Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thyla by Kate Gordon

Tessa has no idea who she is or where she came from - all she knows is that her name is Tessa and that she was found in the bush in Tasmania.  Some things come easily to memory, the fact her name is Tessa (definitely Tessa), she can speak, she can understand what others around her are saying (mostly), but she can't remember where she came from, or where the scars across her back came from.  With the support of a policewoman named Connolly, Tessa moves to a local private school where she quickly finds herself on the outside, outcast except for a few new friends who seem just as strange as she is.  One night she makes a startling discovery about her world, one which quickly unravels the mystery of her existence, but will it happen quickly enough to save her life and the lives of those around her?

This is an interesting book, starting in an unusual way that is almost off-putting, but in the end it is a breathless ride that is almost impossible to put down.  Told in the loose form of a journal, Tessa's story flows as if it were written, so when she makes a discovery about her past/present you discover it at the same time, making the story seem particularly real and vivid.  The characters around her are fleshed out only slightly in some cases, but again that adds to the realism of the story which is told firmly from Tessa's side, and if she doesn't know anything about some of the characters then how can she share that with Connolly (and the reader)? 

Set in Tasmania, Australia, the cast is small and intimate, and Kate Gordon has taken a fresh new approach to the idea of shapeshifters and what is essentially lycanthropy.  Telling too much here would potentially ruin some of the story for the reader, but let me just say that there is a promised sequel and I will be reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.  Gordon has written a well crafted story here that is a real treat to read once you get used to the style it is written in.  Don't expect ruggedly handsome vampires or werewolves here in the style of Twilight, this is a real treasure in the minefield that is supernatural teen fiction at the moment.  Thyla is gripping and keeps you gripped in the story, and I hope that more people discover this novel so they too can enjoy the world of Tessa and the secrets that surrond her.

If you enjoy this book then try:
  • Night runner by Max Turner
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The demon trappers daughter by Jana Oliver
  • Burn bright by Marianne de Pierres
  • Subject seven by James A. Moore
  • Marked by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast

Reviewed by Brilla

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