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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review and Giveaway- The Enchantment of Abigail Brown

**Be sure to check out all the giveaway info below my review**

TITLE: The Enchantment of Abigail Brown  
SERIES: The Nousidian Chronicles, Book One
AUTHOR: Mark Waters                PUB: Twelfth Realm Pub.
PUB DATE: 8/27/11                       FORMAT: paperback, 312 pgs
SOURCE: from publisher exchange for honest review

Abigail Brown is a smart girl: academically brilliant and bullied at school. Even at the tender age of almost thirteen, she knows there is more to this existence than following the daily grind. Walking home from school, after breaking up for the summer holidays, she comes across a fat tabby cat called Arnold, who, much to her surprise, introduces himself. This event is the catalyst that guides Abigail to return to the ‘real world’, a world in which she was born, a world in which she belongs, a world where she is princess and heir to the throne, a world that is completely unknown to her. Discovering a door in her father’s study, Abigail is joined by her faithful dog Apollo, her new companion Arnold and her best friend Tom. Together they travel into the realm of Nousidia; a land where nature lives in co-existence with all life: man, beast or dragon. Upon entering this world, Abby’s three companions experience an extraordinary change; each as remarkable as the next, and equally unique, returning to their true forms. Apollo becomes a tall, youthful soldier with long golden hair, Arnold a lumbering warrior, having the torso of a bear and the majestic head of a lion, and Tom aging tenfold into withered old man, his true age becoming only too apparent. Abby finds her homeland in the grip of an evil tyrant, her aunt Belladora, who is holding her father, the true king, prisoner. She vows to release him and embarks on an adventure into the real world: the world of Nousidia. They travel across the kingdom, reuniting with friends, family and places long forgotten, discovering the true nature of the planet we call Earth. Along this journey the slumbering power of natural magic awakens inside her, allowing communication with all in her kingdom, and with it the strength to unite them against their common foe. With this magic comes the quickening, a state in which one becomes of age: a process that takes Abby quite by surprise, as she finds herself suddenly in womanhood. Abby discovers that this is the real world; the human perception being created by ancient magic to contain those who renounce the ways of nature, allowing a fragile balance between good and evil. It is an imbalance in this status quo that has allowed the seasons to change: the daylight hours of summer, the time of good, shortening, whilst the time of evil, the winter of night, has gained strength, the interim period, known as dusk, when both are present, becoming an all consuming battle for supremacy. Abby’s return to Nousidia generates unrest amongst the outcast tribes, bringing rebellion to the witch Belladora’s door, and uniting the lost people once more. The ancient battle between good and evil is rekindled, bringing war to Nousidia: a war in which neither side can truly conquer: an uprising that produces an unexpected hero. The Enchantment of Abigail Brown is a journey into the real world; a journey of discovery, myth and magic, a journey most only dream of 

THREE WORDS: Enchanting. Grand. Spellbinding.

MY REVIEW: The lengthy synopsis above of Mark Waters’ The Enchantment of Abigail Brown offers a really great glimpse into the magical world awaiting readers in this awesome debut novel. Fantasy lovers young and old will be delighted and captivated by the world and story Waters has created in this first book in The Nousidian Chronicles.

The Enchantment of Abigail Brown is reminiscent of several beloved and revered stories. It has the smart, original and creative fantasy of the Harry Potter series, the thoughtfulness and insightfulness of the The Chronicles of Narnia series, and the clever whimsical nature of Alice in Wonderland. Yet, it also has its own unique, refreshing qualities and elements.

The world and story Waters has created is very intricate, grand and has obviously been plotted and mapped out carefully. The world of Nousidia does not simply exist because Waters tells readers that it exists. It exists because it has been so well developed and given life, history, political and social hierarchies. This is a world that, after reading this book, readers will insist exists.

Waters writes with a limitless imagination and urges readers to explore the highest and deepest parts of their own. The story itself moves quickly, but never feels rushed. There are a lot characters, histories, and plotlines introduced in this first volume and for the most part, Waters presents all of these things without overwhelming readers. However, there were a few times when I found myself slightly confused and lost among all the information, backstories, and memories being presented to me. I did have to reread a few passages to make sure I caught everything important, but overall, I think Waters does a great job of presenting readers with a clear and easily followed and understood story.

I found myself easily swept away into Abigail’s story and into this complex, enchanting world. With Nousidia, Waters offers readers a bounty of wondrous and fantastical new creatures and magic.  Dragons, magical wands, unicorns, talking trees, witches, creatures that are half lion and half bear oh my! The fantasy elements are surprising, captivating, and, at times, even beautifully dark and haunting. This is one of those books, and series, that will simply hold readers spellbound and have them truly invested in the world and characters within it.

This may be a fantasy story with delightful creations and imagery, but it’s definitely not all fluff and sweetness. In fact, it’s really quite intense and action packed, with its fair share of realistic violence and war. Waters doesn’t hold anything back, and I for one really loved and appreciated this.

The Enchantment of Abigail Brown is very much about Abigail’s journey from unique pre-teen to heroic princess on the verge of womanhood. And this is a journey that happens very quickly. I did really like Abigail, but I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by her character and I think this was mostly because she does mature and evolve as a character so quickly.  Yet, her fast evolution and maturation never really felt forced; instead it felt quite natural.

There’s a really great and large cast of characters in this book. Waters offers readers a wide variety of characters as well, ranging from the funny; the brave; the endearing; the awesomely nasty and bad, and so much more. I really like that a lot of the characters are surprising and unexpected.

The ending sets up the next book nicely and will leave readers eager for more…this reader in particular!

Other than the very few confusing or overwhelming passages, I only have one other minor complaint. I read a finished copy of the book and I found quite a few grammatical and spelling mistakes. There were even a few instances where a word was either missing or the wrong tense was used. Now, did this distract me so much that it ruined my ability to enjoy the story as a whole?  No, absolutely not! And clearly this is something that’s not going to matter to everybody; it’s really a personal pet peeve I suppose.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Enchantment of Abigail Brown is a spectacular and impressive debut from Mark Waters. Readers missing the imagination and fun of the Harry Potter books or readers simply longing for an epic new fantasy will fall in love with this book and series. I highly recommend this book!

You can learn more about Mark Waters and his books here:
You can purchase this book here:
Amazon  (ebook)  / Publisher (paperback.hardcover)

You can read the first three chapters for free HERE
After reading this book you enter to win a limited edition signed copy on Mark's website HERE

Be sure to check out my interview with Mark Waters AND enter to win a *SIGNED* Hardcover copy of The Enchantment of Abigail Brown by clicking HERE
Since I enjoyed this book so much I want to share the joy and book love. So, I'm gonna have a fun, little Quickie Flash Giveaway that will last one day.
What can you win? A Kindle ebook copy of this fantastic book that I will gift to you.
Remember, Amazon has several apps that allow you to read ebooks without a Kindle.
To enter simply leave a comment below with your:
GFC user name (must be a GFC follower)
Email address 

That's it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?
This giveaway will end tonight- 12/14 - at 11:59 pm EST
I will choose a winner and email them.
The winner must claim their prize within 24 hours or I'll choose a new winner.
If you win the ebook you are still eligible to win the signed hardcover enter both!



Susan @ The Book Bag said...

I am going to have to read this on after your glowing review. Sounds fabulous! And thanks for the double giveaway!

And the cupcakes all over your blog look soooo yummy!!


ily said...

This book is very nice, looks like a fairy tale.
thanks for giveaway

Kelly said...

Sounds intense! Thanks for the giveaway! I enjoyed your review.
gfc kelly fox
delivery.RN at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

GFC account: red_tigergirl2
Email is:

Awesome giveaway! and Awesome review to have that high of a rating I will defiantly check it out ^^

FairyWhispers said...

enchantment sounds good,

I keep thinking precy jackson by Rick Riordan togehter with the looking glass wars by Frank Beddor