Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I have to say, I just love Sarah Addison Allen's books. I think it's safe to say I'm a fan now. I will be picking up her latest book, The Girl Who Chased the Moon and then The Peach Keeper which is going to be released March 22, 2011. But first thing's first, my review of Garden Spells. This is part of the book flap description:
In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.
As I mentioned in my review of The Sugar Queen, I picked this up in the Barnes and Noble online bargain bin. It caught my eye because of the cover, and then I kept researching it because it was a southern fiction novel. Sarah Addison Allen has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and one that I'd actually keep track of new book releases.

I love the way she writes her characters. Sometimes I can't picture a character, can't fathom their motivation. Her characters are diverse and fleshed out. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the abilities she gives them too. In this one, passion causes one character's skin to burn things she touches. In one family, the women are amazing at sex and never have trouble holding onto a man. An older lady is seized with a compulsion to give people items that they always end up needing later. A hairstylist can cut hair to give people confidence and other qualities. It's truly amazing and original. As a chronic fantasy reader, it is very rare that I find any kind of original magic.

I don't really have anything negative to say about this book except I didn't enjoy the story in this one as much as I enjoyed The Sugar Queen. I really couldn't tell you why. I don't think I could relate to the characters as much, and the author really honed her style in The Sugar Queen. Other than that it was very enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to tackling the next two.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Stand-alone
Plot: 3.5 / 5
Setting: 4.5 / 5 
Characters: 4 / 5
Pace: Middlin' to Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: Magical Realism link


emmegailsbookshelf said...

I love all of SAA's books so far! I think of the three, Garden Spells is my favorite, maybe just because it was the first one I found. Love the blog! I'm adding you to my Google reader and blog sidebar! =)

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