Brotherhood of Shades
By Dawn Finch
Published by Authonomy
Reviewed by Jessica Patient
If you’ve exhausted the Harry Potter series and munched your way through the Hunger Games series then this book is for you. Dawn Finch’s debut fantasy adventure novel, Brotherhood of Shades is full of ghosts battling to save the world from evil forces.
A brotherhood of ghosts, set up during Henry VIII’s reign, make sure the recent dead can pass over to the next world and to make sure dangerous spirits do not rise up and take over the world. Toby D’Scover, a founding member of the brotherhood, believes a recently dead, homeless boy, Adam Street is the sentinel. The ancient texts, written in code that only D’Scover can decipher, proclaim of an event where evil forces will rise up to take control of the human world but the sentinel will defeat these creatures. D’Scover has waited a long time for the Sentinel to turn up and has had to grow with the times. Nowadays, he travels through computer connections to get to new locations.
There are occasions where the plot is slightly repetitive and predicable in places (maybe I have read too many books) but Finch makes sure that the plot develops quickly as well as using different time lines to stir up the main action. Brotherhood of Shades covers the British Museum from today and goes all the way back to the time when the plague was spreading across the country and the Great Fire of London was erupting. The set up of the world within Brotherhood of Shades reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, where London is the same except for subtle differences. There is another world operating just outside of our eyesight. The book is well researched for its settings and it helps to make the novel more enjoyable.
This small novel explores complex issues – the thin line between good and bad and the way people can be both; the way faith (not always religious) can shape our lives. D’Scover is a good example of this. His (after) life has been devoted to finding the sentinel and the only thing keeping him searching has been his belief. Finch also explores the manipulation of trust and loyal within many of the novel’s friendships between the characters.
Finch creates interesting characters and must go on an internal journey of discovery as well as battle with physical demands. All of the characters must face up to their responsibility, take control of their own destiny and fight for what they believe in. There is the constant pull between good versus evil for the characters and it is easy to see how they could, potential, slip the other way. Edie, a witch that D’Scover and Adam track down to help with their quest, is my favourite character. She has appeared several times through out history and has able to take memories from one life with her into the next life as well as being able to read minds and predict the future. Edie deserves a while novel to explore her back story.
Overall this is a great fantasy novel with lots of potential for a sequel or even a series of books.
Brotherhood of Shades