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The Summoning: A Supernatural Dark Fantasy

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When student Adam Parker unearths a mysterious metal artefact during an archaeological dig in a Scottish forest, little does he realize that his life is about to change forever. For it is a sign that Adam has been summoned to fulfil his destiny, playing his part in an epic battle for supremacy that has been waged for centuries. Introduced to a dark shadow world that exists When student Adam Parker unearths a mysterious metal artefact during an archaeological dig in a Scottish forest, little does he realize that his life is about to change forever. For it is a sign that Adam has been summoned to fulfil his destiny, playing his part in an epic battle for supremacy that has been waged for centuries. Introduced to a dark shadow world that exists alongside our own, a place of despair and wilful cruelty, Adam will be tested to the very limits of his endurance. For within that shadow world lurks Rabanus Bloor, the man who has sworn to seek out Adam and destroy him - whatever it takes.


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When student Adam Parker unearths a mysterious metal artefact during an archaeological dig in a Scottish forest, little does he realize that his life is about to change forever. For it is a sign that Adam has been summoned to fulfil his destiny, playing his part in an epic battle for supremacy that has been waged for centuries. Introduced to a dark shadow world that exists When student Adam Parker unearths a mysterious metal artefact during an archaeological dig in a Scottish forest, little does he realize that his life is about to change forever. For it is a sign that Adam has been summoned to fulfil his destiny, playing his part in an epic battle for supremacy that has been waged for centuries. Introduced to a dark shadow world that exists alongside our own, a place of despair and wilful cruelty, Adam will be tested to the very limits of his endurance. For within that shadow world lurks Rabanus Bloor, the man who has sworn to seek out Adam and destroy him - whatever it takes.

30 review for The Summoning: A Supernatural Dark Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    There is something unique about the British horror novel . . . a certain feel and sound that sets it apart from its North American counterpart. I'm not just talking proper English spelling, barren moors, or rain-slicked cobblestone streets either. No, it's the style of narration, the pacing, the setting, and the atmosphere that all conspire to create that British feel For its first half, The Summoning: A Supernatural Dark Fantasy does indeed resemble the quintessential British horror novel. In There is something unique about the British horror novel . . . a certain feel and sound that sets it apart from its North American counterpart. I'm not just talking proper English spelling, barren moors, or rain-slicked cobblestone streets either. No, it's the style of narration, the pacing, the setting, and the atmosphere that all conspire to create that British feel For its first half, The Summoning: A Supernatural Dark Fantasy does indeed resemble the quintessential British horror novel. In fact, my first experience with F.G. Cottam reminded me very much of my first brushes with the likes of Ramsey Campbell, James Herbert, and Phil Rickman. His telling of the tale is slow and methodical, but dripping with menace and unease. It's like sitting in a darkened room, while the rain falls upon the roof, and the wind lashes branches against the windows, listening to an old ghost story. You can't help but feel the dampness pressing in on all sides, with the chill in your bones only partially from the cold. It's a remarkably simple set-up. A young archaeological feels compelled to wander away from the team and start his own dig, beneath a mammoth old tree. He hears strange music in the distance (trumpets he only recalls later), and finds his mysterious treasure just two feet down . . . a treasure he feels out with his bare hands, never so much as grazing it with his trowel. Grayling, the professor overseeing the dig, is immediately cautious, suspicious almost, and enlists the young man in a mystery about which he clearly knows more than he's telling. As Adam is sent to consult with an expert in town, the mystery only grows, with obscure warnings about things untouched and places unseen - at least, by most of us. As talk turns from evil doppelgangers, old magic, and ancient monsters to hidden worlds and mysterious travelers, the story slips from the realm of Campbell, Herbert, and Rickman, and into something more akin to the likes of Neil Gaiman. We find ourselves transitioned into a dark fantasy, part portal and part urban, that remains connected to its horrific origins. The story suddenly becomes bigger and older, encompassing not just Adam and the young woman to who he's entrusted his secret, but their fathers as well. Without ever losing the original thread of the tale, Cottam pulls back gossamer veils and adds one shadowy layer after another, with Martin - the third member of the romantic triangle - bringing it all together the moment he ascends (or is it descends?) the stairs into the forest. The element of the fantastic really shines through in the second half of the novel, but never so brightly as to extinguish the horror. I wasn't sure how I felt about the transition at first, but once I understood where it all was headed, and saw how deftly Cottam arranged the players and the stories, I was more than happy to follow it all the way down the path. Having said that, it's clearly only a part of the larger tale, and it appears the climax that I was expecting is to be delayed until the next volume. Both monstrous and magical, The Summoning is quite unlike anything I've read in recent memory, and all the more appreciated because of it. Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    I put off reading The Summoning for quite some time because, although it's written by one of my favourite authors, I wasn't sure I would like it, since it differs from his previous work in two significant ways. Positioned as a 'supernatural dark fantasy', it is the first in a series called The Shadow World; although Cottam's books usually have elements of horror, they are more ghost stories than full-on fantasy epics, and all have been standalone novels. It's also the first of his books to be I put off reading The Summoning for quite some time because, although it's written by one of my favourite authors, I wasn't sure I would like it, since it differs from his previous work in two significant ways. Positioned as a 'supernatural dark fantasy', it is the first in a series called The Shadow World; although Cottam's books usually have elements of horror, they are more ghost stories than full-on fantasy epics, and all have been standalone novels. It's also the first of his books to be aimed at a young adult audience. Both fantasy and YA are genres I don't read much of, and I also tend to have a bit of an aversion to most things that are part of a series. Altogether, the signs weren't really that good, and in some ways, I think I was right to worry. Of the books I've read by Cottam, I definitely enjoyed this the least, but I just felt it wasn't for me rather than thinking it was actually bad. In an evocative, rain-soaked opening set at an archaeological dig in Scotland, we are introduced to Adam, a student who unearths an unusual, anachronistic object which he immediately feels is a significant, even life-changing, find. His tutor, Professor Grayling, is immediately suspicious and despatches Adam and the strange carving to visit a colleague, McGuire, in Brighton. Meanwhile, a kind of love triangle is set up: Adam has a crush on the beautiful Jane, who may or may not have a thing for fellow student Martin. As various strands of the plot progress, the story of the 'shadow world' - one parallel to, and in conflict with, ours - emerges. This first volume in the series is all about scene-setting, establishing the richly detailed backstory of the shadow world and how these characters are key players in its destiny. The good and bad news is that this book doesn't read like a YA novel. Good because as far as I'm concerned, that's an advantage. Bad because it's supposed to be targeted at that market and it doesn't, for me, have the right feel - I suspect it will be more successful with adult fantasy/SF fans than with teenage ones. Impressive in its scope, with a large cast of characters and relationships that don't adhere to the usual stereotypes of this genre, it feels too mature to be truly endearing to that audience. I agree with a couple of other reviews I've read that Adam and Jane don't speak or act like 19-year-old students. Then again, to be honest I feel that's one of the main barriers to enjoyment (for me personally) with most YA anyway - maybe readers of the characters' age won't pick up on it so much. Ultimately my feelings about this book are really mixed and I constantly changed my opinion throughout reading it. I love Cottam's writing and in parts of this book it's better than ever, bringing palpable atmosphere to every scene, particularly in the earlier parts of the narrative in which Adam first discovers the artefact. However, I can't deny that the fantasy-series premise just doesn't appeal to me and is not something I would ever have considered reading had I not already been a fan of the author. At points I was simply uninterested in what was happening or being described. A fantasy saga needs a great deal of world-building to be successful, and that is what Cottam's doing here - especially so, because this is the first part of a trilogy (or more?) - but if, like me, you're not really into the genre, it can feel like a bit of a slog. I'm probably not going to read future installments of the series, purely because I just don't think this kind of story is my cup of tea. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate what Cottam's done with this book - it's arguably his best work to date in a technical sense. I would recommend The Summoning to readers who have previously enjoyed fantasy novels or series, but perhaps not to those for whom that type of thing is usually a turn-off. Hopefully, this book will introduce Cottam's back catalogue to a whole new audience.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    The Summoning opens with a lovely juicy start, drawing you in at once with the eerie atmospherics of the isolated forest setting. You can practically smell the fern! I loved the feeling of being cut-off the early chapters invoked, being out in the wilds of the unspoiled woodland with MC, Adam. I found some of the later dialogue and little slow and plodding, but I think much of this is aimed at world-building and setting up for later events. The main characters are university students, and to me The Summoning opens with a lovely juicy start, drawing you in at once with the eerie atmospherics of the isolated forest setting. You can practically smell the fern! I loved the feeling of being cut-off the early chapters invoked, being out in the wilds of the unspoiled woodland with MC, Adam. I found some of the later dialogue and little slow and plodding, but I think much of this is aimed at world-building and setting up for later events. The main characters are university students, and to me didn't always read like typical 19-20 year olds. But then again, maybe they just aren't typical, being more educated, worldly-wise and mature than their peers. Once we encounter the 'shadow world' of later chapters, I was reminded of the Mists of Avalon and Arthurian legends. The second half of the book also spends quite a bit of time developing the back story and is flashback heavy, but necessarily so. I did enjoy The Summoning for the most part and while I'm invested enough to read the next in the series I'm not in any great hurry to do so.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Martin Belcher

    I can honestly say this the best F G Cottam book I have read to date. From the first page it grabbed my attention like no other book has done in a long while, when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Cottam has upped his game and introduced not only a supernatural thriller based in our world but also in an evil shadow world "Endrimor", a world physically comparable in size but smaller in population, seemingly stuck in a medieval feudal type system, plagued with brutality, evil creatures I can honestly say this the best F G Cottam book I have read to date. From the first page it grabbed my attention like no other book has done in a long while, when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Cottam has upped his game and introduced not only a supernatural thriller based in our world but also in an evil shadow world "Endrimor", a world physically comparable in size but smaller in population, seemingly stuck in a medieval feudal type system, plagued with brutality, evil creatures and unlike our own world, magic. It all starts when Adam Parker working on an archaeological dig in Scotland unearths a very strange artefact made of a unknown metal. Professor Grayling heading the dig knows more about this artefact than he admits. Adam is fortuitously thrown into a sequence of events triggered by a long lost relative. The shadow world of Endrimor seems to have had many effects on our world since human time began. The Black Plague, the First World War, the Cold War, all may have been the work and product of meddling by Endrimors agents. Can this really be true and can Adam and his companion Jane find the truth and stop a future war that may mean victory for Endrimor and the end of our world as we know it. A fantastic mix, of horror, evil, chilling supernatural events interlaced with fascinating historic events and an original alternative evil world populated with horrific creatures from your nightmares. I defy anyone not to get lost in "The Summoning" and not get out again! The first book in a new series "The Shadow World" so I cannot wait for the next book. Please give this one a try. Highly recommended!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    Adam is taking part in an archaeological dig in Scotland when he finds a strange artefact which he cannot identify but which arouses all sorts of emotions in him. He takes it to Professor Grayling who seems to know more about it than he is telling and who appears afraid of it. He arranges for Adam to take it to a Dr MacGuire in Brighton and here Adam’s adventures begin. I think this book is aimed more at the Young Adult market but I found it had enough substance to keep me reading. The characters Adam is taking part in an archaeological dig in Scotland when he finds a strange artefact which he cannot identify but which arouses all sorts of emotions in him. He takes it to Professor Grayling who seems to know more about it than he is telling and who appears afraid of it. He arranges for Adam to take it to a Dr MacGuire in Brighton and here Adam’s adventures begin. I think this book is aimed more at the Young Adult market but I found it had enough substance to keep me reading. The characters are interesting and even though I would not normally find a teenage boy of interest as a main character, Adam is far from being your average teenage boy and it is clear to the reader that he has more powers than he is aware of. I thought the relationships between the main characters were very well done. Adam’s ambivalence about his estranged father and his tentative steps into what is clearly a serious relationship with Jane Dodd especially had a ring of truth about them. I felt the meeting with his father was especially well done and brought tears to my eyes. I think my only criticism of the book is that the ending seemed a little rushed though it became clear to me later that this is the first book in a series and so there had to be enough loose ends to continue the story. Recommended to people who enjoy horror – whether Young Adult or adult readers. I received a free copy of this book for review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    In The Summoning, this author departs from his usual ghostly plot to a story of supernatural fantasy in which there is an otherworldly threat always at the edges of our existence. It's brilliantly done and quite as suspenseful as his ghost stories (although if one had described the genre to me beforehand I might not have been as anxious to read it). Let me assure Cottam fans and Cottam fans to come, this was a terrific read! Fast-paced, intriguing, weaving history, spirituality and the imagery In The Summoning, this author departs from his usual ghostly plot to a story of supernatural fantasy in which there is an otherworldly threat always at the edges of our existence. It's brilliantly done and quite as suspenseful as his ghost stories (although if one had described the genre to me beforehand I might not have been as anxious to read it). Let me assure Cottam fans and Cottam fans to come, this was a terrific read! Fast-paced, intriguing, weaving history, spirituality and the imagery of dark vs. light in a magical tale. There is something of the C. S. Lewis space trilogy here: the menace from without, the small band of good against a large and powerful evil, the use of the tools of evil against those who practise it. There is a little Lovecraft: strange and dangerous creatures. And the idea of a place which parallels ours in some ways in time is thought-provoking. I liked the characters, the twists in the plot that bound them together and look forward to seeing what happens to them in the next volume in this series. It's off to a great start!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Archaeology student Adam Parker finds an unusual artefact whilst on a dig in a Scottish forest that leads to all sorts revelations and an epic battle against a shadow world bent on destruction. This was good but not good enough to make me want to continue with the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Manya

    Even though marked as finished had to stop reading half way through. I found this book tough going the story just didn't excite me or get going. I tried in vain to give this book a fair try but just couldn't do it. The plot was sluggish and I was continually waiting for something immense to happen

  9. 5 out of 5

    Morena

    I made it to chapter 2. I dont' mind if the pace is slow if the plot revolves around nothing, but the writing, the prose has to be good, the characters fleshed out and intriguing. The premise of the book is catchy the writing unfortunately not so. Try slogging through these lines: "His appointment with Doctor McGuire was not until six p.m. He thought that there were probably worse places than the famous south coast seaside resort to kill a couple hours. But he was basing that judgement on what he I made it to chapter 2. I dont' mind if the pace is slow if the plot revolves around nothing, but the writing, the prose has to be good, the characters fleshed out and intriguing. The premise of the book is catchy the writing unfortunately not so. Try slogging through these lines: "His appointment with Doctor McGuire was not until six p.m. He thought that there were probably worse places than the famous south coast seaside resort to kill a couple hours. But he was basing that judgement on what he had heard about the city. He'd never visited this part of the country before. There hadn't been the money for childhood holidays.....bla bla bla useless, boring infodump, about a flat shell of a character."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kupersmith

    Auhors of supernatural fiction fall into two broad categories, the classicists & the romantics. Classicists, such as Susan Hill & Andrew Taylor, follow the tradition of M. R. James, whilst the romantics are more in the line of Poe & Stoker. Both species of course go in a lot for mediaevalism, but the classicists are more likely to put their characters in an English cathedral library, the romantics theirs in a castle in Transylvania. Of contemporary romantics, I'd rank Sarah Rayne Auhors of supernatural fiction fall into two broad categories, the classicists & the romantics. Classicists, such as Susan Hill & Andrew Taylor, follow the tradition of M. R. James, whilst the romantics are more in the line of Poe & Stoker. Both species of course go in a lot for mediaevalism, but the classicists are more likely to put their characters in an English cathedral library, the romantics theirs in a castle in Transylvania. Of contemporary romantics, I'd rank Sarah Rayne & F. G. Cottam tops.(I see Severn House now publishes both; that's like having Muhammad Ali & George Foreman in your corner.) The Summoning belongs to the genre of quest romance. In mediaeval literature it often takes the form of knights errant pursuing adventures through an enchanted forest to rescue maidens or find a magical object whilst encountering dragons, magicians, giants, caitiff recreants & what not? (If you think you hear echos of Mallory & Bunyan here, you're right.) The greatest modern example is surely Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In The Summoning the questers are Adam, a university undergraduate, his girlfriend Jane & a professor of archaeology named Grayling. (Whose name made me keep thinking distractedly of either the Justice Secretary or the atheist philosopher.) The Shadow World, as Cottam terms it (cf. C. S. Lewis, Shadowlands?), is called Endrimor (one hears echoes of Mordor & End), which seems to exist as part of our planet but in another dimension - Cottam never really tries to explain just how this works - & there are gateways in remote places that enable one to 'cross' back & forth. Technically this series seems to belong to the genre of Sword & Sorcery. The Endrimorians have no use for science & technology (they have firearms but they don't like to use them) but they excel @ alchemy & magic. They concocted both the 14th-century Black Death & the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreaks. Ultimately they hope to extinguish the human race & to replace it with themselves, as Endrimor is cramped & uncomfortable & they need more living room. (Now where have we heard of that before?) There is also a 14th-century backstory in which Adam's forebear Sir Robert de Morey is sent to Endrimor by King Edward III & slays Slee (could I resist?), the nasty alchemist who invented the Black Death, which killed Sir Robert's wife & dtr. The Endrimorains have ugly names such as Slee, Dray, & Bloor, altho' their plug-ugliest bad hat is named Proctor Maul. (A maul is a sledgehammer & a proctor - at least @ my school - maintains discipline on a dormitory floor.) I am really not sure how to rate The Summoning. Cottam has always been so courteous & helpful to me that it would feel churlish to give it less than 4 stars, but I found setting up the backstory very slow & many details difficult to swallow, such as H.M.S. Incomparable the battlecruiser that futilely endeavours to bombard Endrimor. (I'll not be surprised if this vessel reappears in subsequent volumes) & the story of Fort Bragg's creation of the Spanish Influenxa. Also I didn't find Cottam's prose up to the level of mediaeval romance (unlike Tolkien's). Some of Sir Robert's narrative of his adventures in Endrimor sounds as flat as an Ofsted inspector's report on a bog standard school. But my principal problem thus far is the lack of scary stuff. Unlike The Waiting Room, Brodmaw Bay, & The Colony, The Summoning never made made me afraid to turn out the lights. I hope the succeeding two volumes are more chilling.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    A routine archeology dig in Scotland turns into something completely unexpected when student Adam Parker unearths an object which seems to exude menace. He is very surprised by the reaction of his professor to his find, but agrees to abandon the dig and journey to Brighton to meet the man who will explain the significance of this horribly ugly piece of silver. The Summoning is a story of two worlds existing side by side; one our present day, one ruled by those who would use unspeakable evil means A routine archeology dig in Scotland turns into something completely unexpected when student Adam Parker unearths an object which seems to exude menace. He is very surprised by the reaction of his professor to his find, but agrees to abandon the dig and journey to Brighton to meet the man who will explain the significance of this horribly ugly piece of silver. The Summoning is a story of two worlds existing side by side; one our present day, one ruled by those who would use unspeakable evil means to gain control, ruled by The Crimson King. Throughout history the duty to maintain control of the present has been passed on within familial lines from one generation to another whenever possible. The fight can be seen in each dynamic crossroad in history with evil often coming out the victor. The artifact has now found Adam Parker and is calling for him to come begin his fight to keep out what could be called the dark twin of our world. Fellow students Jane Dobb and Martin Prior will join Adam and have their part to play in this adventure as the guardians who have fought for so long are beginning to grow older or die out. This is the first book in the series The Shadow World and forms all the background information about who the fighters are on the sides of good and evil. There is one of the best names for a villain I think I’ve ever come across, Rabanus Bloor. Don’t you just know you can hate him on sight? There is so much background information given that it delayed anything much happening in the story for quite a while. I did enjoy the book in spite of some awkward phrasing and sentence structure. I think it was supposed to impart intellectual weight to the characters, but instead it was just somewhat odd. I have not read any previous writings by this author so that my just be the style of Francis Cottam. All three of these young people are very young to be given the task of saving the world so readers will just have to hope their youth will be offset by their enthusiasm and their evident physical attractiveness. The attractiveness aspect is mentioned quite often. I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jo Barton

    This epic dark fantasy sees the start of a new series of supernatural stories, set in the shadow land and takes the reader into a dark world of mystery and ancient magic. Adam Parker is a young archaeological student working on an historical site in an ancient Scottish forest. When he finds a mysterious artefact, he is unintentionally drawn towards it and yet has no reason to understand why he feels so strongly about the connection – however, it is a sign that Adam’s life as he knew it, is about This epic dark fantasy sees the start of a new series of supernatural stories, set in the shadow land and takes the reader into a dark world of mystery and ancient magic. Adam Parker is a young archaeological student working on an historical site in an ancient Scottish forest. When he finds a mysterious artefact, he is unintentionally drawn towards it and yet has no reason to understand why he feels so strongly about the connection – however, it is a sign that Adam’s life as he knew it, is about to change forever, and his summons to the shadow place is about to fulfil his destiny. When his The story starts off fairly innocuously but as with all horror, there is an underlying darkness which helps to keep you on the edge of your seat. The strands of the story are cleverly woven together so that everything starts to come together and as the modern and the ancient worlds start to interweave, the two worlds collide into a believable fantasy. The added inclusion of a romantic triangle between Adam and two of his archaeological colleagues adds an interesting dimension to the story and watching how they all fit into the bigger picture is fascinating. What follows is a creepy and decidedly scary horror story, a genre at which this author excels, and who skilfully holds the reader in the palm of his hand. Reminiscent, at times, of the early work of Phil Rickman, whose work I enjoy, this story starts off slowly, and then builds to a crescendo but which ultimately leaves the ending ready for the continuation of this shadowy story in future books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    I had mixed feelings about this book. The description and cover grabbed my attention immediately and I was completely glued to the first 50 or so pages. I looked forward to the epic battle Adam was destined to fight, to see how he was tested and then....it never happened. Apparently, the battle will be fought in the next book, leaving me very disappointed. The characters, especially Adam, were very likeable and I admired the way the author handled the relationship between Adam and his estranged I had mixed feelings about this book. The description and cover grabbed my attention immediately and I was completely glued to the first 50 or so pages. I looked forward to the epic battle Adam was destined to fight, to see how he was tested and then....it never happened. Apparently, the battle will be fought in the next book, leaving me very disappointed. The characters, especially Adam, were very likeable and I admired the way the author handled the relationship between Adam and his estranged father. The first part of the book also held my interest as I learned more about the Shadow World, an interesting concept. Considering the book content and the fact that the MC was 19-years-old, I'm assuming this book is targeted at the NA/Adult market. The story seemed to take place in present day, but if I'd judged Adam's and Jane's ages solely by their actions and conversation, I would have guessed them to be more in the 25+ age range. They just didn't read like 19-year-olds. I also understand the need for backstory in this type of book, but I felt it was a little too much and the story could have been tighter if some irrelevant parts were omitted. I suspect the second book in this series may be more of what I was hoping for in The Summoning and while I enjoyed the mix of fantasy, supernatural, and historical elements, I expected a little more action and less backstory from the book description. This reviewed is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wendi

    I DO want to read Cottam - I've even already bought his book, Colony, and it's in my reading queue. So I thought this book would be a great sneak-peek at his new series. I was certain that the Scottish setting & the horror aspect were a great fit. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to overlook the fantasy and YA aspects (in fact, I didn't realize, for some reason, that it is categorized as YA when I requested it from Netgalley). I do like some novels that are fantasy and/or YA, but this one I DO want to read Cottam - I've even already bought his book, Colony, and it's in my reading queue. So I thought this book would be a great sneak-peek at his new series. I was certain that the Scottish setting & the horror aspect were a great fit. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to overlook the fantasy and YA aspects (in fact, I didn't realize, for some reason, that it is categorized as YA when I requested it from Netgalley). I do like some novels that are fantasy and/or YA, but this one just didn't work for me. I read for as long as I did (I didn't fully finish the book) because I actually enjoyed the writing quite a lot. The fantasy elements didn't work for me in this instance, though, and the YA angle definitely didn't work for me. As I've seen other reviewers mention, the characters felt a bit like they were initially written as adult but then revised as younger, YA students. The love-triangle felt stilted/forced to me and I'd rather hear about why a character is attracted to another character's personality at least to a greater balance over their physical attractiveness. I will read Cottam again, for certain, but next time I'll stick with his adult and horror (but not fantasy) categorized books...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    This book is a little difficult for me to review. F. G. Cottam is one of my all time favorite horror writers, and I am a horror story lover! However, this story is a dark fantasy, and I am not a real fan of fantasies, which is why I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars. But I can easily see this as a 5 star for fantasy lovers. The premiss involves a medieval like mirror world that uses magic and is full of strange and horrible monsters. The rulers of this world want to eliminate humanity on our world This book is a little difficult for me to review. F. G. Cottam is one of my all time favorite horror writers, and I am a horror story lover! However, this story is a dark fantasy, and I am not a real fan of fantasies, which is why I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars. But I can easily see this as a 5 star for fantasy lovers. The premiss involves a medieval like mirror world that uses magic and is full of strange and horrible monsters. The rulers of this world want to eliminate humanity on our world in order to take it over for themselves. Our heroes Adam and his girlfriend Jane, both young college students, are the ones selected to foil the plot and save humanity. This was a well written and exciting story which I did enjoy, although the ending did seem somewhat abrupt. There were also some subtle loose ends in the story, but this was a "book one" of a future series, so I am sure the explanations come later. However, these curious loose ends do not leave you hanging like many series do. I would read more of the Shadow World books as I have grown very fond of the various characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    I normally like F.G. Cottam, but this one just didn't work for me. The story plodded on, and I couldn't make myself care about any of the characters, because they were all just such perfect little one-dimensional photographs. The women are all described as being almost preternaturally alluring. The men are all strong and handsome and fast. I was about 85% through when I became increasingly certain that the book was going to end on a cliffhanger, because there was just too much to wrap up and no I normally like F.G. Cottam, but this one just didn't work for me. The story plodded on, and I couldn't make myself care about any of the characters, because they were all just such perfect little one-dimensional photographs. The women are all described as being almost preternaturally alluring. The men are all strong and handsome and fast. I was about 85% through when I became increasingly certain that the book was going to end on a cliffhanger, because there was just too much to wrap up and no ending in sight. As annoying as that would have been, I think I would have preferred it. Instead, the ending was reached by essentially yelling, "Poof!" in the last few pages and making everything go away. And then tacking on a not-even-a-little-bit-subtle hint that it's not really over and next week everyone is just going to come back and play the same stupid game all over again. So what was even the point?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sheare Bliss

    I actually found this very interesting and enjoyed it a great deal until frankly, the end. The climactic section was decidedly anti-climactic, and I felt as if I'd been traveling at a reasonable rate of speed through the storyline only to run into an unexpectedly placed brick wall. It felt a bit as if the deadline might have happened, and in an effort to meet contractual obligations, the author came up with a pat ending and smacked it down in place. Very disappointing ending, although I foundthe I actually found this very interesting and enjoyed it a great deal until frankly, the end. The climactic section was decidedly anti-climactic, and I felt as if I'd been traveling at a reasonable rate of speed through the storyline only to run into an unexpectedly placed brick wall. It felt a bit as if the deadline might have happened, and in an effort to meet contractual obligations, the author came up with a pat ending and smacked it down in place. Very disappointing ending, although I foundthe characters interesting, if flawed, and the 'history' very well blended in, and I am not, as a rule, a person who likes flashbacks or deus ex machina exposition. I would have enjoyed an ending that fit the build up and internal logic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fi

    I'm a big fan of F G Cottam so I was intrigued when I read about his first novel aimed at YA. He writes excellent fantastical horror and his books have kept me awake reading into the early hours on more than one occasion. However, this time I was disappointed. I still liked the basic premise of the story but it just didn't read like a YA book to me. I felt like I was reading any Cottam novel so only 3 stars this time round.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    I was first intrigued by the book, but after the chapters went by, I lost more and more interest in the book. I finished it because I finish all books I start no matter good or bad....but this one seemed to drag on for me. Other people may greatly enjoy this book, but for me, it just wasn't what I was looking for....Enjoy! "Books are the written words of our Imagination, our imagination is the written words that create books!"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Very good book. I loved the concept and I'm sad it ended because now I have to wait for the next installment. The book did feel like it was a bit rushed to press. I noticed several inconsistencies in the story and a few continuity issues. That said, though, I really enjoyed the read and I'm looking forward to where the storyline goes next. I hope we will see that book come out soon.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alice Cronin

    Another eerily sensual, atmospheric gem. Cottam mines familiar territory (for fans who've read him before) turning up rich, loamy descriptions of austere landscapes, picturesque pre-Raphaelite damsels and fair knights-cum-modern antiheroes, pitted in a desperate world-threatening struggle which promises dear costs to victors as well as the defeated.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben Taylor

    Not bad exactly, just kind of....boring. There were lots of flashbacks and back stories told in this book, but I feel like the back story made up more of the book than the actual plot line did. I think the premise is good and I feel like the book has potential, but it just didn't grab me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Interesting read. I did enjoy this although it did lag a little in places. I'm presuming this is a start to a series, good build up of characters and plot. Much better paced than the last one I read, The Memory of Trees.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lina Lindbergh Jirlén

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lori Slivensky

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Darrin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Holland

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vanna Fuqua

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