Today on the blog, we have The Crown Phoenix blog tour. Also I have a review of The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca, the first book in the Crown Phoenix series.
Miriam Pearson’s father has died. Her guardians, The Marchpanes, take over her house and her father’s company. The strong-willed girl instantly clashes with their son, Simon. The Marchpanes hire a governess, Mana, to take care of her. Mana is black, and has magic powers. She and Miriam eventually become friends. With Simon and Neil, his friend, they uncover a plot by the sinister Barbara Cantwell to use Miriam’s father’s company for evil means. Barbara is very beautiful, and at first, Simon is very attracted to her.
Once Barbara realizes that Miriam and Mana are on to her scheme, she forces the guardians to fire the governess. Mana is hustled out of the house by the Marchpanes, but Miriam, Neil and Simon follow her to the Night Watchman Express. However, Miriam and Simon are captured and put on the Night Watchman, bound for a sinister destination. Mana is loaded onto a boat headed to Big Star Island.
Neil manages to steal a boat and follow Mana’s captors to the island. A native girl, Riki, rescues him and brings him to her house. She is spoiled and her mother has no control over her, but Neil manages to become her friend. Her father forces him to stay with the family so Neil can be Riki’s companion and manage her wild behavior.
Neil learns about Atol, the king of the island, who seized power after the last monarch was killed. Atol is plotting with Barbara Cantwell to force the islands to produce drugs instead of bolemor wood, and he is also shipping his people out for use in human experiments. Neil discovers that Mana is the rightful queen of the island, and is being held by Atol. Neil and Riki manage to rescue Mana, and they head back to the mainland to look for Simon and Miriam.
The Night Watchman Express was a decently good young adult novel. The cover of the book said that it was a steampunk novel, but I am not sure how. It just seemed like a fantasy novel to me. The book didn’t fully capture my interest at the beginning. However, once the Marchpanes arrived, the book got more interesting. It stayed interesting up until the incident with Mana. The second half of the book was a struggle for me to finish. It normally would have taken me three days to finish it. However, it took me almost a week. The plot for the second half was slow. It didn’t get exciting again until the end. I liked most of the characters. I couldn’t stand the Marchpanes. Virgil had a weak personality. He let his wife walk all over him. Theodosia was a horrible woman. She was rude, manipulative, and just plain nasty. She never did anything nice for anyone unless it helped her agenda in some way. My favorite character was Mana. I am envious of all of her powers. I also liked that she seemed knowledgable, and wise beyond her years. Although this book was hit or miss for me at times, I am excited to read book two, The Devil's Kitchen, to find out what is happening to Miriam and Simon.
I give The Night Watchman Express 3/5.
Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.
You can find out more about Alison DeLuca here:
And now, time for the giveaway:
Thank you to First Rule PR for hosting the giveaway. Also, thank you to Alison DeLuca for sending me the books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”