Friday, 1 September 2017

Book Review: Magpie's Song by Allison Pang

'Ware IronHeart's breath and IronHeart's claws, for when IronHeart roars, Meridion falls'

I ended up really enjoying this. The story opens with the discovery of a dead body in the slums underneath a floating city, by the orphans Raggy Maggy and Sparrow. The body gives off an ethereal glow and is accompanied by a strange mechanical dragon. Mags and Sparrow soon find themselves embroiled in the mysteries of the slums and  the search for answers surrounding the true reason behind the appearance of a plague known as The Rot, and what goes on in the terrifying Pits - home of the plague victims. Mags and Sparrow, along with another character they meet, know as Ghost, are 'Moon Children', the supposed offspring of the slums, and immune to the plague.

I thought the story itself was well written, and the world building was good (although I would have liked to spend some time in Meridion, the floating city). It felt like a mixture of steampunk, dystopian and fantasy and was unique enough in its world to keep me interested. I liked Mags, I though she was gritty and feral and I enjoyed her relationship with Sparrow and Ghost. Although there was a hint of a possible romance, I liked that it was never the focus of the story.

I also really liked Molly and Copper Betty. The automaton, without even being able to speak, became one of my favourite characters in the few scenes she was in. I'd like to see more of her, and see if she has a back story that could explain why she's mute.

The novel wasn't perfect however. I felt the Lucien subplot was a little bit slapdash, and didn't add anything to the story. If anything I found it a bit confusing. I liked that it wasn't a big deal to be gay though, and it didn't feel contrived.

I also felt the ending wasn't really an ending, and nothing was resolved and no mysteries solved. I understand this is part one of a series, but to have so e kind of resolution to a few of the mysteries involved in the plot would have been a better conclusion.

That said, I flew through this book in 2 days, and really enjoyed doing it. I'm looking forward to reading more from this world.

 - 4 stars

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