Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks

Title: The Hermetica of Elysium

Author:  Annmarie Banks

Published: Knox Robinson Publishing, 8 December 2011

Pages: 400

Series: Book 1, Elysium Texts Series

First Line: " 'Nadira! Quickly! Get up!' "

Summary: 1494 Barcelona. As Torquemada lights the fires of religious fervor throughout the cities of Spain, accused heretics are not the only victims. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering in the Renaissance. 

Nadira lives a dreary life as servant to a wealthy spice merchant until the night a dying scholar is brought to the merchant’s stable, beaten by mercenaries who are on the hunt for The Hermetica of Elysium. To Nadira, words are her life: she lives them as her master’s scrivener and dreams them in her mother’s poetry. She is pursued as passionately as the fabled manuscript for her rare skill as a reader of Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic and Hebrew that makes her valuable to men who pursue the book to exploit its magic. 

Kidnapped by Baron Montrose, an adventurous nobleman, she is forced to read from the Hermetica. It is soon revealed to her that ideas and words are more powerful than steel or fire for within its pages are the words that incite the Dominicans to religious fervor, give the Templars their power and reveal the lost mysteries of Elysium. 

As Nadira begins her transformation from servant to sorceress, will she escape the fires of the Inquisition, the clutches of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI and the French king, Charles VIII? And will Montrose’s growing fear of her powers cause her to lose her chance for love?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: When I first started The Hermetica of Elysium I was really enjoying it.  It was a sort of historical mystery and it had a lot of fantasy elements that I found to be quite intriguing.

I liked Nadira, she was very intelligent and an interesting character.  I have to say though that there was a bit of a jump in her character.  One minute she was a certain way and the next she changed really dramatically and I hadn't really picked up on that change from the surroundings so I found it a little hard to follow.

I found the story line to be really intriguing.  I wanted to know more about this book, what it does and why everyone covets it.  There are definitely some very mysterious elements in there.

I also liked the magic.  It wasn't there very much but it was there enough.

The one thing that I didn't really like was that I felt the plot kept going around in circles and it got a little repetitive.

Some of the characters were really cool too.  I liked both William and Montrose as I thought they were both unique to the story and added their own sort of voice into the story.

Overall, I though that The Hermetica of Elysium wasn't too bad.  I think if you like fantasy novels set in a historical setting then you would enjoy this book. 

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