The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

The Manual of Detection is one of those books you’ll find hard to classify. It’s somehow a detective story, but it’s not a typical one. Jedediah Berry’s story is a very unusual one; at times, it seems very surreal and you ask yourself what is true and what is not. In The Manual of Detection, nothing is quite as it seems and the reader finds himself caught in a world between dreaming and wakefulness, trying to find his / her way out of this dazzling labyrinth. I haven’t read such books before, so this was a new reading experience for me. That doesn’t imply that I didn’t like the book; in fact, I must say that I really enjoyed it, precisely because it was so unusual and illusive. But now let’s have a look at the plot:

The story introduces us to Charles Unwin, a clerk who works at a detective agency in an unnamed rainy metropolis. After twenty years of clerical work, he finds out, to his amazement, that he has been promoted detective. But the protagonist isn’t really happy about his new position and he is determined to do what is asked of him so that he can return to his old satisfying clerk job as soon as possible. In order to do that, he has to find out what happened to Sivart, the detective he used to clerk for. Armed with the manual of detection, Unwin searches for clues and tries to find out the truth about Sivart’s mysterious disappearance. On his journey, he finds himself entangled in a strange world of somnambulists, criminals and femmes fatales who are deceitful and harmful. Unwin has to intrude into the dreams of a murdered man, but he needs to be careful, since danger awaits him everywhere. What is real and what is not; and whom can he really trust in this deceptive city? Unwin’s questions will soon be answered as the protagonist digs further into a gripping dream world full of surprises and dangers.

Jedediah Berry’s tale is very imaginative and creative and it will appeal to everyone who likes to read about surreal themes. The Manual of Detection is a bizarre book, but at the same time, it’s a fascinating work that I enjoyed very much!

 

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The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renne Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is set in the heart of Victorian London, where dark and mysterious things are taking place. Dangerous spirits are haunting this beautiful city and six people have been chosen to safeguard the mortal world from these supernatural terrors. This group, known as The Guard, awaits the fulfillment of the Prophecy, which promises that a last member will join their circle in time and help them fight against the forces of evil.

Nineteen years later, orphan Percy Parker arrives at the Athens Academy in Victorian London. The eighteen-year-old immediately feels out of place at her new school, since she is not like any other girl. Her strange and unique appearance sets her apart from the other students and Percy finds it hard to make friends. The students and professors think that she looks odd and thus, they keep their distance; but if they gave this timid girl a chance, they would find out that she is unique in every way. Percy speaks multiple languages and she has the ability to see ghosts and speak to them. Furthermore, she is often haunted by strange visions. However, Percy does not know why these peculiar things are happening to her. The shy girl yearns for acceptance and wants to be like everybody else, therefore she doesn’t want to tell anyone about her abilities. Percy doesn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to herself, so she tries to behave like the other students. She tries to focus on school and she is concerned about the fact that she has to attend math classes. She is a bright student, but she isn’t good at math and therefore, she hates it. Maybe her attractive Professor Alexi will be able to change her mind. There’s just something about him that fascinates Percy and she cannot stop thinking about him. What does this mysterious Alexi have to hide? And what do these two unlikely characters have in common?

Vivienne at Serendipity mentioned this refreshing novel and when I read the synopsis, I knew that I had to get my hands on this book!

Thus, I was very happy when I received a copy from Dorchester Publishing and I couldn’t wait to read it! I just loved this compelling novel, since it drew me in from the beginning and it took me on an unforgettable journey through Victorian London!

Leanna Renee Hieber has created a charming and imaginative gothic story that is full of spiritualism, mystery and romance. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is an engaging novel and I was immediately captivated by the lyrical language, the mythic themes and the well-drawn characters. In the beginning, Percy is described as a shy girl who has no self-confidence, but when she meets Professor Alexi, she gains strength and courage. Alexi, unlike the others, doesn’t feel intimidated by her appearance; he appreciates Percy and becomes aware of the fact that she is a beautiful young girl who is intelligent, kind and special in every way! All in all, this book is lovely and beautifully written; I really liked everything about it, especially the Victorian setting and the gothic and supernatural elements. This is indeed a strangely beautiful tale!

For more information (trailer, excerpts and prologue), please visit Leanna Renee Hieber’s website.

The Girl with Glass Feet

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

When Vivienne at Serendipity mentioned The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw, I knew that I had to read this book! The book’s cover immediately attracted me and the synopsis piqued my interest.

Jason Liebman from Henry Holt and Company kindly sent me an advance reading copy and I must say that I really enjoyed reading it!

Midas is a shy young man who enjoys being alone, as he doesn’t really know how to talk to people. He has lived on St. Hauda’s Land his entire life, but he barely has any friends. Therefore, Midas has devoted his whole life to photography and when peculiar things begin to take place on the islands, he is eager to capture everything on camera. Odd winged creatures and albino animals seem to have appeared on the islands and other unusual things are happening. However, Midas doesn’t seem too concerned; he is intrigued by these beings and wants to take pictures of them. But everything changes when the young man meets Ida, the girl with glass feet. Her body is inexplicably turning into glass and she desperately searches for a cure. At first, Midas only seems to take an interest in her condition and wants to take pictures of her glass feet, but as they spend time together, he begins to fall in love with her. There is something about the girl’s nature that gradually changes Midas and thus, he begins to blossom into a brave and confident young man. Ida helps him overcome the demons of his past, while Midas helps her come to terms with her affliction. Together, they try to find a cure for her condition, but time is slipping away. Will Midas be able to save his beloved? And what does his father’s death have to do with all of this?

I don’t want to tell you more about this wonderful book, because I think that you should also read it and thus experience this absorbing story yourself! The Girl with Glass Feet is an unusual, magical love story that will touch your heart and will linger in your mind for a long time! I recommend this fanciful novel to everyone out there, since Ali Shaw has done such an excellent job fabricating a beautiful and gripping fairy tale! The author describes the landscape and the characters in a poetic way and he successfully manages to create an elegant world, where reality wonderfully merges with fantasy! All in all, The Girl with Glass Feet is an imaginative novel, full of suspense, magic and marvels. I have never read a book like this before, since it’s so unusual, but at the same time it’s so spectacular! I really loved this heartbreaking novel and I am so glad that I had the chance to read it!

Note: The book is scheduled for release in January 2010!