I am delighted to be launching the Feast Of The Evernight blog tour! Last year I was struck by the depth and breadth of the fantasy world Ross Mackenzie created in the original Evernight and so was hotly anticipating where Lara’s story would lead after she had defeated the ancient forces of the Evernight, and I’m delighted to say it’s excellent.
Feast Of The Evernight has these dashes of Wild West meets Game of Thrones with a dash of modern fantasy magic and little hints to dystopian sci-fi meaning both lovers of action-adventure and those of thoughtful magical fantasy will equally be thrilled.
Darker than the typical Middle Grade fare, this certainly sits at the higher end of the range the Evernight saga would actually be perfect for that 13+ Teen market as it would be incredible for younger teens as much as their tween siblings – a pre-young adult fantasy with a clean but twisted tale, a dark, scintillating and deeply layered plot and surely deserving of a big Netflix adaptation.
Almost a year after the events of Evernight we return to Westerly Witch where Lara is about to embark upon a new quest, to train under a mentor witch but her mission changes when gruesome magical murders in the region and the disappearance of her friend and former White Witch Double Eight are possibly linked.
Joe wants to return home to King’s Haven but first to repay both his Witch companions for caring for him, and to avenge his fellow people of the slums. He will follow Rob and Lara to Lake End where the King is preparing a great celebration of HIS victory over the Evernight.
And Ivy is a young White Witch on the run from the evil Karl Younger who has made it his mission to rid the world of Westlerly Witches and White Witches who do not align their powers to the Silver King. The only difference is Ivy is unusual as she can’t control her ability make magic without wand or witch paper, she simply IS magical.
These three stories will interweave and come to a head on the day of the Feast of Evernight…
The Evernight Saga is Dark; in the same realms of its predecessor Feast of The Evernight isn’t fluffy or cute, and its utterly brilliant for its bold choice to embrace that.
Feast of The Evernight is gritty and takes a step further in the horror with gruesome murders, sadistic Witch Hunters, and the darkest magic and throughout is the gut churning dread of peril. But fear not, for it also holds the values of true Middle Grade Fantasy; Hope, Friendship and Finding the Strength to Do What Must Be Done (even if it is really scary).
If you could imagine the scale, scope and intensity of the world of A Game of Thrones but for middle grade you would be halfway to exploring just how magnificent this series is because then we throw in spellcraft, djinn, newly released and scared Witches with uncontrollable power and a grand reckoning brewing in hostility to the King. It’s an epic in both superlative and that grand tradition of the word.
I love the juxtaposition of the earthy folksy feel of the Westerly Witches’ magic with the delivery system of Wild West style revolver wands. This has all the thrill, danger and action of a Wild Western but consistently has the rich immersion in a fantasy world.
The magical system itself has a feel of green wild magic with a personal intuitive symbology in ‘crafting’ and its practitioners thriving within something like the Pixie Dust Tree Of Tinkerbell’s Pixie Hollow meets Yggdrasil with a great Mother Tree of life that they live within and seek to protect from the Silver King’s reach.
It seems incongruent to the uninitiated but within Ross’ hands, it simply works, you believe whole heartedly in MacKenzie’s world where spell bottles are loaded into revolver wands and Patronus style creatures of magic light come forth to aid in spells, tasks and battles like ghostly Pokemon, its more than enough to please both the thrill-seeking action adventurers and the lovers of magic.
In this thrilling sequel, we see an evolution of and emergence rather than simply revenge of the enemies in Feast of The Evernight which considering the antagonists of Book One it was going to be interesting how MacKenzie could top his own creations .
The intensely brilliant Shadow Jack in book one was the enslaved soul at the beck and call of the wicked Soul catcher Witch Mrs Hester; with Shadow Jack’s incredible characterisation of a Wild West Preacher man meets Shrike tasked to hunt down our heroine, this time we see a more human, and perhaps thus darker Hunter.
Karl Younger the former White Witch with his black uniform and skull badge as head of the new Secret Police has hints of the dread fear of the Gestapo, the physical dominance of Franco-era Guardia Civil Crows and a twisted pleasure in uncovering fellow witches not aligned to the crown bringing wobbles to the knees of even the most brave.
I actually loved this factor, that the villain is in fact a human, a White Witch who has actually regained his soul, autonomy and humanity and yet willingly and happily chooses darkness in hunting and killing his own kind. There’s lots of potential thoughts and discussion on human nature should a reader wish to unpack that, but equally he’s a worthy ‘bad guy’ for those who just want to read in those simple terms.
Yet for all the darkness there is hope and goodness and humanity throughout MacKenzie’s tale.
Faith and kindness in unexpected places and supposedly unremarkable or indeed in brusque and hard presenting people are central throughout which fits and feels right not just within Middle Grade but more so to the style of writing.
There is a folklorish feel and great oral storytelling feel to this book, the prose works beautifully readaloud full of lyricism and rhythm, the words dance and play both in the mind and on the tongue.
Yet it is equally cinematic, the scenes within Feast of The Evernight are immersive and visceral and immediately visualised in full splendour from the description and again I return to the word epic. Because in all senses the Evernight saga is truly epic.
I’m delighted to have shared my thoughts on Feast Of The Evernight by Ross Mackenzie with you and I hope you stop by the others on this blog tour for such an awesome book!
Feast Of The Evernight by Ross Mackenzie is published by Andersen Press
Thank you so much for my copy 💜