*I received a free ARC of this book via Voracious Readers Only. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: At the heart of the sleepy market town of Brindleford is an old shopping arcade. Half-empty and generally overlooked by the inhabitants, it is full of secrets. But all that is about to change…
Christopher Porter thought he knew what to expect from life: not a great deal, having been bitten by a werewolf. Now, all he wants is a normal life: a family, a stable job, friends.
Ivy Burwell, also wishing for normalcy, is struggling against the expectations of her heritage. As the last witch in a long line of Witches, still coming to terms with her husband’s death, she is trying her hardest to avoid her destiny.
It won’t be easy, with the owners of a magical bookshop, a grumpy poltergeist, two orphaned runaways, a redoubtable florist, a retired music teacher (and his heavily pregnant labrador), several unsavoury wizards, a lithographer, a necromancer with a grudge, a horde of Technomancers and a half-Troll getting in the way!
Oh, and a parrot.
But there are darker things afoot in the town of Brindleford. In a church on the outskirts of the town an ancient evil is stirring, responding to the call of the wicked soul in search of it…
I love this book. Love it. There is a bit of everything here: magic, action, romance, humour.
As a longtime bibliophile I still remember the thrill of diving into a book as a child and living it: the characters my friends and family; the action unfolding before my eyes; involuntary tears, laughter, gasps as the action unfolds. The House of Vines came to life for me like those childhood reading experiences, in a way that rarely happens as an adult reader.
The characters are so individual and engaging that I became quite unwell with tension at the thought of anything happening to ANY of them, even the smaller bit-parts (Charlie, Stacey, Kevin…).
The plot is intriguing, action-packed and full of whimsy, from the bookshop to the Arcade. There are mysteries big and small, puzzles to solve, dramatic rescues and secrets uncovered, and of course, a grand climactic battle scene.
There are some similarities to the Harry Potter series, but I would suggest that a few incidences of adult language and violence would aim this at an older target audience. There is a similar smoothness and lightness to the prose though, that allows you to slip into Nixon’s world effortlessly and fully immerse yourself in it.
Finally, there is a huge love of books and reading that runs through the novel, in the characters and plot, which appealed to me as a fellow bibliophile and gave me the feeling that I too had ‘come home’ to the Arcade and its patchwork family.
I sincerely hope that this is intended to be the first in a very lengthy series as I am utterly hooked and will be buying every single book in this series for my own personal favourites shelf!
Anyone who has more than a few books in their home will know: they breed. You may start out with only a couple of them neatly lined up on a solitary bookshelf, but leave them unchecked and soon enough they will be sprouting everywhere. There is always one book on every bookshelf that you don’t remember buying.
The right book at the right time can start a revolution; end a war; inspire a scientist to make the next great leap; help someone to learn enough to stay alive…
Books can change the world.
– Lauren K. Nixon, The House of Vines
You can buy The House of Vines on Amazon right now!