Sunday 9 August 2009

JASMYN by Alex Bell

One day, without warning, Jasmyn's husband died of an aneurysm.

Since then, everything has been different.

Wrapped up in her grief, Jasmyn is trapped in a world without colour, without flavour - without Liam. But even through the haze of misery she begins to notice strange events. Even with Liam gone, things are not as they should be and eventually Jasmyn begins to explore the mysteries that have sprung up after her husband's death...and follow their trail back into the events of his life.

But the mysteries are deeper than Jasmyn expects and are leading her in unexpected directions - into fairytales filled with swans, castles and bones; into a tale of a murder committed by a lake and a vicious battle between brothers; into a story of a lost past and a stolen love. She's entering a magical story. Jasmyn's story.

This will definitely not be the last book I read by Alex Bell. I really like the way she tells her stories.

I picked it up on Friday afternoon because I wanted to read the first chapter, just to get a taste of the story. I ended up stopping after 80 pages, and only because I had to. I got swept away in Jasmyn's story so deeply that I all I wanted to do was keep reading.

Imagine that the love of your life just up and dies one afternoon? No warning, and certainly no time to say goodbye. Well, that's exactly what happens to Jasmyn. Her husband Liam means the world to her. They've had a wonderful life together that spans back to their childhood. So when he dies, she's devastated. Her world falls around her and she can hardly even get up in the morning because her will to live is gone. I felt her grief and pain, and was deeply saddened by her daily struggle.

However, a little while after his death, she starts to feel as if someone is watching her. A rude man she doesn't know barges into her house, demanding to see Liam. She starts to notice other strange things and people that seem to spring out of nowhere.

Trying to get free of her grief and take a deep breath of life, she escapes on a short holiday to stay with a friend in California. Instead, she gets stuck in a mystery. One that suggests the man she knew and loved isn't who she thought he was, and leads her to Germany.

She then finds herself in a foreign country with the brother-in-law who hates her and is keeping a lot of his own secrets. She's never felt more alone, but what Jasmyn uncovers throws her into the middle of an ancient myth filled with the magic and wonder of faery tales that all relate directly to the same mystery.

Jasmyn is an amazing, wonderous book that will make you sad. It will also keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I enjoyed how every detail slowly unravelled, and wasn't disappointed with the execution. I really enjoy Alex Bell's writing style, and Jasmyn's voice was so engaging I hated to put the book down.

This book is filled with a fantastic blend of both dark and light shades of magic. I loved this adult faery tale. Every detail was so vivid, it lingered in my mind hours after reading the last word. The truth will shock, yet satisfy as well.

Jasmyn, August 2009, ISBN 0575080299, Gollancz Paperback

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