Sunday, August 03, 2008

Book: The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins

Christine Starlight is living with her lover Jude in Berlin, where he is the guest of a wealthy arts patron, along with other artists Gerda, Pete and Fabyian. They are all housed in the same building, dubbed Hotel Mandy-Z after their patron Immanuel Zweigler who inhabits the top floors and is himself a sculptor. While grateful for his patronage, the artists and Christine all find Immanuel, Mandy for short, to be very strange and disconcerting. They spend much of their time trying to avoid him, he makes them so uncomfortable. The story is seasoned with excerpts of Mandy's memoirs, cluing us in to his true nature, though the artists believe he is harmless, if weird. He is anything but as they come to find out.

Christine lost her parents in a car wreck when she was a teenager. She survived the wreck but has lived with constant pain since. Heiress to a vast fortune, the Starlights were well known musicians, she decided not to access her fortune until she gets married. She seems plain next to the handsomeness of Jude, and Gerda at least suspects he is with her for her impending money, but Jude is much more complex.

Christine finds her way to the Autumn Castle accidentally one night when she bumps into a table in the dark, causing herself enough pain that she blacks out. She finds herself in a forest, where strangely she experiences no pain at all for the first time in years. She comes to learn that this land is far from a hallucination, and that presiding over it is Mayfridh, coincidentally the girl from next door, who had been kidnapped as a child when Christine and her parents lived in Berlin.

Intrigued at being reunited with her lost friend from the past, Mayfridh finally gets up enough courage to make a trip to the real world, encouraged by her counselor and friend, the shapeshifter Eisengrimm. Mayfridh is surprised to find that she LOVES the real world, all the colors and action, compared to the peaceful everyday sameness of her own world Ewigkreis, the faeryland.

Mayfridh's appearance in the real world causes much upheaval, and brings many dark secrets to light.

This story was not at all what I expected, and at first I wasn't sure that I liked it. At one point I even had to skip to the end to see if I could tell something that would make me want to keep going. I don't say this because it was bad, quite the contrary, I had to keep reading to find out! More it is because it was skillfully done that I felt so uncomfortable during it and, okay, I'll say it, creeped out in parts! LOL! I would label it as a fantasy suspense thriller, if there is such a thing.

Check out Kim Wilkin's websitehere where I see that she labels her own novels as supernatural thrillers, so there ya go! ;) Really, great book, because it kept me reading, even though I wasn't sure I wanted to, and I think that takes talent!

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