Sunday, January 17, 2010

YA Review: Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann

A story of murder, betrayal and other family traditions.

It is the nineteenth century and as the British Empire begins its slow collapse, huge business empires are beginning to take its place. One of the most powerful is controlled by the Wildenstern family.

When Nate Wildenstern's eldest brother, Marcus, dies in suspicious circumstances, Nate suspects foul play - for this is a family that has grown rich through ruthless ambition, whose members are trained from childhood in the arts of assassination and conspiracy. They have supernatural resilience and healing abilities and many live for more than a century. Others die early. In the Wildenstern family, it is considered acceptable to murder in order to advance your position.

Nate's investigations bring him into conflict with his sister-in-law, Daisy, his remaining brother, Roberto, as well as living machines, Fenian rebels, his implacable father, a host of hostile conspiring relatives and the thugs who do their dirty work. But when a disaster uncovers the mummified remains of four of their ancestors, the family divides along new lines and the struggle for power takes a new and horrible turn... (summary from author's website)

Follow this link to read the first part of the book.

My thoughts... This is the kind of book that no matter you age, grabs you and doesn't let go until the end.  The 18 year old hero finds himself in bad situation when he has to prove his innocence in his brother's death while trying to avoid the family business.   While the story does not come out and say that the Wildenstern Family are vampires, they certainly have some traits such as long life spans and rapid healing, especially with gold.  Also, the country is full of engimals, which are a cross between engines and animals.  All the characters in the story are fun and very imaginative. 

Ancient Appetites takes place in a  post-famine Ireland in an alternate reality.  McGann did a brilliant job making this land believable and even a bit creepy.  There are several themes that set an undertone for the book including social class, race, sexuality,  and women's rights.  I think this book would be perfect for boys who like to read YA.  There is plenty of action, mystery and cool, inventive machines. 

The cons...I would have liked to learn more about the engimals.  They were an exciting part of the story. 

Cover LOVE?  While the cover is shiny, it didn't do it for me.  This would be something that I would not even pick up, but I am glad I read it.  Just goes to show you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. 

For more information about Oisin and his books,  visit his website

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like...
1. Small Minded Giants by Oisin McGann
2. The Wisdom of Dead Men by Oisin McGann
3. Strangled Silence by Oisin McGann

*Disclaimer-This book was provided by the publisher for my honest review.


samantha.1020 said...

This sounds like such an interesting read. I've never heard of this author before so I'm going to have to check out the other books that he has written as well. Thanks for sharing your great review!

Becky said...

Sounds like this a well-developed fantasy. I still need to read a book by this author. Interesting review.

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