Anarchy. Book Review

anarchyANARCHY by James Treadwell

Hodder & Stoughton, h/b, 448pp, £16.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

The girl doesn’t say a word, ever. The silence is thick with unanswered questions. Séverine Goose of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police calls on all her training, and all her patience, to build rapport with Jennifer Knox, but the girl never says a word. Not one.  Passed from authority to authority, home to home, it seems no one wants to deal with this girl who won’t speak, and the girl is unable to tell anyone what happened to her.

Goose has no choice but to lock Jennifer in a cell and walk away from her frustrations for a little while. Then there’s a dreadful fishy smell. Then, impossibly, the girl is gone. No one knows how she escaped or where she could have gone, but even with her dream career on the line Goose just can’t let it go.

Marina is learning what loneliness truly means. Gawain is gone, her father is gone, Horace is gone, and Marina herself only half belongs in this world. England in the aftermath of the appearance of the giant winged creature is an unfriendly place. Snow, disappearances and panic are everywhere. A Plague spreads. Magic has returned to the world, and it is not a good magic.

Goose is a bold heroine and livens up what would otherwise be an overly fraught and emotional read. The lighter aspects of Advent have given way to a dark and brooding magic that is inexplicable and often hard to picture. The Mountie’s strength, and indeed her confusion, help to guide the reader through the strange events that happen in Canada, meanwhile back in England Marina and a new point of view character pick up from Gawain’s disappearance.

Anarchy is moving and impressive, tense and exciting, but is certainly not a book you read solely for the story. Much of it is transient and feels disconnected; sense and understanding often seem just out of reach. The prologue is made up of three seemingly unconnected dialogues which eventually meander together to form a more coherent narrative, but the end of Anarchy poses as many questions as it answers and the third part of the trilogy will need to do a lot of explaining.

Any hint of a fairytale magic is long gone in this instalment and readers may be surprised at the direction the story heads in. Events are often unsettling and without the solid and likeable main characters that Treadwell places in the midst of chaos this would be a very different kind of book. As it is the fantasy elements anchor things in place just enough to retain interest and the promise of resolution is on the horizon for book three.