A good fantasy debut with all sorts of twists
I’ve been trying to decide where to start with this review and I’m still not sure, so I’ll start with what matters most: I liked this book a lot. It’s a debut and I’m very much looking forward to the author’s future stories.
I usually try not to say too much about what the book is about, just enough to whet potential readers’ appetite, but I’ll write a tad more in this review. Fear not, however, I’m not spoiling anything, everything I mention happens in the first pages (and figures in the official blurb too).
Raised in the Royal City slums by a mother she’s not keen on ever seeing again, Scratch Keyes wasn’t sure she’d ever amount to anything. Yet here she is, at twenty-five, a Sergent Major in the King’s Guard, about to be knighted as a reward for a brilliant strategy in the latest battle. The night takes an unexpected turn when the King doesn’t mention her, she gets high with the Princess, and ends the night in the dungeon with her best friend James, sentenced to death without trial for the abduction of the aforementioned princess. A mysterious woman breaks them out of jail and takes them to her siblings, Shovel and Umbrella Shae, who proceed to explain that the already absurd circumstances are indeed even more complex. Scratch and James have no choice but to follow Vel and Brella to the Between and further in a quest to save the Princess. Maybe. Probably? The Shaes obviously aren’t telling the whole truth, and Scratch doesn’t trust them farther than she could throw them (which is actually quite far for such a tiny being).
Like Scratch, I kept being surprised while I was reading. Whenever I thought I knew where the journey was taking me, there were twists. Breger created a fascinating world, both familiar and magical. Scratch and Brella are layered and lovable, as is James. I wish Vel had been a little more developed, but I guess choices have to be made and the main relationship is between Scratch and Brella, the guys are just along for the ride. Both Brella and Scratch learn major lessons on their journey, there’s real character growth. The ending is at once satisfying and open, which leads me to hope for a sequel someday.
All in all, Walk Between Worlds is a very promising (and funny, did I mention funny?) debut novel.