Not for those with a bird phobia, I’d say. Its not terribly vegetarian, either, with lots of ‘insides’ being eaten extremely fresh. And those who are dead aren’t necessarily completely dead, whether or not their insides are intact.

Mortlock, by Jon Mayhew, is nicely gruesome in that Victorian, gothic way that’s been so popular for a while. The main difference being that Jon’s debut novel is actually very enjoyable, even for an adult who may have seen this kind of scenario a few times before. Although it depends on how you feel about crows and ravens and black birds in general. I also suspect that Jon’s use of traditional songs at the beginning of each chapter may put people off those songs from now on. Makes you think.

Twins Josie and Alfie have been separated from early on, with their father disappeared, their mother dead and Josie’s beloved ‘uncle’ Cardamom dying, leaving the two of them in peril from some ‘aunts’ who turn up unexpectedly. Knife thrower Josie and undertaker’s assistant Alfie hate each other on sight, which is just as well. There’s too much of this stuff where people automatically love their kin when they finally meet.

Many years earlier, some careless young men had found the Amarant, and it’s the after-effects of finding this plant which rules everything that happens to Josie and Alfie. There is a not quite live circus company, the mysterious Lord Corvis, and who is the man who follows them around? Is Mortlock good or bad, and who is he? Is he even alive?

Perfect for lovers of graveyards.

Also perfect for witches who love a good story that comes to an end in one volume. Jon assures me there will be more, but only set in the same time and place, and not a sequel. Just what I want.

3 responses to “Mortlock

  1. Ah, I am very fond of a good graveyard, and I am certainly not a vegetarian. No real bird phobia either though Hitchcock nearly gave me one several years ago.

  2. Um – like the sound of the ‘not quite live’ circus company!

  3. Pingback: Three ten-year-olds | Bookwitch

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