(This review may contain spoilers).
This is the first time I’ve read a book by John and Carole Barrowman (or even by just one of them) and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
The idea of being able to control things/do something through singing isn’t a new idea (I’m thinking primarily of Sirens), but I thought this was a very unique twist on the older idea. While I haven’t read the other books set in this world, I found this fairly easy to follow, but I was a bit confused about whether I was in the present or in Remy’s past towards the start of the book.
I did think that the opening scene did a good job of drawing me into the mystery surrounding the Conjurors, even though the bluebottles gave me mental images that left me shuddering.
I did find the main characters to be interesting and that they had a lot of depth… but I would have liked to see more of the background of the Grand Inquisitor and Don Grigori. In this first book in the series, I didn’t feel that they had a lot of depth past being bad guys. I was intrigued by the mention of Don Grigori having possibly have been human once.
I thought it was good to see so much tension throughout the book and it was especially good to have the opportunity to get to know Remy’s aunt and mother and something of their lineage. I was especially curious about Remy’s power to create food and the like and I wondered if it was creating something from nothing… or if the rules worked in a different way than what was immediately obvious.
It was also good to see some of the other abilities come into play, such as Matt and Em being able to travel using paintings, though I would have liked a bit more detail about how their abilities worked. I especially liked it when Em created a car for them to use… and the reaction when it was taken later on.
There were a few humorous moments that worked really well to lighten the story a bit and I especially liked seeing Matt’s interactions with Caravaggio. I was a bit confused about Zach and if he was signing because he was deaf (which was my original assumption), but I liked the glimpses I saw of his relationship with Em. However, I also liked that the sibling relationship was a really important aspect.
When I have more time and money, I definitely intend to read more books in this series and hopefully other books by these authors. This book was fast and easy to read and I’d like to see more of the characters in the future.