#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Last Necromancer’ by C. J. Archer #Audible #Amreading #Bookreviews

Today I’m reviewing The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer, which is Book 1 of the The Ministry Of Curiosities.

It’s a historical novel set in Victorian London, but it’s more than that, as you’ll find out in my review.

Don’t you love the covers?

I love writing and reading historical fiction.

I’m always on the lookout for novels set in Victorian times. Recently I discovered a ten book series with the following blurb:

 A waif, her abductors and a twist you won’t see coming.

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her. 

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust? 

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

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I have recently read many intense family dramas and contemporary thrillers, most psychological, such as The Woman at the Window, Us, The Husband, Our House, The Good Girl, My Husband the Stranger, The Cellar, I Am Watching You, Silent Child, and A Stranger in the House, among others, so I felt I needed a break from the intensity. I was looking for a lighter read, and I found one, quite by chance!

The blurb of The Last Necromancer sounded interesting, but I must admit that the ten-book series put me off.

Do I have time to read a series of ten books?

Do I have the patience to read ten books by the same author?

I really didn’t think so, but I took a chance and downloaded book one to my kindle because it was free. I think this is a great idea to entice readers to try a new author, especially in such a long series. I then bought the audiobook for the reduced price of about $4 and listened to it in the space of two evenings (it was about eight hours long), and loved it! I’ll probably even read the following books in the series!

Read on for my review.

My Review

The Last Necromancer is a wonderful escapist read.

There’s a bit of everything I enjoy. It’s historical, set in the  Victorian era, there’s action, mystery, suspense and a hint of romance.

The lead character is Charlie, an 18-year-old girl who has been living on the streets of London disguised as a boy for the last 5 years. She also has special powers (she can summon and speak to the dead) so she is being sought by unscrupulous villains. Charlie is a wonderful character. She’s clever, tough, resourceful, street-wise, caring, and sensitive.

The male lead, Lincoln Fitzroy is enigmatic and apparently heartless, and the rest of the ‘real’ villains, his enemies, are cruel and ruthless.

There are many references to other Victorian authors such as Mary Shelly and Conan Doyle. The novel includes secret societies, plots against the Queen, some supernatural, gothic elements, such as Charlie’s paranormal abilities, and some fantasy elements, such as Frankenstein-like monsters and other characters with special powers and knowledge.   

The Last Necromancer is a well written and entertaining read, with plot twists, action, mystery, suspense and a slow burn, romance, which promises to bloom in future installments. 

It is especially for lovers of the Victorian era, fantasy, paranormal, and entertaining fiction.

There are plenty of reasons why I’m looking forward to reading the following books in the series, as an antidote to the draining intensity of contemporary psychological and literary fiction, and the occasionally tedious reality of daily life.

In fact I’ve just downloaded the box set which includes the first three books in the series on Audible.

US Buy Link to the series

UK Buy link to the series 

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#FridayReads ‘Wildfell’ by London Clarke #authorInterview @londonclarke2 Happy Publication Day!

Today is publication day for London Clarke’s debut, Gothic suspense novel, Wildfell.

 

Wildfell by [Clarke, London]

 

Running away isn’t always an escape…

Anne Fleming is running away…

An ill-fated relationship with her grad school professor drives Anne to check out of life. After disposing of all her possessions, Anne assumes a new identity and boards a plane. But a chance meeting on a London-bound flight leads her to Wildfell, a gothic mansion with a cast of strange characters and a long history of disappearances and deaths.

While living at Wildfell, Anne is plagued by voices, ghostly mists, and a mute girl with a sketchbook full of murders. She only remains because of her violent attraction to fellow inhabitant—gorgeous actor Bain Tierney. But when Wildfell tenants begin disappearing one by one, Anne must decide if she trusts Bain. Is anyone in the house who they claim to be? Or are there are other forces at work inside Wildfell? And will they ever let her leave?

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Wildfell is on my kindle and I’ll be reviewing soon, but first a short interview with London.

What attracted you to the Gothic genre?

I was attracted to the gothic genre from a young age. When I think back to the first gothic novel I read, it was probably one by Victoria Holt given to me by my grandmother. My grandmother was a voracious reader, and I have to attribute my own love of reading and writing to her. I loved the creepy house set in some rainy, windswept setting. There was always a brooding, mysterious, yet breathtakingly handsome man with a dark past. He either turned out to be a good guy in disguise or a killer who deceives the heroine. The unpredictability of the stories riveted me. I still love the eerie settings, the potential for the supernatural, and the isolation of the settings.

I remember reading Victoria Holt as a teenager, too. In fact I still have ‘On the Night of the Seventh Moon’, first published in 1972! I also love novels with creepy houses!

How important are the supernatural elements in your novel? 

Although I may write some novels in the future that only suggest the supernatural, right now I’m exploring the darker side of supernatural elements and how they can wreak havoc on a house and its inhabitants. I’ve always been interested in houses that experience hauntings and what that actually means for the people within. So, in short, the supernatural elements are pretty important in my novels.

I’m sure plenty of readers love ancient, haunted houses. I do! 

Tell us something about your main character/s.

Anne, my main character, has lived a nontraditional life. She has no idea who her father is, and she’s grown up with a mother who hates men and has done her best to poison Anne against them. But instead of buying into her mother’s philosophies, Anne rebels and romanticizes men. Her impetus to run at the beginning of the novel is because her hopes of proving her mother wrong are crushed when she is betrayed by her graduate school professor—a man she thought she was in love with. By the time she arrives at Wildfell, she’s in crisis mode–confused, ashamed, and searching for a foothold as she emotionally freefalls. When she meets Bain, she’s immediately attracted to him, but he also furthers that confusion. She feels a little intimidated by him, can’t make him out, and doesn’t know if he’s friend or foe.

A mysterious love interest who could be on your side or against you, leads to intense suspense and romance…

What kind of reader would enjoy Wildfell? 

A reader who enjoys a gothic setting with a creepy house (obviously), scary novels, and twisty mysteries. There is a strong thread of mystery to the story. Readers of Wendy Webb, Darcy Coates, or Laura Benedict will, I think, enjoy Wildfell for its elements of the supernatural. But there is probably more of a romantic angle than most horror fiction, so I’d like to think it will appeal to readers of romance and paranormal romance as well.

Sounds intriguing, paranormal, romance, suspense… I am so looking forward to reading!

What are you working on now?

I am working on a second gothic suspense novel with a vampire angle. This one will be the first book of a series set in Asheville, North Carolina. The working title is The Burning Thirst, but it will probably change. Currently, it’s scheduled to be released late this year.

I’m not too keen on vampires, but I could be persuaded if the plot is thick and the characters engaging!

What would you like readers to know about you?

Hmmm… Well, beyond the creepy stuff I’m truly a romantic at heart. I love to cry in a book or a movie, and I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen. I’m also an animal fanatic. I have two greyhounds that I love to distraction and I would have more, but my husband says two are enough (and it’s his house too). I’m also a bit of a wine connoisseur. At least, I like to think so.

I certainly hope you’re having a glass of vintage wine or champagne to celebrate your publication day! 

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Obsessed with vampires and haunted houses from a young, London grew up reading gothic tales featuring romantic and tragic heroes like Wuthering Heights and Dracula. She considers herself a recovering runaway and confesses that she once moved to England in search of a man who was the perfect amalgamation of Dracula, Hamlet, Heathcliff, and Mr. Rochester. London graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Music and M.F.A in Creative Writing and has had an eclectic array of jobs including receptionist, legal secretary, literary assistant, high school English teacher, and freelance editor.

London lives in a Washington, DC suburb with her husband and two greyhounds. She’s happiest when she’s writing novels, reading books, or re-watching her favorite programs like The Vampire Diaries or Being Human.

Follow London Clarke on Twitter

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Visit London’s Webpage

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