Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion–the Animare MI5–protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It’s dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjuror’s Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever.
Although I’m a huge fan of John Barrowman the actor, I somehow have missed reading any of his books until now. The Conjuror would have been a perfect read for me except for one thing. I wasn’t aware that John and his sister had written a previous trilogy starring Matt and Em Calder called Hollow Earth. While this new story shines the spotlight on Remy, the twins are still a big part of the plot, with entire chapters devoted to them. As a result, I was left feeling as though someone had thrown me in the deep end of the pool at times. There were parts that were difficult to follow because of references made to past events. That said, I still really enjoyed this book. While not knowing more of the Calder twins’ backstory, what I learned about them in this book has just made me want to go back and read about their previous adventures more. I absolutely loved Remy, who is everything you want to see in a protagonist: courageous, determined, and loyal to those he cares about. Once the twins and Remy come together things began to coalesce for me and I really settled into the story. The dialogue between them is witty and sharp which added to the enjoyment. All the characters in this book are diverse from Remy being African-American, to Matt being gay. There’s also an interesting Indian police officer who I think will play an even larger role in the next book. The world-building is phenomenal and I had no problem understanding the mechanics behind the Animare. The story moves from Lousiana, to Chicago, to London, and Spain adding to the excitement. I do think this is a book for older teens as there are some themes and scenes that are definitely a little too disturbing and mature for younger readers. Otherwise I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an exciting fantasy. I do urge you to read The Hollow Earth trilogy first though.