Thursday, 13 May 2010

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

13th May 2010, Headline
278 pages (my copy), Paperback
Proof Copy (actual page number may vary)

Fantasy, YA

Cushions: 4
Daggers: 4
Tissues: 3
Smiles: 5
Nayuleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Note: possibly contains minor spoilers

Summary from Headline

Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort.

Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace.

The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.

Surprisingly, despite all the spooky goings on in this book I would happily read it after dark. I loved every single character. Kate is naturally my favourite. She is spunky. She's on the run from Silas. She has a close relationship with Artemis, who I instantly wanted to read more about (he does feature quite a bit in the book) Who wouldn't like someone who deals with books?  It didn't help that I pictured him as a video game character who is a scholar and loves books. Sometimes even with descriptions I imagine characters differently!

I felt I could relate to Kate emotionally. I felt her fear and confusion when she was hiding from Silas, and trying to escape his grasp. Stories where characters are on the run from evil people (who have minions) always grab my attention. There's a lot more to Silas than meets the eye. The concept of Wardens, and how they search for their victims had me gripping my cushion tightly.

Kate has it tough, not knowing who to trust. It's hard enough if you are on the run from people - having a power that you barely know exists is even tougher. Having to deal with Silas takes a lot of courage. What Kate decides to do as she learns more about her family's heritage will affect not only herself, but other people too.

The concept behind Kate's gift is pretty clever. I have read few books involving spirits/the dead. I could understand what was going on the whole time. Over the book more and more gets revealed, so I learnt about Kate's gift at the same time that she did. I don't envy her for her power - it's definitely changed her life forever. Wintercraft isn't something to be taken lightly.

The best thing about Wintercraft is that I want to read it again already. Thankfully it is the first book in a trilogy, so there will be two more amazing stories with Kate in. I'm looking forward to seeing how her power develops.

Jenna can be found over on her blog.

If you like this, try Rook Hastings' Nearly Departed, and also Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy


Lauren said...

I liked this one too. Spunky is a great word for Kate! And I agree, characters who work with books are instantly more likeable. :)

Nayuleska said...

I think characters who involve themselves in hobbies or jobs that the reader is interested in makes it easier to connect with them.