- A Dribble Of Ink
- A Fantasy Reader
- Adventures In Reading
- Bastard Books
- Beauty In Ruins
- Bibliophile Stalker
- Big Dumb Object
- Bitten By Books
- Boing Boing
- Book Country
- Bookworm Blues
- Caleigh's Blog
- Charlotte's Library
- Cheryl's Mewsings
- Civilian Reader
- Compulsion Reads
- Critical Mass
- Curated Fantasy Books
- Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews
- Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
- Dreams & Speculation
- Drying Ink
- Edi's Book Lighthouse
- Epic Fantasy Rocks! Forum
- Everything is Nice
- Falcata Times
- Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' News & Reviews
- Fantasy Book News
- Fantasy Cafe
- Fantasy Literature
- Far Beyond Reality
- Feminist SF
- Free SF Reader
- Gav Reads
- Genre Reader
- Graeme's SFF
- Grasping For The Wind
- Greg Hamerton
- Grimdark Reader
- Hero Complex
- Horror Reanimated
- Jeff VanderMeer
- King of the Nerds
- Layers of Thought
- Mithril Wisdom
- My Favourite Books
- Myrmidon Books
- Mysterious Outposts
- Neth Space
- Old Bat's Belfry
- Only The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
- Reading The Leaves
- Realms of Speculative Fiction
- Rob's Blog O' Stuff
- Sci Fi Songs
- Smorgasbord Fantasia
- Speculative Book Review
- Speculative Fiction Junkie
- Staffer's Book Review
- Stainless Steel Droppings
- Stomping On Yeti
- Tez Says
- The Agony Column
- The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
- The Book Smugglers
- The Broken Bullhorn
- The Fantasy Bookshelf
- The Green Man Review
- The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf & Book Review
- The Night Bazaar
- The Nocturnal Library
- The OF Blog
- The Overlook Press
- The Ranting Dragon
- The Speculative Scotsman
- The Stamp (of Approval)
- The Vinciolo Journal
- The Wertzone
- The World in the Satin Blog
- Val's Random Comments
- Variety SF
- Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic
- Voyager Books
- Walker of Worlds
- When Gravity Fails
- Zeno Agency
- ► 2014 (153)
- ► 2013 (260)
- ► 2012 (287)
- ► 2011 (317)
- ► 2010 (346)
- Dragonseed: A Novel of the Dragon Age by James Max...
- "The New Space Opera 2" ed. by Gardner Dozois and ...
- Overlooked Masterpiece of Dark Fantasy: "Monument"...
- 2009 Locus Award Winners
- Three Capsule Reviews 3 - "Little Stranger, Hand o...
- Pyr strikes again!! Super steampunk author Tim Ake...
- "Lord of Silence" by Mark Chadbourn (Reviewed by M...
- "Jasmyn" by Alex Bell (Reviewed by Liviu Suciu)
- "Naamah's Kiss" by Jacqueline Carey (Reviewed by L...
- Alastair Reynolds will write ten novels in ten yea...
- Sebastien Doubinsky offers magazine "Le Zaporogue ...
- FBC co-editor Fabio Fernandes to edit Indian SFF m...
- "Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America"...
- Sneak Peek for Gail Martin's Dark Lady's Chosen
- Two Capsule Reviews - "Sandman Slim and The Price ...
- Three Capsule Reviews 2 - "In Great Waters, Green ...
- Cory Doctorow's Little Brother world premiere play...
- "The Lovers" by John Connolly (Reviewed by Mihir W...
- Interview with Mark Chadbourn (Interviewed by Mihi...
- The Insect-Kinden are coming to the US Shores cour...
- "GreeHee: The Journey of Five. Book One of the Tal...
- New Author Simon J.A. Turney Interregnum book trai...
- "Overthrowing Heaven" (Jon & Lobo #3) by Mark Van ...
- "The Library of Shadows" by Mikkel Birkegaard (Rev...
- Brazilian Speculative Fiction - A Small Overview
- Three Capsule Reviews - "The Kindly Ones, Wonderfu...
- Index of Contributor Essays
- Catherynne Valente has a new project and she needs...
- The PKD Award Nominees, Part 5 - Fast Forward, Vol...
- Interview with John Connolly (Interviewed by Mihir...
- "Consorts of Heaven" by Jaine Fenn (Reviewed by Li...
- “Cemetery Dance” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Ch...
- "The Edge of the World" by Kevin Anderson (Reviewe...
- An Overview of Indian Speculative Fiction by Mihir...
- Some Superb Covers
- "Eclipse 2" ed by Jonathan Strahan (Reviewed by L...
- "The Strain" by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan...
- The Will and the Word: A Tribute to David Eddings
- David Eddings, at 77
- Personal Favorite from 2008: "The Immortal Prince"...
- "Alara Unbroken" by Doug Beyer (Reviewed by David ...
- Jasper Kent sells one more book in his superb hist...
- Age of Misrule Book 1: World's End by Mark Chadbou...
- ▼ June (43)
- ► 2008 (376)
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Official Alex Bell Website
Order "Jasmyn" HERE
INTRODUCTION: One the best debuts from last year was Alex Bell's The Ninth Circle (FBC Review HERE) which made my top five mainstream fantastic novels list and was a personal favorite too. Without knowing more than the title, Ms. Bell' second novel "Jasmyn" became one of my most expected books of 2009 since I really, really loved the style of her debut and I thought that she will only improve as a novelist as time passes.
After reading the novel twice in two days I have to say that the very high expectations I had of "Jasmyn" were not only met but surpassed and this one will be most likely a #1 or co-#1 mainstream fantastic for 2009. It is just a magical book, another fairy tale for adults in the vein of my top 08 book "Memoirs of a Master Forger", but this time with real princesses, knights and faeries.
OVERVIEW: In contemporary England, Jasmyn Gracey, 27 years old is burying her husband Liam. They were childhood friends since age 4, when the albino Jasmyn sent to kindergarten for the first time could not understand why her classmates were shunning her ("Is that girl a ghost, Mummy?"). But then a boy rolled a ball to her and asked "Are you a snow princess?"
Later they were engaged for several years and after a 10 month marriage, Liam died of a sudden cerebral aneurysm. And then at the funeral five black swans fell dead from the sky...
Jasmyn is a a passionate violinist and works as music teacher, while Liam is a writer about supernatural phenomena.
Ben is Liam's older brother. Quiet and reserved to Liam's brashness and daredevil pastimes, and an architect as opposed to Liam's more flamboyant though much less lucrative career, Ben had a bad falling out with Liam around the time of the marriage and he has been living in Germany since.
Jaxon Thorpe is an American photographer and business partner of Liam who has trouble believing in Liam's death, while Lucas is a strange man who seems to follow Jasmyn with ease.
The novel stands at about 300 pages and is narrated by Jasmyn. Taking us on a tour of real-world superb vistas from England to California, to the mountains and castles of Bavaria and several other places that I will leave the reader to discover, "Jasmyn" has a superb ending too.
ANALYSIS: First and foremost "Jasmyn" is another tale of clouded identities, though our narrator is convinced of who she is and has the house, the documents, the pictures and the relatives to prove it as opposed to Gabriel from "The Ninth Circle" whose true identity was a mystery almost to the end. There are some niggling details that do not quite add up, some whispers from her in-laws and from her friends, but they also can be the normal embarrassment of people encountering a truly bereaved widow like her, who cannot imagine how she will live without her life-partner.
Of course that is until the weirdness starts with the swans at the funeral and deepens continually so that she is finally forced to start looking for answers.
Another major difference with "The Ninth Circle" is in the nature of the fantastic which here comes from the fantasy spectrum (swan princesses and knights, faeries) rather than the religious one (St. Michael, Satan and the like). As it behooves that, "Jasmyn" is not as dark as "The Ninth Circle", and while the tension ratchets up and the twists and turns keep changing our understanding of what's what, the ominous foreboding of the author's debut is replaced here with a tale of adventure and discovery. Of course there is tragedy and heartbreak too, but "Jasmyn" is a truly enjoyable and entertaining novel and our heroine is a superbly done character who grows on the reader.
As the other major character of the bookl, Ben's role is only slowly revealed though for the experienced reader it will become clear by mid-novel, clue by clue. But even so there were some twists that managed to surprise me.
As villains we have one that's clearly marked as such from his first encounter with Jasmyn, but the true main villain is also only slowly revealed, though again by mid-book the identity is not in doubt anymore.
The writing style is absolutely great making the book a pleasure to read and a page turner end to end that I could not put down, while the descriptions of the various novel locations are excellent.
Overall "Jasmyn" is a magical novel which is highly, highly recommended, a fairy tale for adults that will enchant and cheer you up in the end. Also in its expanded descriptive range and very smoothly flowing prose, the book shows Ms. Bell's growth as an author and any new book by her is a read asap for me.
12:01 AM | Posted by Liviu | | Edit Post