Jasmyn by Alex Bell (book review).

August 29, 2017 | By | Reply More

‘Jasmyn’ by Alex Bell is a fairytale set in the modern world. The protagonist, Jasmyn, has just lost her husband, Liam, after a cerebral aneurysm, a year into their marriage. Struggling in her grief, Jasmyn is beset by strange occurrences. Black swans falling dead at Liam’s funeral. Her pictures with Liam changing with her face grotesquely distorted and Liam’s friend, Jaxom, threatens her to give him something Liam stole. Jasmyn is certain that Liam is no thief but, after her house is broken into, she tries to enlist the help of Liam’s brother, Ben.

He is initially reluctant to help Jasmyn, since there had been animosity between the brothers and he had been conducting his own investigations on Liam and Jaxom starting a year before his death. Ben has no choice but to include Jasmyn, as she is the only one who can help him verify his whereabouts. Liam was a writer and wrote about magical creatures, myths and fairytales. He had been on various research trips throughout the year they had been married but not to the places he had told Jasmyn. Liam had secretly been researching the myth of Swan Lake and Ludwig the Second of Bavaria.

Jasmyn and Ben travel to Germany to find out exactly what Liam had been doing and what is was that he was meant to have stolen. They travel to Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castle where they encounter a mysterious swan knight, protector of the swan princess, who urges them to return the object stolen by Liam. The object has powerful magic and is linked to Jasmyn and they need her to find it.

‘Jasmyn’ is a fairytale with swan knights, a swan princess and numerous faerie creatures. The search for the object takes Jasmyn and Ben to various real places in Europe. They visit the castles of King Ludwig and even go to the Ice Hotel in Sweden. It is rather easy to figure out most of the mysterious events in the book and there isn’t really much of a surprise until the end of the novel which finishes without really addressing a couple of important plot holes. Having said that, Alex Bell has taken the old fairytale of ‘Swan Lake’, and used both real history and geography to enhance the story. I very much enjoyed looking up the history of King Ludiwg and the places Jasym and Ben visited on their quest for the object.

Supreethi Salvam

August 2017

(pub: Gollancz, 2009. 303 page enlarged paperback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-575-08029-4)

check out website: www.orionbooks.co.uk

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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