4 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.
This is a very entertaining YA fantasy novel. At first I thought it was set in our past and so found some of the historical inaccuracies grating, but as I read more I learnt it wasn’t set in our world, simply set in a world similar to our own. I could cope with it after that.
It was a good read, definitely better suited to a YA/NA audience. Not that that is a bad thing, I love the YA/NA genre despite the age of forty nearly being upon me.
As much as I enjoyed the story, I sometimes found the characters a little disjointed and parts of it hard to follow. Though I’m pretty sure this was more my fault than the book. Sometimes a story grabs you and won’t let you go; sometimes it just sits there companionably chatting to you when you have a moment. For me, ‘Emma and the Banderwigh’ was more a chatter than a grabber. 😉 Saying that, at times this book did get my “one more chapter” mantra going until after midnight. Which shows it was an entertaining read.
My only minor gripe with the story is I felt it ended too abruptly. Almost mid-sentence. I don’t expect every tale to have a long winded wrap up where it sets out precisely how they will all live happily ever after… but I do like a little more than a one liner, as if it’s about to lead into just that little bit more. If this is the first in a series (I don’t know), then the ending is not so bad. As a stand-alone, it didn’t work for me. **See new update below!**
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. Lovers of YA/ NA Fantasy would really enjoy this work. The pace is steady, the characters well thought out and believable. Ticks all the boxes for a good YA Fantasy read.
Would I buy this book for myself? Possibly. It was a good YA Fantasy story, but I’m not finding myself thinking over it and rehashing the plot and wondering “what ifs” about it. So it just hasn’t grabbed me as much as I’d hoped. If it is the first in a series, I WOULD be keen to read the next book to see how it goes. So, not all that bad. 😉
In summary: A fun and entertaining read, a well written YA Fantasy and a gorgeous cover setting the scene for a good yarn. Something lovers of the YA Fantasy genre should take a look at as I’m pretty sure they’re going to enjoy it too.
**UPDATE** Matthew Cox – the author – contacted me with a new last chapter added to ‘Emma and the Banderwigh’. I’ve read it and felt I need to update this review and give it another star – bringing it up to 4 out of 5 stars.
The chapter lifts the whole ending of the book, rounds it off nicely and doesn’t just leaving it hanging and having you wonder if there is a page missing. The new ending works well if the book is a stand-alone, but also makes the idea of a series even more enticing.
My opinion of recommending or buying the book hasn’t changed – as I still would recommend it and would still read it as a series. But I do have to say it needed this extra chapter and I’m so pleased it has happened. Really does smooth things out and keep the ending up to the same quality as the rest of the novel.
Until next time,