Friday 28 February 2014

Banished, Liz de Jager

Pages: 388
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: 27th February 2014
Edition: UK paperback, purchased

A Blackhart’s Calling:
to banish evil and hold back the night.

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

Full disclosure on this one: Liz is my friend and I’ve championed her from the start, but I’ve tried very hard not to let that get in the way of a fair review. I just genuinely loved it.

Nearly every type of mythical creature that pops to mind when you think of urban fantasy, and some that won’t, play a role in Banished: fae, redcaps, goblins, trolls, chimera. All present and correct. And you can really see how much research Liz put into learning everything she could about them so she could manipulate them to her story without losing their essence. I still really want to rescue a fae prince, by the way. It just always ends in spine-tingling kisses and dangerous adventures and I’m completely up for that.

The extracts from archived records about each of the creatures and elements of the mythology of Banished were included at the beginning of chapters – I really love it when authors do that. I also think it’s a really great way of introducing them to readers who are perhaps new to the genre or mythology itself. They also provided a nice contrast to some of the mythical beings we actually got to know. I love Thorn. It’s so unusual to have a fae prince as a love interest and him not be cold, hard and slightly murderous; the slightly bashful and rather human Thorn was refreshing. Can I have one?

I can’t write a review of Banished without mentioning Kit. She’s completely badass. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a character who runs headfirst into a fight so recklessly! Her need to protect her loved ones and combat evil is brilliant, but I most loved that she still wasn’t completely comfortable with her new world. Unlike lots of other urban fantasies, we join Kit after the big reveal of her involvement in a secret world; late enough that she’s gained her footing a little, but not too late to miss her discomfort with her abilities.

Banished is a compulsive, accomplished and brilliantly imagined debut. The lady will go far. Well done, Liz.


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