The Qwillery | category: Fiona McIntosh


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh - May 31, 2013

The Scrivener's Tale
Author:  Fiona McIntosh
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, March, 26 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062237309 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh - May 31, 2013
Gabe Figaret, an ex-psychologist turned writer, now works in a bookshop in Paris. He lives a quiet life as he attempts to rehabilitate his psyche from the ravages of his past. While he'd prefer to probe his own mind rather than a stranger's, he cannot refuse when Reynard, a doctor and one of his regular customers, asks Gabe to mentor a patient, a mysterious young woman named Angelina.

Angelina is shy. She is mute and delusional. At first, she appears to be terrified of Reynard. But Gabe quickly discovers that Angelina is not quite what she seems. As his relationship with the enigmatic Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching, lurking, following his every move.

When Angelina tells Gabe that he must kill her, and then flee to a fantastical realm she calls Morgravia, he is aghast. But Angelina gives him proof that Morgravia is not a delusion; it is real. Soon, Gabe's world will be turned upside down, and he will learn shocking truths about his past, and the perilous trials in his future.

Melanie's Thoughts:

The Scrivener’s Tale starts in modern day Paris with Gabe, a former psychologist, seeking refuge in the great city following the tragic death of his family. Life is pretty normal for Gabe who spends his time working in a bookshop and wandering the streets of Paris until he meets a damaged young girl, Angelina, who is in the care of one of his loyal customers, Reynard. They did not meet by chance, forever changing Gabe’s life.

The story is split between Gabe in Paris and the other lead character, Cassien. Cassien has led a harsh and lonely life, fighting for survival in a great forest in Morgravia, which is in an alternative universe. Cassien is probably the most empathetic character in the book and the most interesting. Abandoned as a baby, Cassien spends his childhood with the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood turn him into a warrior mostly through neglect and a brutal regime of torture and punishment. It is evident quite early on that Cassien is the hero of the tale.

A rather confusing chain of events brings the grieving widower, Gabe, to the Pearlis, the alternate Paris where he embarks on the adventure of his life….an adventure that might just end it. Predictably, Cassien has his own mission to fulfill that leads him into the path of the unsuspecting Gabe. The pair ends up in a battle to save Morgravia against a demon that has been waiting centuries to enact its revenge. Will they be successful? Will they survive? I won’t tell and you will have to read it to find out.

Although The Quickening series by McIntosh is set in Morgravia, The Scrivener’s Tale is a stand alone story. Currently it’s pretty unusual for an author to write just one book, but I am glad that McIntosh resisted the temptation to drag this story out over multiple books.

Normally I really like epic fantasy. Some of my all time favourite books are from this genre, so I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t enjoy The Scrivener’s Tale as much as I thought I would. The story started out quite engaging and it seemed that the plot was going to be complex. I was concerned at first that I would miss a plot point if I wasn’t paying 110% attention. I even took much longer than I normally would to read it so that I was in the right frame of mind to take everything in. Imagine my disappointment when I guessed every secret, intrigue and mystery. McIntosh spells everything out in long dialogue sequences rather than letting the readers figure it out themselves. I think that this tendency was one of the most disappointing aspects of the book. It all seemed very much like it had been done before.

McIntosh has a great imagination and is obviously adept at creating unique worlds, especially with Morgravia. I think that this story would have benefited from a little more mystery and a little less wrapping the plot up with a bow.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 26, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013

This has been a week that I can only describe as 'pants mcpantus'. I have had a week of almost 100% stress at work and looked forward to escaping into some really good books. I was mostly successful on this front.

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
For those of you have been checking out my 'week in review' you will know that last week I discovered Alex Bledsoe's Eddie La Crosse series. I enjoyed Blonde Edged Sword and Burn Me Deadly so much that I rushed to buy the third and fourth books of the series. I decided to be magnanimous and let the 'hubinator' read book 3 - Dark Jenny - before me.  I hope to be able to tell you a bit more about what I thought of these books next week.

Applause everyone!! I finished The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh. This book has taken me an unusually long time to finish but I am reviewing it soon so keep your eye out what I thought of it.

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
OK....I confess.....I started a new series rather than reading one of the many, many books on my TBR. I got lured into buying a free book from my Kindle recommendations (can you buy a free book?) and am now on book 4 of the series.  So what tempted me to the dark side...the side of buying new rather than reading what I already have?  I ran across Lindsay Buroker's The Emperor's Edge series. Book 1  - The Emperor's Edge was for free, free, free, from Amazon and I really liked it so decided to get book 2 - Dark Currents. As my week turned more and more stressful from work I kept going on the series that I was already enjoying rather than risking something I hadn't read yet. So I finished Deadly Games today which was quite grisly and had a tiny bit more romance between our hero and heroine. I just started Conspiracy and its turning out to be another consistently good book from the series. These are self pubs and you won't be wowed by the covers but its what's inside that counts, after all.

I also started Mike Shevdon's The Eighth Court (Courts of the Feyre 4). I have enjoyed this series, especially the first two books. I am not that far into the book as I will be reviewing it and didn't want to read it too closely to The Scrivener's Tale.  

Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013
Lucky me also got J.T. Geissinger's new book Rapture's Edge from NetGalley. I have really enjoyed the Night Prowler series so far and I am certain to like this next installment. The nice people from Kindle also offered Mark T. Barnes's The Garden of Stones for £1.99 so it is now gracing my TBR. Another week of making my TBR grow rather than making it smaller!  At least I have some goodies to read next week.

I would love to know what you are reading so leave a comment or send me a tweet @mellidrama.  Wishing you a great week and Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - 19 May 2012

Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012

So this was a rather 'middling' week for me on the reading front. I read a few, bought a few. I didn't really feel like I accomplished that much....until of course, I started to write this post. On reflection I didn't do too bad after all.

I actually got back to reading The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh. I haven't finished it as I wanted to but I have made good progress. Fingers crossed for next week.

Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012I did finish The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton. It was Ok. It was 'quaint' and very young YA. I don't regret reading it but don't think I will continue on with the series. It was just a bit too predictable and the heroine a bit too perfect for a poor orphan girl living on the streets of London.

Once I finished this book I went back to those handy Kindle recommendations. I downloaded Double Blood by Connie Suttle. I had read her Blood Destiny series and thought by book 11 that I had read too many. I read the first book of the High Demon series and thought it was too much of a re-hash of the original series. Drawn by the low price and the fact that my Kindle recommendations have been pretty spot on recently I decided to download it. I was very disappointed as this new book was very similar to the others. In fact almost virtually the same plot.

Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012 Another disappointment in my reading week was Rising Darkness by Thea Harrison. I have read some of her other books and although there was quite a bit of action in this one I still found it a bit dull. I don't think I really gelled with the lead characters. Another series I don't think I will continue.

One book I did really enjoy was The Sword Edge Blond by Alex Bledsoe. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book, especially as the cover was a bit 1970's looking. Eddie LaCrosse, the hero of this series is a great one....hero that is. Damaged by a tragedy in his teens has shaped his life as a sword for hire. He is gruff and rough and totally heroic. I think Eddie is going to end up on my top ten fictional
Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012
boyfriend list soon. The added bonus was that it was so quick to read that I finished it by the time I got home from work. I liked it so much that I immediately bought Burn Me Deadly which I am partway through now. Eddie is even better in book two so far. If you like a medieval/fantasy murder mystery than I suggest you start this fantastic series.

I am ashamed to say I haven't had a chance to read any of my new books from the last two weeks and must get them reading them and stop buying new books! My job for next week I suppose. Until then Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - May 5, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - May 5, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - May 5, 2013Welcome to my first ever week in review! I am new to The Qwillery and looking forward to sharing what I have been reading during the week. I am quite a voracious reader. This is partly due to my daily 2 hour commute on the London Underground. I can get through quite a few books with a minimum of 10 hours of dedicated reading. The downside of this is my perpetual hunt for something good to read. I have had so many great recommendations from The Qwillery and now it’s my turn to share what I have been reading.

I tried to finish a book I started last week The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh, which is a mix of fantasy and modern day Paris. It is really engaging but as I started the chapter which had a big explanation of a complicated plot line I hit train delays and other irritants. This distracted me too much. I decided that I will hold off on finishing what is turning out to be an excellent story until I can concentrate properly. I then turned to Gaie Sebold’s Dangerous Gifts, which continues the adventures of the prostitute/gun-for-hire, Babylon Steel. I will be reviewing this book soon so keep your eyes out for it.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 5, 2013
I also had a little trawl through NetGalley. I practically shrieked when I found Lilith Saintcrow's The Red Plague Affair which is the second novel in the Bannon and Clare series. I liked The Iron Wyrm but didn't love it so I was looking forward to seeing whether Saintcrow could keep me reading the series. Look for my review this week to find out what I thought of The Red Plague Affair.

I was looking for something to read that wasn't fantasy or steampunk. I tried Earth Girl by Janet Edwards. I quite like YF/YA so thought it sounded like it would be a good read. While I love watching science fiction I don't always like reading it (yes, that is weird) so I was keeping my fingers crossed I was going to like a book that was YA/SciFi. Hmmmmmm I think it is a bit too YA for me and not sure I am going to be able to continue it. The lead character Jarra, is a bit self-obsessed (like some teenagers) . There is prolific use of the made up scifi word 'nardle' that I am finding extremely irritating. I am going to give it another go later this week so will let you know how I get along.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 5, 2013Finally, I turned to Kindle recommendations to find something else to read. Recommendations based on buying patterns can be quite hit and miss. Goodreads are almost totally miss but I have found some little gems on my Kindle. I came across Bloodfire by Helen Harper and was delightfully surprised. It is set in rural Cornwall and is about Mackenzie the only human living amongst a pack of shapeshifters. Her life is turned upside down when her pseudo father and alpha of the pack is brutally murdered. It was quite compelling and I stayed up later and got up early to continue reading it. I ended up buying book 2 so will hopefully tell you all about it next week.

Until then, Happy Reading!
Review The Scrivener's Tale by Fiona McIntosh - May 31, 2013Melanie's Week in Review  - May 26, 2013Melanie's Week in Review  - 19 May 2012Melanie's Week in Review - May 5, 2013

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