ZOOLOO'S BOOK TOURS | UMBRATE BY A.D.JONES
Today, I join the wonderful
Welcome to Dalton
Home to Humans, Dwarves, Elves and the shadowy Umbral Populace.
Detective Vanic Bradley works hard to keep the peace, coming down hard on the criminal underbelly of the city.
After putting his life on the line multiple times in recent weeks, all he wanted was a day off work to spend time with his son, and re-evaluate his place in the world - but forces beyond his control have other ideas.
For reasons unknown, he will find himself in a race against time as two hundred innocent citizens become collateral damage in a murderous plot centred around him.
When you take your kid out to the zoo, the last thing that you expect is to be taken hostage in a shopping mall with your child and a group of other people.
That’s what happens to Detective Vanic Bradley, otherwise know as Van to his friends, or The Lamplighter to the criminal underground who he fights on a daily basis in his job as a police officer, when he takes his young son to the zoo one day.
Now I must say that I knew absolutely nothing about this book going into it. In fact, I didn’t een read the blurb about the book and I just dove straight in.
Reading the prologue at the beginning of the book, I thought that this was going to be classic fantasy, and indeed the prologue is indeed classic fantasy. However, as a reader, I was soon disabused of this idea by the first chapter, when the setting moves to a modern-day city scape, populated by Elves, Dwarfs, Humans and Umbrals.
Now I must say that I liked this book immensely. It was like Jack Reacher meets urban fantasy, with a classic fantasy aesthetic.
What I mean by that is that whilst there is this urban fantasy velour on the service, look a little deeper you start to see classic fantasy come through, particularly when you get towards the end of the book and there is some form of party forming that involves the stereotypical party members.
However, it is done really subtly, and it is not until you stop and think about it for a moment that you realise that you are reading a classic fantasy book in a sense. It’s just that it is moved to an urban fantasy setting with modern edge.
The plot itself was pretty simple, detective arrests bad guys, bad guy threatens detective. Telling him he’s going to pay. Detective goes with his son to the zoo and subsequently finds himself at the middle of a murder that from first signs seems to be directed at him.
Whilst the plot is pretty typical thriller book fare, it is the addition of fantasy races that sets it apart. For some reason this mash up of genres seems to work.
The characters are good. The main character Vanic Bradley is pretty typical. However, he becomes richer when he meets one of the side characters, an umbral woman called Melda, the dwarf Jorhim and the elf Rith. There was a fantastic dynamic between these characters, particularly between Bradley and Melda.
In the midst of this there is a little discourse on our own biases and prejudices and how they can affect our views of others.
With it being quite a short book the pace is pretty fast paced and it increases in the second act of the book as we go into the hostage situation.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. Umbrate is one of those books where the mash up of genres shouldn’t work, but for some reason it does, and I hope that there are more stories set in this world.
A.D Jones lives in the North of England; where he spends his time favouring books over people and can be found writing or devouring said books to review online. He loves Cola, Twin Peaks, cult movies and all things horror. He dislikes the movie ‘The Karate Kid’ with a passion that burns brighter than the sun.