Magic blurs the line between adult horror and traditional young adult fiction in James Treadwell's debut fantasy novel, "Advent," the first of a planned trilogy.
Modern-day England: 15-year-old Gavin is sent to Cornwall to visit his aunt. While on the train, he stumbles on a strange woman who claims to hear voices. Gavin has a secret as well. He can see ghosts.
When Gavin arrives at the station, his aunt isn't there to meet him. The strange woman volunteers to take him to her home. He agrees. Gavin soon realizes he can hear the voices the woman thinks are imaginary.
The present-day story runs parallel to a story set in 1537 when magician Johann Faust finds more than he bargained for in his quest for immortality.
Treadwell weaves his love of grand adventure and historical legends into his narrative. Some of the discoveries Gavin finds on his aunt's estate will be familiar to readers.
The dark and gothic horror atmosphere of "Advent" might be disorienting. It's not a straightforward adult fantasy in the style of George R.R. Martin, nor is it a "Harry Potter"-style adventure for teens. Get past these expectations and you'll discover that Treadwell has produced a unique hybrid.
Think of it as an academic Jim Butcher dark fantasy.