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Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Book Review

October 3, 2017

Under the Pendulum Sun

The Victorians have discovered Arcadia, the land of the Fae, and have sent missionaries to convert these godless people. When Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, goes missing in Arcadia, Catherine sets out to find him. It is a journey beset with peril, no less because of the attentions the siblings attract from the Queen of the Fae.

I usually become increasingly irritated by novels recreating a the voice of a Victorian heroine. But Jeannette Ng, has got a wonderful feel for the preciousness of a genteel woman of that age, who must gather up her skirts and stride boldly out into the unknown.

Certainly the author gives the impression of having absorbed the culture of this era, while adapting it to a modern fantasy. Throughout the book there are echoes of novels of the mid 1800’s. One scene from Jane Eyre is particularly significant and woven brilliantly into what has gone before, and is only one instance where the reader begins to realise they are in for an interesting time. The writing is elegant, laced with a perceptively wicked humour, at times very steamy, and rippling with an undercurrent of the diabolically sinister. There is a constant discomfort of something being off (or in the case of the Fae’s interpretation of cow hide seats, downright wrong).

This is a book where the author messes with your mind and expectations, as much as the Queen of the Fae does with the brother and sister, particularly where Catherine is concerned and the conclusions she comes to as the book weaves its convoluted way through the plot.

Definitely a book which deserves more than one reading to get the most out of how Jeannette Ng has subverted the Gothic novel and given it a fresh lease of life.

Under the Pendulum Sun was courtesy of Angry Robot via NetGalley

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