Title: This Crumbling Pageant
Author: Patricia Burroughs
Publisher: Story String Publisher
Release Date: May 2014
Length: 608 pages
Series?: The Fury Triad #1
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian(ish)
Source: CBB Promotions
Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.
England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.
The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society – only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.
But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy, embrace her Dark magic, and seize her own fate.
Be swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.
Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway
This book is something else. I was pushing myself to read this book – for a long time in the beginning the book drags. Burroughs is not one for giving things away – or really giving sly hints, which frustrated me. The narration was very lengthy and the descriptions very wordy, but it was written beautifully – in the way my sixth graders talk and reference the older time periods when we read things by Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald: They were much smarter than us…or they just sound like they are. I felt very limited in what knowledge I was gaining of the characters, plot and setting.
It wasn’t until the half-way mark that the plot started picking up speed and I felt that I was getting more of the picture revealed, and Burroughs did this purposefully. Things really started taking off, and I continuously kept re-evaluating my opinions of the characters and the predictions I was making because I started to realize that the perceptions that Persephone has grown up with for 18 years, what she held as true and valued, might not be what it appeared to be.
The novel begins with Persephone at a young age. She is born into the Fury family, who all seem to be blessed with magical musical talent. Some of the Fury siblings have various magical talents that prove beneficial and important in the novel.
Persephone is a twin, and long-cursed to have stolen her twin brother’s magic while in the womb. She lives with this nasty upset, and is always mindful of the rumors. Her twin, Dardanus, is very sweet, but truly lacks magical powers. He is, however, able to calm Persephone with a simple touch. An older sibling is also gifted as a Seer, which none take too seriously at first…until Persephone is rescued by a man with hair of flame, Sir Robin, who casts an approving eye on Persephone’s older and beautiful sister Electra. Robin’s rescue comes as a wonderful gift, and he becomes a close friend of the Fury family, and Persephone holds him in the highest regard, even if he is only a baronet.
This novel is set in a time when societal pressures and demands are the strongest of sway in matters and concerns of the utmost importance and the most banal and trivial. The Furys have never been ones to flaunt themselves at Court and to the Ton, but when they so deem they can throw a ball that will be remembered for a long time to come.
The novel shifts forward in time from young Persephone’s rescue to around her 17th year, when she is coming out to the Ton at her very own ball. There are some tidbits of the missing years thrown in, and two very important details that comes back to haunt the Fury family. All of these actions are put in motion at Persephone’s ball.
Persephone must maintain the proper social etiquette and follow the expectations of her family and her Crown, which is hard to do when her heart wants one thing and she is rigidly expected to do another. She has stronger powers than she, or anyone else, knows what to do with. Even though she has amazing magical ability, she is expected to follow the traditional gender role: go onto the marriage market, marry well politically, raise a family. But Persephone is most unique, and I knew right off that was not something that was up her alley. She is not a girl to daydream about wistful and silly girl things; she is a girl bent on seeking knowledge and learning.
…and then she gets kidnapped and plunged into a world of Dark magic…
She comes face to face with her brothers’ former tutor, who denied her knowledge and access to learning in his classroom. Needless to say, Persephone still carries this grudge around with her and this conflict between them is a driving force for most of the novel. Persephone’s carefully crafted world, the honorable aura that clings to all her family holds in high regard, is about to come crumbling down around her – and she must rely on a very unlikely source to go against all she’s known.
I am still not sure I have a firm grasp of the various terms Burroughs used: Fireborn, Earthborn, Magi, Quality and Ordinary. Persephone and her family live in a Magi world, a clone of Earth, just in magical, hidden form from ordinary humans. Her great ancestor, a lowly and uncommon man, ensured that the Magi people would be safe after Christians began their persecutions and witch hunts in England, and Bardan Fury was the man who made the king, the Pendragon lineage to take hold of this new and secret world. The Magi can go back and forth between the Magi world and the Ordinary world, but with a few magical stipulations. Quality kept being referred to as those of the upper classes in the novel, which is a strong societal structural characteristic throughout the book. I do not know how to explain Earthborn and Fireborn, except that Earthborn are Ordinary people with no magical powers. I was not clear if Fireborn was a Fury-only thing, or if it applied to all who live in the Magi world.
Overall, this was a very good read. I wish, wish, wish I could share more, but it will unravel all of the carefully crafted work that Burroughs has done with this novel. It is written beautifully, and if you can get through the first half that drags like I did, you will find a gem of a read in this book. For the longest, I could not understand the connection between the title and the book, until things set into motion in the latter half. Then it made perfect sense.
The book ends with a very surprising twist and ends on a cliffhanger and I am very intrigued to get my hands on the next installment in this series.
About the Author
Award-winning screenwriter and best selling novelist Patricia Burroughs loves dogs, books, movies, and football. A lifelong Anglophile, she treasures her frequent travels in the British Isles researching The Fury Triad, the epic fantasy that has taken over her life and heart. She and her high school sweetheart husband are living happily ever after in their hometown of Dallas, Texas.