Monday, 1 August 2011

Firebrand (Rebel Angel Series #1) - Gillian Philip Review

Book details:
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Strident Publishing
Language English
ISBN-10: 1905537190
ISBN-13: 978-1905537198

It is the last decade of the sixteenth century: a time of religious wars in the full-mortal world. But the Sithe are at peace, hidden behind the Veil that protects their world until their queen, Kate NicNiven, determines to destroy it. Seth MacGregor is the half-feral son of a Sithe nobleman. When his father is assassinated, and Seth is exiled with his brother Conal to the full-mortal world, they vow not only to survive, but to return to reclaim their fortress and save the Veil. But even the Veil s power cannot protect the brothers when the brutal witch-hunts begin...

Links to buy:

My review:
Thanks again to Strident publishing for providing me with this book! As soon as I got it, I was excited, and with good reason to. The cover looks amazing, but more than that was the promise of a new fantasy book that hosted the tale of fairies. Not the pink and green winged creatures as you might come to believe, but instead hard, unyielding, strong, courageous characters who are loyal and bound by family ties. I think that’s what I loved most about the book, the undercurrent and underlying theme of a sense of family and loyalty. It’s one theme that’s be portrayed so many times in so many ways, but the joy is in the storytelling, not just the story, and this was definitely the case for Firebrand.

Analysis of plot:
Starting with a flashback, it shows Seth, the 16 year old crouched hidden, waiting for his brother and a companion to appear. Through a slight narrative, we gauge that the brothers, despite not being in range of talking to each other, are mentally conversing and Seth’s older brother Conal convinces him to shoot them both when the time is right. This scene ends with Seth ready to pull the trigger. From there on, the book only gets better, with a mixture of adventure, love, and action which despite its fantasy genre, it makes you really believe in the story, such is the writing.

While after reading the blurb, you might guess at what happens next as a cliché fantasty book, but you’re wrong and gladly so! The plot of this novel kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, and Philip twists and turns to evade giving you what you want most! Yet through the journey you’re taken on as a reader, you come to love Philip’s beautiful writing that encapsulates the harsh struggle of the character Seth, who is willing to sacrifice everything for his brother – showing how the ties of family are strong, even for a young 16 year old who has had a rocky childhood.

Set against the backdrop of Scotland, Philip will take your breath away with the intense scenery description that’s set in the 16th century and how the two brothers who are exiled, cope with being in the mortal world. The destruction of the “Veil” that separates the mortal and fairy world in the book can almost be touched as you read the hardships the brothers face and Philip has lent historical context to it as witch-hunts going on in the novel mirror the traditions of the 16th century.

Analysis of characters:
Seth, being the central character, is undeniably loveable. At first he may come across as bitter and thanks to his harsh and unaffectionate childhood, may seem capable of great hatred and vicious violence, but deep underneath that, Philip shows us the bonds of love and loyalty freely available to those who stick with Seth long enough to find it. He has been constructed magically by Philip as she lends him all the great attributes which makes him a young hero, at a mere 16, yet it shows the strength of his character.

The love for his older brother, who is seen as being the calmer one, the one more loved by his father, is breathtaking as it was Conal who Seth felt the greatest connection with, and that is clear to see throughout the book as the events the brother’s share together, binds them by blood, family ties and loyalty.

Slowly, over the course of the book, you too will come to love Seth and Conal for it can’t be helped – you have to love him and the passion he feels, and you’ll feel immersed in the book so much that fantasy may just become your reality. This book is a must read, I can’t wait for the second in the series, “Bloodstone”, the review for which can be found here.


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