riddle to remember his own mission before he can bring about the change that might save them all.

If nothing else, this is a book with a wonderfully described world. The 1930 Chicago streets come to life so vividly that the smells, atmosphere and tastes are almost tangible. Not only is this due to lovely--and at times, poetic--descriptions and attention to detail, but also to Charlie Reese's character. As an orphan determined to follow his mother's words that he should watch over those smaller than him, he is simply a character to fall in love with. He's sharp witted, has a heart deeper than the sea and has suffered enough to gain an appreciation for the important things in life.

Bartholomew, aka Buck, is more awkward. Much of this has to do with his several thousand year old age and lack of experience in the 'real' world. His uncertainty comes across so clearly that it hurts. Unlike Charlie, Buck always is an arm reach away and is a little harder to sympathize with. This becomes even more obvious as other characters in Chicago come to life with strong personalities, easy to picture and understand.

Much of Buck's distance also has to do with the complex fantasy world he originates from. The background is multi-layered and complex, making it original and interesting but also, at times, hard to understand. Although several points were left foggy even at the end, it was still a plot worthy to get lost in. There just has to be some acceptance that some things aren't clear, which with fantasy, isn't necessarily out of place.

There is never a boring moment, and the story was a delight to read. It's written in third person and dives without warning from one character's point of view into another's. This was a bit jolting at times, but also made it easier to understand some of the more difficult situations. Plus, it brought some of the side characters to life in a way which enriches the scenes.

This is a story young adults as well as older ones are sure to enjoy and I'm looking forward to see where the story goes next.

And here she is. . .
Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a unique love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. This melting pot of elements is what prompted the creation of her epic ELEMENT ODYSSEYS series, starting with the reboot of her debut novel now titled THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN.

When she is not in her writer's room, working her current "day job", or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of your Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture. ​

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~Pinterest  ~ Instagram


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1 comment:

Kimberlee Ann Bastian said...

Thank you ever so kindly, Tonja for the lovely review and for being apart of my book tour. Look for the second installment June of 2017.
Happy Reading and regards, Kimberlee