Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Recreated - Colleen Houck

Book Details

Book Title: Recreated

Author: Colleen Houck

Publisher
: Hodder & Stoughton

Source: Sent to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review

Page Count: 406

Format: Paperback

Genre: Historical Fantasy

ISBN/Link To Book On Amazon: 978-1444784817


Audience: Those who enjoy romantic fantasy adventures, with lots of ancient mythology.

Summed up in one word: Mythological

Author Bio: Colleen Houck is a New York Times Bestselling author, a determined reader and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She also lives in Salem in the USA and is the owner of multiple tigers.

First Impression: Entering this series mid-way through felt like a bit of a mistake to begin with, leaning heavily on the past book for the first 50 or so pages. This feeling was quickly alleviated by an intense, graphic and romantic journey through Ancient Egyptian mythology. This was a great book, it pushes the boundaries of historical fantasy, I was impressed by the main character, the secondary characters and the execution of the plot. My mind was taken to new lands and I am very much looking forward to going back when the next book comes out.


Summary of the Story:

Lilliana Young is heart broken, left without her beloved Amon after the events of Reawakened, she has returned home to her parents. To overcome the grief of her loss, Lily decides to take a trip to her grandmothers to get away from the reminders of recent events. Only a short time after her arrival, she is visited by Anubis; the Egyptian god of embalming and death. Anubis knows about Lily's connection with Amon (who is stuck wondering the Netherworld), Amon is one of the 3 Sons Of Egypt and is needed in the afterlife to perform his duties. Anubis asks Lily to visit the afterlife, find a way through to the Netherworld and save Amon before he is eaten by the Devourer Of The Dead.

To perform these tasks, Lily must bind herself with another soul and become a Sphinx. She finds her soulmate in the form of a lioness called Tia. Tia is a strong willed being who starts to compete with Lily for control over her own body, her abilities and who she desires. Needing to address her own fears, complications and heartache, Lily, along with Tia push on into the afterlife and beyond. Here Lily meets many of the Egyptian gods and having to bargain, barter and battle them only slows down her journey to find and save her beloved Amon. Can Lily beat the odds, overcome the trials before her and unite with Tia to become stronger than ever? Come find out in Recreated.

Review

Plot: Lily is in for one heck of a journey. Colleen Houck went all out on this one, a masterfully complex storyline drenched in amazing Ancient Egyptian mythology. Now I may be biased on this book as I love stories about gods and mythical beings, you get so much great content in this book. Travelling to the afterlife, meeting the gods, fighting the monsters and overcoming the fearsome challenges that await those who want to venture into the Netherworld and beyond. This book is very heavy on the romance as well, it sees Lily's desires being mixed up between Amon and the many other attractive, powerful and brave characters included in this story. Recreated is both a story and a character driven story. The best part about this book is the fact that it excels in many different aspects. Story! Characters! Context! Romance! Adventure! Evil! Gore! Readability! 

Writing Style: CH has chosen to tell the story through the eyes of Lily only. It is a first person perspective. In keeping with the main theme of this book, nothing is as it seems, with Tia taking over Lily's body and making decisions for her and acting out, you never quite know who is in control of the main character and this makes for an excellent unpredictable read. There is more to this area of CH'S writing but it is a MAJOR SPOILER so just leave here now and read this book. Other notable areas of CH's writing style here are the pacing and the character interactions. The pacing is consistent, with the story rarely slowing down too much. The character interactions are well organised, executed and detailed, with emotions, desires and thoughts on display.

Setting: CH has set this piece in both the afterlife and the 'Netherworld'. Not solely an Egyptian mythological tale, there are elements of Greek mythology and also some Irish Fairy Tale pieces too. The afterlife is dreamy, potent and full of judgement. The Netherworld is disturbing, horrific and full of creatures we can only dream of. Some great names of places included in this tale are, Path of Desolation, Field of Fears, Mires of Despair and Fountain of the Jackals.

Characters: I could talk about these characters for days on end...again I am a mythology addict and I had a field day here. Anubis, Ma'at, Osiris, Nebu and the involvement of a Sphinx were all great additions to this story. The main event here is Lily and eventually Tia as well. Lily is transformed from the events of the previous book and is now capable of defeating evil to save her beloved Amon. Lily is unsure of herself but she doesn't shy away from a challenge. When Tia is added to this story it takes Lily's character to the next level and I had a great time in their company. Everyone has their place and bring something to this epic tale. My favourite character has to be Tia, she was a lioness before she was absorbed by Lily to become a sphinx. Her story is unusual, sexual and ferocious, it is a smart addition to this book and it adds an extra layer of depth to the fantasy element of this story. 

Themes: Some of the stronger themes in this book are mainly to do with love and romance. The book sets out to convey that love is worth all the trials and tribulations that the world can throw at you and for the most part it succeeds. The only time the central theme changes is when Lily is drawn away from her love for Amon by other strong male characters and she had to overcome not only her own temptation but Tia's as well. Other themes include the afterlife, which is portrayed by not only the gods who reside there but also the setting itself and also dreaminess, duality and disorientation, the characters and the reader not always knowing what is real and what is not.

Likes: Mythology. The duality of Lily and Tia. Gods. Monsters (Minotaur!). Satisfying ending.

Cover Art: High Quality, Attractive and Colourful 8/10

Dislikes: Repetitive romance plot pieces. Some of the lengthier parts dragged on a fraction too much. Leans a bit too much on the first book in the first act. 

Rating: Overall this was a unique, romantic, adventurous jaunt through the afterlife. I had a great time reading this book and the ending left me wanting more. The mythology was excellent and the fact that this author poured everything she had into this piece really shows. I cannot wait for the next instalment and I am very glad to have the opportunity to read this book.

9/10

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