BOOK TITLE: The Breedling and the City in the Garden
AUTHOR: Kimberlee Ann Bastian
GENRE: YA Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 280
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Element Odysseys - Book One
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours for this review copy
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.
I picked this book up for two main reasons. It had been so long since I had read a YA fiction novel, and it had an alluring cover. Something about the cover and the font in it made me want to read this. There was simplicity in the colour combination but elegance in the font and title placement. I moved on to the summary, and despite one or two glaring phrasal errors, I managed to understand what the book was going to be about and began really eagerly.
It is hard to pen a book set sometime in the bygone centuries / decades and still manage to maintain the accuracy of information presented regarding the time and social circumstances of that period. Harder still is to combine two different worlds with 'centuries' in between them, trying to mingle it with a dystopian fiction.
The narrative succeeds for very few reasons, and one of them is the freshness of the writing and the uniquely named characters. It was a different experience to read and try and figure out where the mythology angle came in. Though I enjoyed the story and the book itself, it was not because it was based on one of my most favorite genres ever, but because there was a stoic beauty in the way the struggles were portrayed and that is where the author managed to connect with me as a reader.
The Breedling & The City in the Garden managed to grab and hold my interest in the prologue and a few subsequent chapters. But with continued reading, even to someone like me who was not part of the original scene setting in any way, some things sounded really off key. Writing a book that combines two different worlds can confuse the reader if not executed properly. Most importantly, I could not shake off the feeling that the narrative mingled the scenes from different eras mentioned in the book and though this might not be a problem for many readers, it did make me pause occasionally.
Constant reminders (using the characters like Bartholomew who travels in 1930's Chicago, to serve punishment for breaking rules) of this book being an YA Fiction is done with the different vocabulary (invented terms, if you will) showing that there is more to this book than just the visible America. Mingling mythology with a relatively modern realistic America was not done quite right.
What concerned me the most about this (otherwise well written) book is that the summary and the story seem like they belong to different worlds altogether. I do have the habit of checking if a story adheres to the summary and what it promised on the back cover and this book was a bit off the mark from what I expected it would be. Classifying books into specific genres seriously limits the scope of the creator and the reader, but when a book goes in a circuitous route to say something, it might look like a journey that lacked destination.
I will, of course, appreciate the book for the writing, but there are certain flaws that need to be corrected in the subsequent books in the series and I would recommend this book to anyone who is bored of the regular mythology books out there and want to try something different.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The cover is one of the best I have seen in recent times
- The narration and style are really engaging, if you do not worry about the story and the depths
- The epilogue was one of the best parts of the book.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
- The story lacks form in some places
- The summary and the story are not quite in sync
- The book needs to be a little more concise and accurate about the timeline it is supposed to be based in.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is a mythology fan but is bored of the same old run of the mill stories. If you want to read a different book from your genre, go for this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback
PRICE $7.99 for Kindle, $16.95 for Paperback
BOOK LINKS: Amazon