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Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske

 Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more? Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world. Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross. Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package. When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall―Jack’s ancestral fam

Blog Tour - The Beast and The Bethany

 Blog Tour Review - The Beast and The Bethany

Written by Jack Meggitt-Phillips and illustrated by Isabelle Follath.

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .

The Beast and The Bethany is a horrible book, about a horrible man who tries to feed a horrible girl to a horrible beast. It's also absolutely brilliant!

Jack Meggitt-Phillips has filled this short novel with a really dark, macabre humour, the kind associated with Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket. No punches get pulled. People and pets alike get eaten up with gleeful relish. (As in pleasure, I don't remember the beast ever actually using relish.) There is a definite shortage of sympathetic characters, with the supporting cast including a very mercenary and rather mean spirited pet shop owner and a thoroughly greedy, unpleasant lady who runs the orphanage. Bethany herself, the young girl desired as a meal, is mean, spiteful and bullying and Ebenezer Tweezer is really rather nasty himself.

There's something so fun about reading about such deeply unpleasant characters, and The Beast and The Bethany really pulls that off so well. The humour is spot on, and somehow it never feels unpleasant, no matter how unpleasant the subject material really is. 

And somehow, despite all of their flaws, I couldn't help feeling for both Bethany and Ebenezer. That's the really clever trick in all this. Without excusing them or forcing them along redemption arcs, somehow I just didn't want Bethany to be eaten or Ebenezer to die of being 512 years old. 

Most of the illustrations weren't included in my proof copy, sadly, but the ones that did were enough to see that a fully illustrated final copy will be quite awesome. I really like Isabelle Follath's art in here, and she really captures the rather manic, madcap feel of the story.

The Beast and The Bethany is darkly comic with a fantastic cast of perfectly horrid characters.

I'm giving it five moons



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