Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good.
There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents’ house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter. A policeman, Jacob Berger, has questions about a cold case. There are threatening phone calls. And a shadowy young man named Shift appears, bringing his shadows with him. Taryn, Jacob, Shift – three people are driven towards a reckoning felt in more than one world.
The Absolute Book is an epic fantasy, intimate in tone. A book where hidden treasures are recovered; where wicked things people think they’ve shaken from their trails find their scent again. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell’s Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.
It is so rare that I read a book that has me left in tears and astounded by the time I have finished it, yet I also want to start it all over again because I am POSITIVE that I have missed things. The Absolute Book is one of those books. At 653 pages it is not a small book. I can also say not a word is wasted.
Knox has jammed in as much plot as she can possibly muster and then some more. If this book had anymore plot the spine would burst and we would all be swallowed into its story. That would not be a bad thing if you ask me.
An intelligent book full of wisdom and lessons, tough love and heartache, it puls you in with whimsical prose and beautifully flawed characters. It is made even more enjoyable because it’s not showing off. Often these great fantastical tomes show off their world-building or the grandiose verbosity of the author.
As many have mentioned this is a book about recovery above all things and at the end of it, a great wound has healed upon my own heart. One that I wasn’t even aware was festering. I cried I hurt, I felt frustrated at Taryn or annoyed at Jacob, but overall I loved the world Knox has built.
My only complaint is that I will never again get to read this book again for the first time.
I give The Absolute Book 5 out of 5 stars.
*Note I have recently after much consideration decided that I can no longer in good faith link to Amazon or Book Depository. Please check out your local bookstore or shop locally.