July 23, 2009

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
Leisure Books (August 25, 2009)
320 pages (ARC is showing 324)
$6.99 (Amazon.com, 07/23/09)


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Plot: 5
Setting: 5
Writing: 5
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Passion: 5
Overall: 30/30 - 100% - A+!

Cover/Title Bonus: 4


Leanna Renee Hieber contacted me to see if I'd be interested in reviewing her upcoming release The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, a "Gothic Victorian Fantasy". I said sure after checking out her website.

Excerpt (author's website):

From the eternally dim shadows of the Whisper-world a voice resonated like a deep, angry bell tolling three o’clock: “Where. Is. She?”
“I’ve no idea, dear,” replied a softer, feminine voice. “Was I supposed to do something about her? I thought you’ve been looking all this time. While you’ve only just noticed, it’s been eighteen of their years. She could be anywhere. She’s not my responsibility, you know.”
The deep voice grunted. “Do. Something.”
The woman sighed, her fair skin glowing in the moonlight. Placing her hands to her coiled tresses atop her head, she found something sharp. With a hiss, she brought her thumbs back into view; their pricked pads sprouted thick, dark jewels, garnets that began to overflow and weep.
Lifting up her hands, she watched in fascination as the crimson trail spread from her thumbs onto her palms. She turned her hands one direction, then the other. “Hmm,” she said after a long moment.
“Well?” pressed the voice in the shadows.
“London,” she replied.
“Something wicked, then?” the voice gurgled.
The woman turned and smiled, nonchalant. “By all means, let the dog loose.”
There was a grinding of stone. A ferocious growl erupted from the deep, before a barking, snarling, ugly cloud leaped into the sky. It vanished into the shimmering portal opposite the shadows where the woman’s master stood brooding, a portal where now rose the Tower of London.
The voice tolled again from the shadows. “There will be hell to pay.”
I'm not a fan of this particular excerpt. It shows the darkest part of the book, which kinda scared me when I read it. I was afraid it was going to be too dark for my tastes but it's not nearly as dark as this passage makes it out to be. A lighter excerpt that I've chosen shows the true nature of this book, which is to show that true friends can be just as grand as a tight knit family.
Page 58 - 59 of the ARC:
"Something amusing?" he asked.
At the sound of his low, rich voice, the group looked up and shrieked, delighted. Elijah cried out the first notes of Beethoven's Fifth, unable to help himself. This did nothing for the others' composure. In fact, Michael, head thrown back in a wail of laughter, lost balance and fell from his chair. No on bothered to stand and greet their leader properly.
"You really should have your own personal orchestra, Alexi!" Elijah gasped for breath.
"'To be or not to be...!'" Michael wailed from the floor, waving an arm above him grandly.
"An appropriate theme for you, you must admit!" Elijah continued, offering Alexi a sharp-toothed grin.
Rebecca, flushed, stood with an uneven breath and handed Alexi the sherry bottle with its dusty ribbon tied lopsided around the neck. "Professor, your prize. I acquiesce to your eminence and superiority--sir," she stated with a curtsey. There was a hint of a smile as she did so, however, and Josephine masked a sputtering giggle with a cough.
That scene is one of the best of the book.
Here's the book trailer:


Plot:
Wow. This book's plot was perfect. It had a true beginning, middle and end. It was very well planned out with all elements of a story line being touched on perfectly. The story centers around a young women new to the Athens school who is unlike anyone else. She's ghostly pale and covers her eyes with shades and wraps her head and neck in scarves and wears long gloves. There's a group of six that are charged with keeping spirits at ease. They are on a mission to find their seventh member.

Setting:
The setting is grand! Most of the story takes place in Athens Academy located in 1888 London, England. The school is massive with wings named after the different Greek Gods and Goddesses. It's also set around the time when the Ripper murders were going on.

Writing:
Leanna wrote Miss Percy's Tale beautifully, hence the title of the book! I love that it was written in third person point of view. The reader is able to get a much clearer picture of what's going on and that's important with this book because so much is going on. If this were written solely from Percy's POV a lot of this story would have been lost and completely misunderstood. Everything flowed very well in this story and the writing. I did not have any hick ups at all.

Originality:
This story is completely original. Of course I've read stories of people seeing ghosts, a girl in a new school but not anything like this one was written. Percy's story is truly remarkable. It's about finding one's self, over coming obstacles both physically and mentally and of course over coming fear and accepting love.

Characters:
Percy Parker is the main character. She's truly unique seeing as she sees ghosts, has the fairest skin, hair, and eyes ever imagined yet holds remarkable beauty. She's skilled in many languages but horrible in mathematics, which has her in one on one tutoring sessions with none other than the remarkably handsome Professor Alexi Rychmond.

Alexi is the leader of The Guard (I think that's what it was called!), a group of 6 individuals with special powers to police unruly spirits. Their life mission is to find their seventh member to forever rid the world of the war between heaven and hell? Or at least the "Darkness" and the The Guard. The group include: Alexi, Rebecca (Headmisstress of Athen's Academy), Michael, Josephine, Elijah and Jane.

Percy makes friends with a German student named Marianna. There's also another character in the loop and her name is Lucille Linden.

Passion:
Percy is intoxicated by Professor Alexi Rychmond. Percy suffers from visions, basically daydreams, much more often when she's around him and he of course notices in his class. When the tutoring sessions start Percy is overcome with emotions and gratitude that the Professor is willing to help her, one of such fair skin. She thinks she's ghastly and that no one would willingly subject themselves to her any longer than necessary. However, Alexi is drawn to her but he just doesn't realize it! The passion with this couple is remarkable. It's written so gently that towards the end of the book the scenes are so tangible with the passion it's nearly maddening!

I was pleasantly surprised by the love story within this book. It's one of the best aspects of the book and it was handled with great care and detail. Very well done.

Overall:
I loved this book. I've had a very busy week this week but I didn't want to put this book down! I stayed up late last night trying to finish it but alas my eyes did not cooperate and I had to finish it tonight when I got home from my externship. Towards the middle of the book it's nearly nonstop action packed, which is an element of a book that I really enjoy.

Cover/Title:
Eh, I like the title but it is very lengthy, which isn't a huge deal but it's a mouthful! The title fits because I honestly don't know what else to call it! Maybe "The Guard of Miss Percy Parker" or "The Guard of Percy Parker".

The cover is pretty vague though. You can tell it's London and the glowing blue orb is cool, but it's a little mute. I would have loved to have seen the glowing blue feather with the seal of Athen's Academy. And even a ghostly female face somewhere on it would have helped. But with a title as long as this one, the cover is bound to be all font.

Connect with Leanna Renee Hieber:
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Pre-order this book from Amazon.com.

This book is recommended to anyone who loves fantasy. Historical fantasy especially.
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4 comments:

Lenore on July 24, 2009 at 3:59 AM said...

Yay! Very happy you enjoyed it so much. Maybe I should read it after all ;)

Chris on July 24, 2009 at 5:57 AM said...

great review, very well written..

Mishel on July 31, 2009 at 3:32 PM said...

Great review Jess! I'll be reading and reviewing this one soon and I'm just so glad you liked it =)

Leanna Renee Hieber on August 20, 2009 at 4:40 PM said...

Just dropping by to thank you again for this review, Dorchester and I have certainly gotten mileage out of it! :) It's fun to see the review popping up as it's getting linked to others, I very much appreciate your support!

 

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