30 March 2014

Broom With a View - Gayla Twist and Ted Naifeh

The casters and the vampires have always been enemies, but now war has broken out. With England no longer safe, Violet is unwillingly sent away with her Aunt Vera to the city-state of X, a haven for witches and vampires alike. Soon, the fighting crosses even those borders and Violet is flung into a world of chaos, made worse by the unwanted attentions of a sullen vampire under the influence of a love spell and those of a rich mortal. The story loosely follows that of Room With a View, but adds in a supernatural twist and a war to the mix.

Witches and vampires are really nothing new. Twilight and Beautiful Creatures have both been and gone, and there have been countless TV series and books on those two subjects that the ideas begin to run dry, that is, until you put them both together and have them fight it out. For Twilight it was werewolves, but in Broom with a View, casters are the new enemy of the vampire, and any relationship between the two is vile and dangerous. That is why the book stands out; the premise isn't the same old thing; human falls in love with supernatural being even though it's dangerous for them. No, this is more complex than that; these two are natural enemies.

The book is a third person narrative, focusing almost entirely on Violet, our leading witch. It is also a historical-type novel, presumably based in the Edwardian period, since that is when Room With a View takes place. However, it was very difficult to tell the period of the novel, and although the social etiquette added very nicely to the story, there was nothing relevant enough that it could not have been told in another time zone entirely. Maybe it is just me, but if you base something in a period of history and there is a war going on that includes England, would you not want to draw parallels with a war that England was involved with in our own history to make the story feel more real for the reader? This might be a tad pedantic of me, but I truly believe that this would have added more interest to the story.

Not to say the story was not interesting in the slightest, because I couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading. I always wanted to know how the issues would be resolved, and eagerly awaited the times when I could pick it up again. The main reason was the mess Violet gets herself into with a mortal man, Mr Wilberforce, after she agrees to marry him despite her best efforts.

As for the characters, Violet and her Aunt Vera were extremely well-drawn, along with Mr Wilberforce and his controlling mother. For such a quick book, many other characters also had more than one dimension, which was lovely to see. There was one exception; Sebastian Du Monde, who seemed quite one-sided throughout. There were no explanations to his moodiness at the beginning of the book which was quite compelling, nor any about how his motives at any point.

This book was a really enjoyable read and I would recommend it for teenagers and for adults in need of a light read. It had a good pace, a lot of humanity and a very unexpected crescendo. It gets an 8 out of 10

This book was sent to me on behalf of the authors for an honest review. Thank you for the wonderful read.