Reading Level: Middle Grade
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Crowfield Abbey series
Rating: 3/5 stars
I was excited to read this book, it looked like an excellent middle grade historical fantasy with some creepiness added. It ended up being okay, but I had some trouble engaging with both the story and the characters. There is a second book in the series called The Crowfield Demon.
Will is sent to live at Crowfield Abbey after his parents die. There he works in the kitchen for the monks. While in the forest one day he hears a cry for help and discovers a hobgoblin, apparently Will has the Sight and can see the Fey. When some strange visitors show up at the Abbey, Will is drawn into a mystery involving a buried angel and some evil Fey.
I had a lot of trouble reading this book, but I also had a lot of trouble figuring out exactly why. The book is a quick read and the storyline is interesting. The book is kind of creepy and very much a historical fantasy mystery of sorts.
I found Will to be a very uninspiring character. He just came across as very dull to me, the only thing that made him really stand out from anyone else was the fact that he had the Sight. I just had a lot of trouble engaging with him as a character.
The story also lacked description, so the scenes never really came alive. I had trouble picturing the settings and again trouble engaging with the story. The whole thing was just told in a very dry way.
I did find the story intriguing. It was interesting how the monks put religious beliefs toward explanations of their fey neighbors. The story wasn’t completely predictable and there is some interesting world building going on.
Overall this was an okay read. The story is interesting enough, but it is told in a very dry way and the characters were hard to engage with. By the time I finished reading the story I forgot it, it was just that kind of book…a very forgettable read. I will not be reading the sequel to this series. I was kind of hoping that this would be a book similar in tone to The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, but that series is much better than this one.