Monday, November 21, 2011

The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead


Ancient legend tells of an army of knights that will remain sleeping until the last days.

The knights are waking up.

A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraithlike creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland. And deep beneath the cobbled streets of Oxford, a malicious hoard besieges a hidden city.

Freya Reynolds is a university student with a touch of OCD and an obsession with myth and folklore. Daniel Tully is living rough on the streets of Oxford, waging a secret war against an enemy only he can identify. Years ago, they found themselves in a world few know is real. They have since gone their separate ways and tried to put that adventure behind them.

But the mythical world is now bleeding into our reality-a dark spiritual evil that is manifesting itself in forgotten corners of the British Isles. Alex Simpson is a Scottish police officer who specializes in hunting mythical creatures. Together, they must confront the past, the present, and points beyond to defeat the ultimate threat to humanity.


Cons: I didn't feel like Alex Simpson had enough to do in the story. I actually liked his part of the story best and wanted to know more about him and his work.

Ross Lawhead is, in ways, like his father Stephen Lawhead--he is pretty wordy and not all of it is necessary. I almost thought that this book might have benefited from a more minimalistic style.

The jumping back and forth from past to present was interesting, but a little confusing/annoying at times.

Pros: The storyline is really good. I just started reading urban fantasy this summer, and from what I've seen, this is a good example of the genre.

Normally I wouldn't compliment about how creepy the book was, but in this case I think it deserves it. There were just a few bits of the storyline that were creepy, but I thought they fit the storyline perfectly.

I thought the characterization was pretty good--I felt like I got to know Daniel and Freya as real people. Alex remains a bit of a mystery, but since it seems like they'll be working together, I'm sure the readers will have a chance to get to know him better.

Family Friendliness: Ehhh...don't give this to your 13-year-old. I think 15-16 and up is about right for this book. There weren't any cusswords, but the violence plus the creep factor would be a little much for anyone younger than that, I think.

Conclusion: I think that The Realms Thereunder is a great addition to urban fantasy. I enjoyed it and will be awaiting the continuation of the series.

My Rating: three out of five stars

**I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review**


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