Let us begin by getting my squees about my book cover out of the way. It is BEAUTIFUL and I love it! Here’s a linky to the reveal post on the Barnes and Noble SFF blog and a sneaky excerpt introducing Shock and Mim. There’s a pre-order button on there, so if you’d like it you can click on that and get yours ordered for when it lands in June 2016!
Now to the review book, the amazing The Enchanted. This book is set in a prison, on death row and is narrated by a death row inmate called Arden (you have to infer his name from reading as you aren’t told right out). Arden has been in an institution of one kind or another most of his life. He was in general prison at first and taught himself to read in the library and his narration is glorious – eloquent and magical, reflecting his unique vision of his cell and the prison beyond.
The story follows, through Arden’s narration, based on his extraordinary perception of the world beyond his cell, the forthcoming execution of a prisoner called York. York has decided he wants to waive his appeal and be executed, and so a death row investigator Arden calls The Lady (a reflection of how he sees her) is tasked with looking into York’s crimes and his past to see if he really does merit death or whether an appeal should go forward without his consent (important word, important theme).
We see here the horrific crimes of these men, but we also see their lives, the brutality within which they were raised and how that lent itself toward what they became. We also see the true horror of prison life, the guards like Conroy who can make a life hell by collusion with prisoners and the tiny acts of kindness (the warden made sure Arden had books even after he ended up on the row).
This book is extraordinary and beautiful and brutal, absolutely heart-rending (the story of the white haired boy almost broke me, but its conclusion made me cheer). I read it in one solid two and a half hour gulp and was moved and horrified and delighted and awed. I could not recommend this book any more highly. It is tremendous! Be warned though, it is not for the weak of stomach. It pulls none of its punches. Rene Denfeld is a death row investigator and knows her stuff.
You can buy this book in the UK here
And in the US here