Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review: Icefall by Gillian Philip

Series: #4 in the Rebel Angels series
Pages: 448
Released: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Tor
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For new readers: 
Here's what you can expect with the Rebel Angels series  

  • Characters that feel absolutely real. These don't feel like fictional characters at all. It feels like I'm reading an account of real people and real events. Which is, you know, saying something considering they're fairies and all. 
  • Strong emotions. Rage against the villains with the kind hate where your entire being takes part in the visceral hatefest. Inexplicable but all consuming love for the heroes. Elation when things go right for them. Absolute devastation when things don't (which is frequent). These characters go all in with everything, and I was swept up along with them.
  • Stellar world building. There's world building that's interesting because of the creatures or new ideas it brings. There's world building that's fun because it makes you want to live in it. There's world building that's complex because of the depth and scope of the details and rules. Then there's world building that combines all those things and feels absolutely real. Gillian Philip's world is the last type of world and I wouldn't be at all shocked to discover it exists parallel to our own world.

For established readers: 
Here's what you can expect in Icefall 
(Spoilers for newbies!)

  • Major characters die, and it ripped my bleeding heart out. 
  • Dead characters come back (briefly) in an awesome, awesome scene. 
  • A resolution to all the dangling story threads. 
  • A slower, wandering first three-quarters of the book (much like in the other books) but with memorable scenes throughout. 
  • Also, much like the other books, an explosive final quarter that makes the entire book worthwhile. 
  • Sobbing. Of both the happy and sad variety.

Bottom line (NO SPOILERS)

Gillian Philip's Rebel Angels series is a powerhouse from start to finish. Dip your toes into the first book, and if you like that, then you'll like the rest of the books.

By all rights, I should actually hate this series. The books are confusing, the characters can be infuriating, the pacing is all kinds of off, they're all fairies, and none of the rules of conventional storytelling are followed. I should absolutely hate it.

I absolutely love it.

There's something otherworldly and special about these books that defies what should be. I can't fully describe why I recommend them, but I wholeheartedly do.

This is an adult/upper YA fantasy/urban-ish fantasy series.

 Click on the covers to go to my reviews of books 1-3

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