*Map of Days by Robert Hunter - ★★★★★, 5/5I was very kindly sent this book last month by the lovely people at NoBrow; I've read The New Ghost by Robert Hunter and I adore his art style so I definitely wanted to give this a go. It's a hardback graphic novel with minimal text and it has his gorgeous, unique illustrations throughout - some of which are spread across two pages so they look stunning! It follows a young boy and his grandad through a creation style story in an almost magical world. The story and themes reminds me of another graphic novel I received from NoBrow 'A Graphic Cosmogony' which contains numerous creation stories as well as gorgeous illustrations from a range of artists including Robert Hunter. I love graphic novels, especially when they're as gorgeously published as this one is, in between bigger, heavier reads and they are perfect for getting out of reading slumps.
*Incendium by A.D Swanston - ★★★★☆, 4/5I have a proof/ARC copy but the cover on Amazon looks like it's going to be the same which is great as I just adore the cover and it definitely drew me in; however, from the description and the book title I thought it would be about Guy Fawkes but it isn't *maybe I was reading too much into the cover*. I was kindly sent this book from Penguin Random House, it's categorised on Amazon as a historical mystery thriller and it's 416 pages.
The story follows Christopher Radcliffe who is an intelligencer to the Earl of Leicester during a volatile time in English or well, European history while Queen Elizabeth I is on the throne. Attempts on the queens life are a consistent problem as are the plots to get Mary Queen of Scots on the throne instead along with a catholic uprising and an attack from the Spanish which causes all kinds of problems for Christopher, his intelligencers and the men in charge of the safety of the queen, keeping the peace in protestant England and the running of the country.
I loved the premise as I adore history, particularly european history so I knew the topic alone would keep me interested but the writing did too as it's very quick and easy to follow even though it's written in an old fashioned style - not the style of the time as then it would have a similar language to shakespeare's plays and it doesn't which is a good thing!
I liked the main character as well as Isaac, Tomasso and Rose but others such as Katherine (Christopher's love interest) were just so annoying for the most part as was the Earl of Leicester. Even though we do find out about most of the characters and you see all they go through, I felt like I was held at arms length from all of the characters so I didn't form any kind of connection sadly but I did want to keep reading to find out what ultimately happens.
The story progressed at a great pace to keep me interested and invested to find out what happens at the end (which was quite predictable) and I loved the setting of Elizabethan London and France. I loved the adventures and the politics but the main point I didn't like about this book was the travelling - I know characters have to move from place to place but all Christopher seemed to be doing was moving from his home to the palace, to the market, to Katherine's house, to prisons or France then back to his home (repeat that over and over) which was quite tedious towards the end so I think it would translate well to a TV mini series or even an action packed, gory film!
Overall, I would definitely recommend both books, for very different reasons! If you want a colourful, endearing graphic novel then pick up Map of Days by Robert Hunter or if you want an action packed, historical mystery with political elements then check out Incendium by A.D Swanston; it has a few flaws but I'd still recommend it. If you want to see my thoughts as I'm reading or what I'm currently planning to read then let's be friends on GoodReads!
What have you been reading recently? Do you have any favourite book genres?