Thursday, 21 June 2012

Crossing Over by Anna Kendall

review by Maryom

Roger has a gift that he would rather be without - when in pain he can cross over to the land of the Dead. This skill is something that his bullying uncle makes him use to make money - contacting the recently deceased for their relatives, rather like a face-to-face seance. It isn't a way of life that Roger likes but when he has to fend for himself, he has no idea of what else he may be able to do. Via a job in the Royal laundry he is discovered by the Queen who decides his gift may be just as useful to her in her attempts to gain control of the throne and power she feels is rightfully hers.

For a lot of the book there's very little 'fantasy'. The action takes place in a vague historical setting with an unusual matriarchal structure. There's a lot of royal politics and plotting - death by poison, treaties sealed in the bedroom - before the real 'fantasy' begins. Roger is very much an average teenager, has no real idea what he wants to do with life, imagines himself in love - or in lust might be more accurate - with almost any pretty girl he meets and even the Queen herself and - of course - overlooks the girl who loves him!

 Even so I found it to be an enjoyable read and although a YA book it's written in a way that should appeal to older fantasy readers - a lot of fantasy does of course follow a teenager growing into their powers. The ending rounds off but leaves it clear that more is to follow ( I knew that though as this book was part of a 2 book competition win). I feel book 2 of the series will start in with more fantasy from the start - watch this space as I'll be reading it soon!

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Gollancz

Genre - Teen/YA Fantasy

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