Advent by James Tredwell, published by Hodder and Stoughton in February 2012
For centuries it has been locked away Lost beneath the sea Warded from earth, air, water, fire, spirits, thought and sight. But now magic is rising to the world once more. And a boy called Gavin, who thinks only that he is a city kid with parents who hate him, and knows only that he sees things no one else will believe, is boarding a train, alone, to Cornwall. When he arrives, there is no one there to meet him.
This is the first book in an exciting new trilogy. Don't let the length of the book put you off because it's well worth every second spent in the company of Gavin and co.
'Advent' got off to an intriguing start - the very first chapter is set in 1537 and centres on the greatest Magus in the world. My interest was immediately piqued and I couldn't wait to read on and further immerse myself in the story. After the first chapter, the focus changes to the present day with young Gavin setting off on the train to stay with his Aunt Gwen in Cornwall. Almost straight away, we know that there's something different about Gavin. He's no ordinary boy as he can see people who aren't really there. This has always frightened his parents with whom he doesn't have a very close relationship. He's gradually learnt to keep many things to himself for fear of what others will say.
During the second half of the book, the emphasis is more on the magical and fantastical parts of the story and this is where a lot of things gradually began to click into place for me.
Pendurra, Conrwall was a brilliantly entrancing setting. I could almost feel the magic in the air and there's a tangible sense of something mysterious and unseen to normal human eyes about the place. The possibility that anything could happen is very real and Pendurra almost seems like it's from another time with residents who are enigmatic and mysterious.
The book is based on the Faust legend of a scholar making a deal with the devil in exchange for knowledge and worldly pleasures. I thought this was really clever and added an extra dimension to the book. There are also elements of Arthurian myths and legends which is another aspect I enjoyed.
The story is multi-layered and although I can't confess to understanding everything that happens in the book I think that is actually part of it's charm. 'Advent' seems like the type of book that you'll pick up over and over again and each time you'll reread it and discover as well as understand, more of the secrets contained within its pages.
This book is exquisitely written and will definitely appeal to lovers of the fantasy genre. I also think it has crossover appeal for adults as well as teens. The intriguing ending has left me in great anticipation of the next book in the trilogy which will hopefully be out next year.