Aphra’s Child, by Lesley Glaister

img_3187First of all, many thanks to the publisher, Stirling Publishing, for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley, in exchange for a honest review.

Well that was a pleasant read!

First of the Chimera series, Aphra’s Child is a refreshing take on the enduring tale of how men treat those that are different from them, how they can reject and belittle those they have used, once this much needed working mass becomes numerous and eager for freedom and equality…

Petula has been living with her mother in a remote cottage for 16 years now. Having been told how dangerous the outside world is, she has not got any contacts with the outside world. Her universe ends at the edge of the woods that border their little farmyard. But one day, her mother is abducted. Now alone and ridden with worry, Tula must go to seek some help.

But Tula is naive and helpless. The outside world, especially the city, is an uncharted, incomprehensible territory to her. She soon finds herself entangled in other people’s greedy schemes and shady political matters.

I appreciated the fluidity of the writing, and it got even better in the second half of the story, when the intrigue really picked up.

Moreover, Tula is an engaging protagonist, albeit sometimes annoyingly gullible and impulsive, but these traits fit with the characters.

I found the plot exciting and well though of,  although maybe with too many coincidences that converge to help Tula along the way. Her adventures are entrancing and she encounters a gallery of colourful characters : the greedy businessman, the populist politician, the passionate activists… and the commoner who does not agree with the harsh discriminative policies in place or proposed, but still closes his/her eyes because it is safer than to protest. They all help her grow, somehow, and provide food for thought for the reader too.

I also enjoyed all the little clues and mysteries sown across the novel. Some find resolution in this first instalment, and other provide perfect teasers for the next. I am curious to see how Glaister ties everything up in the end.

All in all, Tula’s story is rich and thought provoking, and as we see her growing we also share her moral questionings. An enjoyable novel to put in young and adult hands alike. Read it if you are looking for a entertaining yet dark and clever story, that treats important matter with a well balanced tone.

Aphra’s child was released on October 12th.

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