Wow! Annaliese Avery is a fellow Golden Egg and has hosted several #WIP (Work-in-progress) Twitter discussions, so I've been literally so excited to read 'The Nightsilver Process', her debut children's novel with Scholastic. And, what I can say, it's brilliant! Destiny called and it lived up to its promise. It's a thrilling fantasy-adventure, perfect for fans of 'Brightstorm', 'His Dark Materials' and 'Mortal Engines'.
'Your stars say, Paisley Fitzwilliam, that before the end of your fourteenth turning, your track will end and you will die.' I mean, what a hook!
From Chapter One we're whisked away to an alternative London, with floating boroughs, secret vaults, cogroaches and electrica-powered gizmos. And at the midst of all this is Paisley Fitzwilliam, a wonderfully endearing protagonist, who has a terrible destiny... she is going to die before she turns fourteen. With breathtaking chases and shocking surprises, we follow Paisley as she follows her track to learn more about her fate. But when her mother goes missing and their lives are plunged into danger, Paisley doesn't have much time. And the ramifications for what Paisley discovers could change the world.
Quite simply Annaliese Avery has created a fresh, exciting world to rival the likes of Vashti Hardy and Phillip Reeve. What I loved about the world-building was its depth, both mythically and philosophically. Big questions are asked here: is our fate predetermined? Do the stars whisper our destiny? Can we change who we are and what we're supposed to do? Can we destroy the Celestial Mechanism? But Avery asks the reader such questions through a propulsive and gripping narrative. I was lying in bed with shingles and I devoured this like an imaginative tonic. It's pure escapism, with heart and brains and daring. It's complex too, but in a way that is completely absorbing and perplexing, in all the best ways. The ending is straight out of 'The Northern Lights' cliffhanger rule book - if you know you've got a series leave the reader wanting more straight away, while wanting answers to questions bigger than you thought when you started reading the book.
Bravo, Annaliese! I loved the world of the Celestial Mechanism and I wish you all the success as this book winds its way into children's hands.