Alana is a Cantati, an enhanced magical human, one of the few who were born after the Mutari, when the demons broke down the barriers between their world and ours and unleashed their fury.
Now there’s only a few remnants of humanity left and she is one of their defenders – in the last days at the end of a losing war. Faced with extinction they have once chance – to send Alana back before the demons broke through and stop it, for the sake of humanity.
But when she returns to the past she finds herself with far less time than she thought she’d have and only a few cryptic clues to follow as the Mutari ticks ever closer. And there’s another figure, Gaelen, who knows about the demons and is looking for the same clues she is – but can she trust his agenda?
Oh dear, it’s one of those. Ok, before I sharpen my knives, it’s time to think of something nice to say. So here we go – the concept, the idea of demon gates giving people magic, of the different realms, of all the world building that was eventually revealed in painfully long info-dumps – is actually kind of interesting, This would be a fun world to play in and an interesting world to tell a whole load of stories with.
Alas, instead of those fascinating stories, we got this one.
This book is set primarily in the UK and mainly in London. Alana was born in London after the apocalypse (I can’t imagine travel was particularly easy in the dystopian world after the fact either). Yet she’s American… her accent is taken as American, her word usage is American, her thoughts point to an American… I find this rather bemusing
Almost as much as the Britain she describes. I would advise against ordering “biscuits” for breakfast in the UK, you may be served cookies. Or just be regarded with odd confusion. I don’t know where she’s finding Grand Central Station in London; London has over 300 stations, Grand Central isn't one of them. And I can’t even begin to guess at the accent transcribed here it’s like cockney meets Scottish with a side order of Dick Van Dyke – and it’s the same whether she’s in London or Scotland or Cambridge. She goes shopping in “malls” (not shopping centers), she manages to go into shops and stock up on guns quite easily.
The writing is also really clumsy – it’s scattered with hugely long winded monologues for the world building. Or because the author’s suddenly remembered that Alana has just watched everything she knows and loved die so we have a page or so of angry angst… then she gets on with things. It’s like flipping a switch, I can almost hear the author saying “oh shit, she’s supposed to be sad”.
We have some really rammed in staccato sentences and then some lines like this:
“With the dimensions open, humanity regained the magic that had been lost to the ages. This new breed of humans had been thusly named the Cantati”.
‘Thusly?’ Aside from freaky archaic word use, that would imply some explanation for the name – like the name would naturally follow from the explanation. So “thusly named Wizards.” Or Sorcerers. Or Magic Folk rather than a word that sounds like Italian singers.