Resonance by Celine Kiernan

July 28, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Resonance by Celine KiernanResonance by Celine Kiernan
Published: April 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Goodreads BooktopiaBookworld
4 Stars

What does it mean to be alive? What is it worth to stay alive?

Ireland, 1890: two ruthless immortals prowl the theatre district in search of food for their 'Angel'. Ancient, pitiless and caring for none but their own twisted family, they will stop at nothing to maintain their grip on life.

A seamstress, the young man who loves her and a penniless American magician soon find themselves imprisoned in a snow-bound country estate, the latest additions to the family's warped collection. Here, they are nothing but food, nothing but entertainment, and soon they will be nothing at all.

Far from their homes and fighting for survival, Tina, Joe and Harry will come to understand that far more is at stake than their lives.

Resonance is a smorgasbord of delights, offering gothic fantasy, historical fiction, and horror in one 450 page novel that will readers spellbound. It certainly gripped me – I read it one sitting on a Sunday afternoon.

I admittedly spent most of that afternoon in a state of confusion – Resonance is one of those books where you have no clear idea about what’s going on until 100 pages from the end – but I didn’t care because I was having so much fun. The 19th century gothic setting, the wonderful characters, and the sheer mystery of it all had me enthralled.

The three main protagonists – Tina, a seamstress, Joe, a stable boy, and Harry, an American magician – breathe life into this story. I loved getting to know them, loved witnessing them navigate the creepy and mysterious world they suddenly found themselves in, loved watching them grow. I thought Cornelius and Vincent, the two immortals who brought them into this world, were darkly thrilling and unexpectedly likeable, but I wanted to know about Raquel. I feel that I only got to know her through the biased eyes of the other characters, and I think she had one of the most interesting stories of the cast.

This novel is mostly set on an isolated country-side estate in Ireland, but the action begins in the streets of Dublin, where the three protagonists meet. Both are gorgeously and vividly realised, and I had no trouble imagining the mansion and its surrounds.

Resonance is a fast-paced story but it sometimes feels slow because readers are kept clueless for so long (I tend to associate pace with revelations/plot reveals). Kiernan spends a lot of time meticulously building up the mystery and leaving us clues, which I liked but there will be readers who get fed up of it.

I really enjoyed Resonance. I can’t talk a lot about it because it’s essential that readers go into it blind. Take my world for it though – it’s worth it. I’ve waited a long time to read something by the author of the Moorehawke Trilogy, and Resonance did not disappoint!

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