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I am back, back, back again for a non-Sunday, Sunday Book Club and it is a double whammy of fun. Today’s post is numero uno for #Blogtober and it is also another collab with Love Books Tours and Helena M Craggs who have provided me a free ARC of her debut publication: The Younglings (Shadow & Magic) in print format, in exchange for an honest review.
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Okay, before I get into my review, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the level of care that Helena put into packaging the ARC. The attention to detail is stunning and who doesn’t love a matching bookmark?
- No Spoilers
The Younglings (Shadow & Magic) is book one in the start of a YA urban fantasy series by Helena M Craggs that follows the adventures of Quinn & co – a rag tag group of 16 year olds that have recently discovered they are all some part supernatural.
The Younglings gives us a witch, a half demon, a half angel and a dhampir (half vampire) full of angsty teen hormones and a demon nanny with snakes instead of hair – who completely steals the show for me, what an icon Mrs D is.
I love, love, loved that Craggs had chosen to include a dhampir into the story, as it is such a rare occurrence in fiction despite it being a really interesting piece of lore. Dhampir comes from Balkans folklore and is something I first came across back in the late 2000’s – 2007/2009 ish – in Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. A dhampir typically comes from the union of a male vampire and female human. There’s a level of history to the concept of Dhampirs that is fascinating and loved to see this included in The Younglings
The Younglings by Helena M Craggs was published 13th September and currently averages a 4.57 stars on Goodreads based on 35 ratings.
Helena M Craggs, an indie author, lives with her husband, son, two cats, chickens and three dogs in the beautiful hills of Yorkshire. She love crystals, Reiki and angels.
She has always been an avid reader and believes that there’s nothing better than snuggling down with a good book and visiting faraway lands. Of everything she has read she has a weakness for the freedom that fantasy offers.
The Younglings—Shadows & Magic is her first published book, and it is the result of a promise made to her sister before she passed: to publish one of my manuscripts.
The Younglings summary reads
Humans have no idea what lurks in the shadows. Mortals don't expect to see supernaturals. Their minds rarely consider the possibility, even when it's staring them right in the face. I was one such person...until I met my estranged father. Let me introduce myself. The name is Carter. Quinn Carter. A witty, laid-back, regular guy, who just happens to be half demon. Finding out Dad is a demon king was like a sucker punch to the gut. Seriously, I'm a total biological freak. Meeting him was the catalyst for my life tail-spinning into a new world - a world where things of legend are real. The one positive about this whole situation is the friends I have made. Good friends. But they too have secrets...big secrets. They're not exactly your average individuals. Turns out demons aren't the only paranormal creatures out there. I also need to mention a vampire ministry, evil stab-worthy demons, and troubled spirits stranded on the spectral plane. As a consequence, life for my friends and me became a tad problematic. Being heroes in the mortal realm hadn't been on anybody's to-do list, but we had no choice in the matter, and things were about to get very interesting.
Reading The Younglings was like taking a step back in time – in the best possible way. To a time when I rapidly read all the YA fantasy stories that I could get my hands on. The concept reminds me of the stories created in the height of the YA vampire era. The writing is definitely geared towards a younger audience and I have seen some reviews that have mentioned writing style but given that The Younglings is a YA novel with a 16 year old protagonist I think the writing style suits the narration.
Breaking down the review
World-building: 4 /5
World-building can be hard with urban fantasy as you are overlaying a story into a pre-existing world/city with little to no changes. That being said, I think Craggs does a great job at building a world needed to tell the story that she wants by creating separate planes for different supernatural activities and a vampire ministry? Inspired.
Craggs takes the world that we currently live in and adjusts it to melt seamlessly into the world that she is creating.
Pace: 3 /5
I am not sure how I felt about the pace ? The story was fast paced but yet, for me, also slow. I am not sure how to explain it. Quinn, the main character, quite quickly accepts his half demon status with little to no question. The same goes for his friends. And then we, the reader, are thrown directly into story and the action follows suit.
I think that I understand why the pace is this way. The target audience who read YA enjoy fast paced stories and don’t often have the attention span for slow starts. Which I totally get, if I was younger then I’d never have picked up on pacing as it never occurred to me until I got a little older.
There were points I did wonder if the characters were gonna take a minute to decompress but truthfully. That’s just the adult in me talking who needs regular naps after anything even slightly too tough.
Romance: 3.5 /5
Idiots in love? Friends to lovers? Angel and Demon? Need I say more?
It’s the love story that you expect but aren’t mad about because they are too busy pretending they aren’t in love for so long that you end up rooting for them.
And LGBT representation within the group of main characters? Amazing.
Overall: 4 /5
I had great fun reading The Younglings, it took me back to a time when reading was effortless and not something that I squish in after a long day at work. It is a quick read full of all the supernatural things that we love to read. I cannot wait to see where Craggs takes this group of loveable oddballs.
Thank you to Helena & Kelly, from Lovebookstours, for sending me a copy! I wish Helena all the success her debut novel and upcoming audio book!
The Younglings can be purchased here on both kindle and paperback.
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