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Fantasy Review: Firebrand by Gillian Philip

Firebrand by Gillian Philip (Rebel Angels #1)


Egalley thanks to Tor Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
At the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired.

 Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father’s fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.

 But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt—in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen’s machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters’ fires…

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

9/10

* * *
An absolutely fabulous book! It took me awhile to warm up to it mostly because of slow, sparse world-building, but as soon as action shifted into the mortal world everything sped up and went from simply interesting to epic heroic.


Gillian wrote a type of realistic fantasy I particularly love. Sure, there is magic and weird creatures in Sithe world, but mostly they are like us apart from higher strength, mind reading and near immortality.  There is an unhinged sociopathic evil queen who wants to rule mortals and destroy the Veil for good and there are clansmen fighting for their independence. Seth - a young outcast in McGregor's clan gets stuck in the middle of the political intrigues because of his love for his older half-brother, Conal, a chief of McGregor clan, and goes into exile with him when Conal displeases the queen.

They turn up in Scotland of 16th century right in the middle of rising witch hunts and experience a horrible atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia, ignorance,  church overwhelming power, betrayal and shocking violence.

The characters is what really makes this book into something special. They are so alive, they literally jump off the page. Seth, Conal, Kate, Catriona and even old Ma Sinclair, - they are wonderfully done and very memorable, hence I recommend this book to any fan of realistic fantasy. The ending of the book is extremely exciting, nerve-wracking and heroic. I know I'll be reading the other 2 books in this trilogy very soon!

* * * 
В книгу эту я вчиталась не сразу, так в начале жизнь Сета - главного героя, течёт довольно медленно.  Ситхи - раса Сета, эту существа, отделённые от мира смертных магическим Занавесом и от нас они отличаются только тем, что сильнее, умеют телепатически общаться друг с другом и практически бессмертны (однако убить их можно также как и нас), просто живут они очень долго.

Сет и его брат Конал - предводитель клана МакГрегоров уходят в изгнание по приказу прогневанной ими королевы Ситхов -  социопатки Кейт. Вот с этого момента книга набирает обороты и становится чрезвычайно увлекательной.

Конал и Сет поселяются в Шотландии 16в. и попадают в гущу охоты за ведьмами. Среди атмосферы предательства и паранойи, Конала обвиняют в ведьмовстве и приговаривают к ссожению на костре.

Дальше спойлерить не буду, но главная сила книги в её живых характерах, которым невозможно не сопереживать. И Конал и Сет, и Катриона, Ма Синклэйр и даже злодейка Кейт просто выпрыгиваю со страниц. Из-за этого, книга становится все более и более интенсивной с шокирующими моменами насилия и практически героической концовкой.

Очень понравился авторский стиль и буду обязательно читать две другие книги трилогии. Советую!
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