The Demon's Watch by Conrad Mason
|The Demon's Watch by Conrad Mason|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Highly enjoyable fantasy adventure set in a realistic world of magical smuggling. Exciting and with a strong cast of well-rounded characters - including a VERY naughty fairy - this is a truly swashbuckling read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: March 2012|
|Publisher: David Fickling|
|External links: Author's website|
We're the Demon's Watch, son. Best you don't think of us as the good folk. More like the dangerous folk.
Joseph Grubb lives in Fayt, a busy port between the Old and the New Worlds. In Fayt, humans, elves, trolls, ogres and fairies live together in relative peace. But it's not all harmony. The League of Light is threatening the port, wanting to force back into the Old World way of segregation and persecution of the fey folk. And there is suspicion of multiculturalims even in Fayt itself - Joseph is a half-goblin and an orphan. His goblin father was murdered for marrying a human woman and Joseph now lives and works at a tavern owned by an uncle who despises him and calls him Mongrel.
Unsurprisingly, Joseph dreams of a better life. And his chance at one comes when an accidental encounter with a smuggler brings him into contact with the Demon's Watch. A powerful witch is threatening Fayt and Joseph must work with the Watch to save his city. But the Watch has problems of its own - its youngest member, Tabitha, has a tendency to rush to judgement - and action - and the city's militia wants it disbanded.
This is such an enjoyable fantasy adventure. The worldbuilding is rather wonderful and completely credible but also unobtrusive, so we don't get pages and pages of dull-as-ditchwater exposition. The action gets going right from the very first pages and it doesn't let up until the very end. The plot twists and turns without the tiniest of holes. The characters are well formed - I loved Joseph so much I almost wanted to adopt him, I wanted to smack Slik, the naughtiest and most disloyal fairy you could possibly imagine, and I found Tabitha's reckless, impulsive actions and subsequent sulks extremely annoying. This may be because I'm a mother whose bete noir is a sulking child, but either way I engaged with and reacted to the entire cast created by Conrad Mason. And I don't say that about many books.
I'm leaving the best until last - the best thing about The Demon's Watch is the dialogue. Sparkling and energetic, it's full of wit and comic timing, with piratical idioms galore. Everyone's a cove or a mongrel and the pubs all have wonderful names. Fancy a drink in the Pickled Dragon or the Legless Mermaid some time? I surely do!
There's an epilogue setting us up for another story about Port Fayt. I hope it's coming soon. I think this rip-roaring fantasy adventure is going to win a loyal - and thoroughly deserved - following.
If you like your fantasy of the riproaring, swashbuckling variety, you might also enjoy Mistress of the Storm by Melanie Welsh which is also full of seafaring adventure. The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric adds an alternate world setting and curry-loving mermaids into the mix. How could you resist?!
You can read more book reviews or buy The Demon's Watch by Conrad Mason at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Demon's Watch by Conrad Mason at Amazon.com.
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