Christian Klaver’s “Shadows Over London” (Cam Cat Books, $ 14.99 bp, $ 24.99 hb) is an entertaining young adult novel that is the first book in the “Heart of Thorns” series.
Set primarily in Victorian England, the atmospheric fantasy tale features 15-year-old Justice Kasric and his bizarre family as they face the invasion of the Faerie.
In this alternate story, Justice, her younger brother Henry, older sister Faith, and their mother are forcibly taken from their home in the middle of the night by her father and his men.
The Kasrics find themselves in a strange mansion on the outskirts of London, where family loyalties are strained to the point of breaking.
With their parents on opposite sides of the fairy invasion of England, the siblings must make tough choices, with heartbreaking results.
Justice has a better idea of what is going on – her merchant father, who is often absent – has confided with her.
At the age of 6, she witnesses an unusual confrontation between her father and an angry Fairy King.
Many pages are devoted to character development; it is often a challenge to keep track of the conflicting relationships and beliefs associated with them.
The final part of the book takes place at sea, where Justice and others are faced with life-threatening deadly situations.
There are many magical elements involved, with dragons, monsters, goblins and more; there is a definite influence from JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
Klaver, who lived and worked in the Lansing area, now resides in the suburbs of Detroit. He has appeared in a variety of magazines, including “Escape Pod”, “Anti-Matter” and “Dark Wisdom Anthology”.
The first chapter of the second book in the series, “Justice at Sea”, is included as a teaser at the end of this imaginative tale. It’s likely to keep readers satisfied looking for other memorable adventures of the strong-willed heroine.
Ray Walsh, owner of the Curious Book Shop in East Lansing, has regularly reviewed a variety of new books since 1987. His email address is[email protected].