Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: _The Summer Country_ by James Hetley

There is a fantasy world a few steps away from ours. It is called the Summer Country. This world is inhabited by amoral beings that have little use for humans. They roam the modern world too, pursuing their personal motivations. _The Summer Country_ by James A. Hetley is a Celtic Urban Fantasy that tells the story of a group of people of these two worlds. It is an interesting book propelled along by its characters, plot and mythic elements.

The author introduces realistic characters that readers can understand. Maureen is a young woman with many problems. Molested when a child, she is troubled, hating and distrusting men to the point of carrying a gun to kill them. She is bitter and difficult to get along with other people. Jo is her sister. She wants to protect Maureen, but gets frustrated with her sister’s problems. These women interact with other interesting characters. Brian Pendragon is an Old One who protects humans from others of his kind. He is a world weary soldier with a hard edge. The Old Ones like Fiona, Sean and Dougal are amoral beings that threaten the main characters. The author's descriptions makes all the the characters believable.

Next, Mr. Hetley’s plot moves along at a fast pace with a dark edge. It starts while Maureen walks home from work on a cold winter night in Maine. A man follows behind her. She takes refuge in an alley to defend herself with a gun but is saved by Brian. Maureen lets him escort her home where she becomes angry at her sister Jo having her boyfriend David in the apartment. Brian has trouble with Fiona and Sean trying to kill him. Eventually, Maureen, Jo and David get dragged into the Summer Country and the ancient struggles of the Old Ones. The action is fast paced with some brutal scenes of violence that keeps the plot on a dark brink.

Finally, the book’s interesting use of mythic elements gives it a fascinating perspective. The author uses elements from Celtic mythology. Old Ones are based on tales of the sidhe, amoral fairy creatures with no concern for humans. Mr. Hetley’s Summer Country is green and warm but dangerous. People can be sacrificed to the land, their blood and souls sucked out of them. Other inhabitants keep feudal systems with vile traps and guardians for their holdings. Th Nere is no chivalry to be found in this dangerous fantasy world. Mr. Hetley weaves these elements together with vivid descriptions that makes the book memorable.

_The Summer Country_ by James A. Hetley is a Celtic Urban Fantasy by a new author to the genre. The book’s characters, plot and mythic elements makes it an entertaining experience for readers. There is a dark edge to the book with a lot of action and some violent scenes. This book is realistic with troubled characters facing magical events that make them stronger. First of a series, readers will eagerly await a sequel.

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