Welcome to my stop on the The Invitation blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: The Conrad Press
Publication Date: 07/08/2020
Length: 198 pages
Genre: Fantasy | Middle Grade
CW: Domestic violence, child abuse
On the island kingdom of Meta Emery, a young queen, Abigail, wakes in the middle of the night to a terrifying realisation; hostile wizards from the rival kingdom of Archmond have finally done what they’ve been threatening to do: bring a girl, Lucy, into this world to destroy the queen and all she has worked for. Hundreds of miles west, in Archmond itself, a great feast unfolds in the castle to celebrate Lucy’s arrival. Soleman, one of the wizards and a co-ruler of Archmond, has spread the news to his people that Lucy is the heroine an ancient prophecy predicted; he promises that the discord throughout their world will soon be over. But his fellow ruler Ronald remains dubious that this apparently meek and troubled girl could really overthrow Abigail, or whether she is ever likely to want to.GoodReads
Our protagonist Lucy is accompanied by her dog, Crumbs, on her unique journey. Within the first couple of chapters we learn so much about Lucy and her home life which immediately endeared me to her. I also liked her initial reaction when she arrived in a mysterious new place as it felt very real and in keeping with her character. Although I thought I knew the important thing about Lucy from the revealing opening chapters, I was pleasantly surprised to see that towards the end her character is developed even further with some great twists which I wasn’t expecting at all.
For me, this novel has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it: we are introduced to many characters throughout Lucy and Crumbs’ journey. However, although many of the characters we’re introduced to are very interesting and do a lot to illustrate the different areas of the world and the different societies within it, but some seemed to disappear just as you were beginning to connect with them. As this is the first instalment of a new series, I am very hopeful that they might make a reappearance in future novels.
Following on from the Alice in Wonderland feel, it isn’t just the array of characters that we’re introduced to that gives the novel this feel, but the smaller stories that they bring as Lucy journeys across the land. This really helped with the pacing in the second half of the novel as it felt like there was more happening and we got to see a lot more of what this world has to offer. Although we meet a lot of characters and Lucy finds herself in along the way – I did like the recurring narrative of knowing what was going on in both kingdom whilst Lucy was travelling. This also was great for reminding the reader of the purpose of Lucy’s quest.
The second half of the novel was definitely my favourite and has me excited for the next book in the series, especially with the new knowledge we gain at the end of the novel. The world that Webster has created is certainly large and varied and I’m looking forward to learning more about it. We are given certain bits of information but not always in a lot of detail, however this is generally because Lucy is new to everything and, for the most part, the reader is learning along with her.
Despite the slightly slow start to the novel, I found myself really enjoying the stay by the end and was completely invested in Lucy and, of course, Crumbs. I also can’t wait to learn more about Bear!