Monday, November 22, 2010

Review - Rise of the Darklings (The Invisible Order, Book 1) by Paul Crilley (5/5 stars)

The Invisible Order, Book One: Rise of the DarklingsReading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 28, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1606840313
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Invisible Order series
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 5/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program.  The synopsis of the book sounded wonderful; a young girl in Victorian London stumbles upon another world.  I absolutely loved this book.  This is the first book in The Invisible Order series by Crilley.  The characters and story were very engaging and the atmosphere dark and mysterious.  Excellent middle grade fantasy that even adults will get into.

Emily and her brother are orphans trying to scrap buy in the Cheapside part of London.  Emily sells Watercress at market and tries to make enough money for them to eat.  One day on her way to the market she stumbles upon an epic battle happening in the streets on London; but the people fighting it are peculiar and...small.  From there Emily finds herself drawn into an adventure under the streets of London, on a quest to save her brother and possibly her parents, dealing with the horribly unpredictable fairy folk.

I loved this book.  The whole book has a dark Victorian atmosphere to it and the descriptions pull you right into your surroundings.  The plot is full of twists and turns and you never know what you are going to find with each page you turn.  Emily is a wonderful character; she is realistic, plucky, takes on a ton of responsibility for her age, has a lot of backbone, and at times is quite witty and sarcastic.

The surrounding characters are all quirky and interesting.  I enjoyed the complicated politics between the Fairy King, Fairy Queen, and the Invisible Order.  This is a middle grade book that assumes its readers are intelligent people who love a good story.  At times this story channels some dark fairy tale-like elements too.

The writing was easy to read and very well done.  The pace perfect, I never got bored and never felt overwhelmed.  This book was very hard to put down and I read it in record time.  The story is well wrapped up, but leaves some open story threads for the next book.  I am really looking forward to reading more of this series and so glad I decided to read this book.

Overall a wonderful new book in a great new series.  The setting is dark and Victorian, Emily makes a wonderful heroine with a bit of a sense of humor and a strong sense of self.  There are unexpected things happening at every page turn and I just loved it.  Fans of The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, Percy and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, Cornelia Funke's Reckless, Catherin Fisher's Incarceron and the Bartimeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud will find a lot in this book to love.  Great for all ages of readers.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
The Invisible Order, Book One: Rise of the Darklings 

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