This review has taken rather a long time to make it's way onto the site. There is a reason for this, and it's a good one. Two days after buying this book, I found out that yes I was indeed going to interview Joe Hill in front of a live audience. This meant that there was no way I could do this book the service it deserved until I got that out of the way. So |Saturday morning I took the book down from the shelf and headed out to one of those places where I could fill my body live giving sugary coffee. Was the wait worth it? Well you're just going to have read on......
With Black Feathers, Joseph makes a subtle shift from writing ecological themed horror, that entertained as well informed the reader about some important issues, to writing a Dark Fantasy coloured with the same passion and desire to educate the reader. Now this may sound like his books are preachy and full of self righteous anger, please believe me that this is not the case. You see Joe fully understands that the prime aim of a novel is to entertain, the fact that Joe will make you think at the same time is purely down to his talent as a writer.
Black Feathers, can be classed as a Dark Dystopian Fantasy. The story is told from two narrative view points, the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, and generations into the future in its aftermath, the Bright Day. In both of these eras a journey must be made to find a saviour, know only as The Crowman, however will he be our saviour, or our final destroyer.
Sometimes when novels are told from the viewpoint of two time zones one of the narrative threads tends to suffer, sometimes it feels as though one has been tagged on as filler. This is not the case here, both narratives have been written with vim and vigour, both of them have been developed, molded and polished into a living and breathing worlds connected The Night Country, which is the vivid dreamscape conjured by the mind of Megan, the heroine of The Bright Day world.
So we have a brilliant pair of worlds for our story to inhabit, what we need now is a pair of protagonists to carry the story. It's a good thing that Joe knows how to write a cracking pair of heroes as well. Our first hero Gordon, is introduced at the start the book, in a vivid and tense chapter that describes the entry in our world, and the early years of this dark haired and eye.
Counterpoint to Gordon is Megan, who has been selected as the apprentice to the wonderful Mr Keeper. She is to become the world's first female Keeper, and must leave behind everything she knows in the pursuit of this task.
Both of these characters are vividly drawn and come fully to life within the story. Supporting Megan and Gordon is a cast of wonderful characters, the aforementioned Mr Keeper is a fantastic eccentric character who lights up the page whenever he appears, there is also a fantastic villain in Skelton, who like the best of fictional baddies is rotten to the core.
Black Feathers is a triumph of a novel, D'Lacey has produce a book that is epic in it's themes, while at the same time manages to be a very personal story about our lead characters. The way in which D'Lacey intertwines his thoughts on such themes as the environment, and the end of days is a joy to read.
This is a riveting read and hopefully it will be the book that finally see Joe reach the huge audience he so rightly deserves.