Anarchy is, like its predecessor, an absolutely outstanding read. Treadwell writes so uniquely that I can't think of anyone to compare him to. The best I can do is to suggest taking a large pinch of Charles de Lint, drizzling liberally with Stephen King and sprinkling with just a hint of Laini Taylor. If you think that sounds tasty, you'll love him. Promise.
Anarchy follows straight on from the end of Advent. If you've not read Advent yet, you definitely need to before picking this one up (and, why haven't you read it? It's amazing) as otherwise it's not going to make an ounce of sense. This was actually a huge plus for me because absolutely no time was wasted in recaps or summaries, which made a nice change. It's straight in and on with the story. I love that!
Initially, I have to confess, I missed Pendurra. Most of the first half of Anarchy is set in Northern Canada, and it's beautifully described and a nice contrast. But, I was missing Cornwall. I'm a chronic creature of habit, and much as I did enjoy the new setting and characters, Pendurra is the heart of the series for me. Getting back there at last was like coming home. Although the circumstances in which we return are so, so different to when we left.
Treadwell's Canadian characters are vividly imagined. I adored Jonas, and 'Goose' was fascinatingly complex. My only problem with her was that each time I read the name Goose my brain went 'Top Gun' and I could hear 'Take my breath away'. Every single time. My 80's obsessions aside, the female characters are written brilliantly. Really, genuinely brilliantly. Forget any of the usual crap by those supposed 'kick-ass' heroine devotees that both YA and the fantasy genre are so riddled with, Treadwell writes fully three dimensional heroines bursting with soulful, heartfelt, emotional complexity. It completely blows my mind that this is, technically, fiction for older teens. It's the perfect antidote to all those YA authors who dumb everything down and write at the lowest common denominator. This, this is YA you can be stupidly proud of your kids reading. And make sure you borrow it after them.
As with Advent, pacing is going to be a bit of a love it or hate it situation here. If you like a slow burn to your fiction, and you enjoy scenes bursting with detail, characters heavy with emotion, and you like the idea of a steady build of cleverly understated menace, you will love Anarchy. And if you don't, you have no idea what you're missing. At times it can feel like on the surface little is happening, but there's always so much going on under the hood. Treadwell is a genius when it comes to sinking his hooks into you without you even realising it. The journey is every bit as fantastic as the destination here.
It's a massively emotional read. I wasn't sure how the technological aspects to the novel would be handled, but I needn't have worried. The effect ancient magic has on current technology is completely chilling, and brings a whole new layer of terror into the mix. It's genuinely frightening to watch the magic spread and see the effect it has on our world. The Post Apocalyptic aspects to this were a real treat, and so, so well done.
For me, Anarchy was total a win-win situation. I did, eventually, get a dose of all my favourites from Advent, and I got some incredible new characters on incredible new journeys thrown in for good measure. I honestly can't find a bad word to say about it. It captivated me, terrified me, delighted me, shocked me, and at one point even had me in tears.
James Treadwell should, in my humble opinion, be immediately elevated to the status of National Treasure. If you've never read him, go and get yourself a copy of Advent and book a couple of days off work.