Title: The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass
Author: Adan Jerreat-Poole
Genre: Fiction/ YA/ Fantasy/ Paranormal
Favourite Quote: ‘Magic is meant to be chaos. Chaos is beautiful!’
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*
Eli is an assassin. Not just any assassin, but an assassin trained in a body made from human objects, created by a witch to do her bidding. A body Eli is unsure of and a duty she can’t help resent for the coven of witches in the City of Eyes. Her job is to vortex into the human world to get rid of ghosts who have the ability to possess humans. A job she was sure was right and just, a job she was good at. When an assassination goes wrong but the coven of witches don’t seem to care, she can’t help but feel something is different, especially when they give her a new target with no details. The target, she discovers, is human. Failing to carry out her job, she realises she can’t pull the ties to travel back home. Determined to discover the truth once and for all, Eli teams with a group of beings she gets thrown into by humans who want to travel to the City of Eyes for their own purpose; to steal the heart of magic from the coven of witches and restore their dying world.
‘She closed her eyes and prepared to cross the threshold between worlds. She blinked, and a new set of eyes replaced her reptilian pair. These were pure black, and through them Eli could see the border between worlds, could watch as a magical rift formed to carry her away from here. A column of shadow fell from above and suddenly Eli couldn’t see. It was pitch black inside the Vortex. It was the darkness of a sea that covered continents. It was a darkness that whispered secrets from the past and future. Eli hung, weightless, the fragments of her glamour scattered on the pavement below the human city, along with blood from the man now lying dead in a bathroom. No human could cross the threshold.’
I’m not sure how I felt about this book. I was like the author had all the pieces there but it didn’t sit right. Firstly, I didn’t fully enjoy the writing style, I felt the story was overly complicated without adding further ‘like’ prepositions. Whilst it’s usually a great way of describing a scene or situation, when you’re already struggling with the complexity of the setting, adding many additional ‘they fell like snow’ or ‘dark clothing that burned like an eclipse against white stone’ just don’t work. More often than not, I couldn’t distinguish what the author was trying to describe and what was actually a magical addition.
The characters were individually interesting but lacked the emotion or connection to really feel for them, a bit more backstory would have really helped this. I really wanted to like our teenage assassin Eli, physically created out of random objects to do the bidding of a witch, but she fell flat for me which completely changed the atmosphere of the story. Cam and Tav were unusual side characters who could have used more passion and purpose for their mission to suddenly leave earth to go on a quest they didn’t know much about. The overall journey had no feeling, even with the small spark between Eli and Tav.
The setting was messy, you knew the author was trying to create an extraordinary world with magical ties that allow you to find your way through the maze that is the City of Eyes, but it was all over the place. I wasn’t sure where the characters were half the time or how they got there. It’s a shame because there was so much potential for this mystical world, I would have loved to explore it some more in a simplified sense to try and envision it clearly. The various time changes really didn’t help, I felt they were completely unnecessary.
‘Threads of magic criss-crossed one another in the hallway, strings of pure light that stretched between every single body and object and made-thing. Animate and inanimate, living and dead. The network of power that made up the world. Eli tried to sort through the kaleidoscope of colours and shapes that was a world made entirely of magic.’
The storyline was overall interesting but didn’t have the right emotions from the character to really pull it off, a group of beings in the human world wanting to steal the magic from the City of Eyes without really knowing how or why or what will become of it, or even the consequences of it if they actually succeeded. Were they human or were they something else since one could see ghosts? Humans weren’t allowed to go into the City of Eyes but they made it look easy. The author forced Eli, Tav and Cam to travel through the junkyard where they ended up (for some reason) which could have easily been avoided, this whole part of the journey was unnecessary and just put a more confusing spin on the supernatural world. I would have preferred to focus more on the actual city rather than the wastelands.
One thing that continuously frustrated me was an explanation as to why Eli was locked out of her home world and where was her awesome assassin abilities that everyone was vouching for? Because honestly, I didn’t see it. Just her touching her blades over and over again isn’t enough to call your main protagonist an assassin. Let alone the best assassin. Every attempt she made of, well, doing anything, just ended with her failing and humans saving her.
Anyway… I’m sorry to say, the book really wasn’t for me. It needed further development, backstory and purpose. The characters all knew they wanted to steal from the City of Eyes but they didn’t really know why until the end which was weird.
Eli isn’t just a teenage girl — she’s a made-thing the witches created to hunt down ghosts in the human world. Trained to kill with her seven magical blades, Eli is a flawless machine, a deadly assassin. But when an assignment goes wrong, Eli starts to question everything she was taught about both worlds, the Coven, and her tyrannical witch-mother.
Worried that she’ll be unmade for her mistake, Eli gets caught up with a group of human and witch renegades, and is given the most difficult and dangerous task in the worlds: capture the Heart of the Coven. With the help of two humans, one motorcycle, and a girl who smells like the sea, Eli is going to get answers — and earn her freedom.