Today is my tour stop for the first book in the Element Odysseys series and I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview the author!
It’s a long post today but if you stick with it, there’s a very exciting giveaway at the end! Thanks to the author and iRead Book Tours for the chance to review this book, and check out the full tour schedule here.
The Breedling and the City in the Garden
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Audience: YA and Adults
Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.
These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.
He chose defiance.
Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.
Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.
My overall opinion was that it ended better than it started. I was expecting to enjoy it much more than I did at first but the opening was so convoluted that it was difficult to keep up. It feels like we come in the middle of the story but little explanation is given up front so you have to struggle to make sense of what it happening. I also felt like the writing improved throughout. In the first few chapters, while the story was interesting the writing wasn’t very strong so I wasn’t really engaging with it.
However, at some point the author seemed to become more familiar with her characters and the writing improves drastically! It really is an interesting story and so much more compelling once it flowed better. The author also does a great job with her characters, making them feel real (even though some of them are supernatural characters!). They have to deal with a lot of heavy themes in their life and the grief and burden that each of them are carrying was covered so well. I was surprised at the direction the book takes from the beginning (no spoilers) but it allows us to really understand these characters on a deeper level.
It may sound like I didn’t like it but the writing later on more than makes up for the first chapters, and my faith in the story kept me going! And guess what, it’s part of a series! Usually, I don’t like when a book ends without finishing the story, but this one felt like it set up everything it needed to. I’m excited to see where the rest of the series takes us!
Interview with Kimberlee Ann Bastian:
Q: Let’s start off with a little game to learn more about you: what are two truths and a lie about yourself?
- When I was younger my brother and I played an imaginary game called Orphan Catchers.
- The Catcher and the Rye is one of my favorite books.
- In middle school, I was the “freaky-Stephen King” kid.
The lie – The Catcher and the Rye is actually my least favorite book of all-time. For me, I find Holden Caulfield completely unrelatable.
Q: How did you get started in writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A: I always liked making up stories, but it wasn’t until the sixth grade (after watching a Stephen King movie) that I knew I wanted to be a writer. I devoted myself to writing at a time when my world was upside down, when the chaos of middle school was at its peak. Writing gave me an outlet to vent my frustration, emotions and creativity without having to keep it inside or exploding it on someone else. It was a release and once I made it to high school I kept writing and my craft evolved. Without writing I can’t even imagine what my world would be like or what I would be like, and to be honest I don’t want to.
Q: What inspired you to tell this story?
A: The genesis of the series can be found in the chapter Jack O’ Lantern when the Tales Teller recites the Legend of Stingy Jack. The Legend of Stingy Jack is an actual Irish myth, which depicts the story of how we have Jack O’Lanterns during Halloween. I had come across the legend years ago and after some further research, discovered there were no other stories about Stingy Jack or his wanderings. I was displeased with this outcome because I wanted to know more. Had Stingy Jack reformed from his wicked ways? Did he fall in love? Was he capable of love? Did the Devil still taunt him as he wandered the earth? So, I took it upon myself to answer these questions and more.
Q: Why did you choose to set your story in Chicago?
A: The easy answer is I wanted to represent the Midwest because I think it’s often overlooked in stories of this nature, and I have always been fascinated by the history and allure of Chicago. The “I love it when a plan comes together” answer is that in my early research I discovered that in 1934 the Black Blizzard rained ash for two days in early May, and so I used that moment as an explanation for having so many supernatural characters in one area.
Q: Do you have a favorite character in your book or one you connect with most?
A: If I have to go off this book and not the entire pantheon of characters in the series, I connect most with the Apothecary in this story, because he knows a great deal more than everyone else in the story as it unfolds. He, like myself, have laid a great deal of ground work in order to ensure our plans go the way we want.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: Currently, I am hard at work editing Book 2: The Breedling and the Trickster, which is set for a June 2017 release as well as two more sequels.
Q: And finally, where can we find you?
A: You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram @elementodysseys, as well as on Goodreads and my website http://kimberleebastian.wixsite.com/elementodysseys
~Thank you for having me, Sam. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you!
About the Author: Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a unique love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. This melting pot of elements is what prompted the creation of her epic ELEMENT ODYSSEYS series, starting with the reboot of her debut novel now titled THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN.
When she is not in her writer’s room, working her current “day job”, or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of your Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture.
- 8 winners will each get a print or ebook copy of The Breedling & The City in the Garden (print open to USA & Can / ebook open Int’l)
- 1 winner will get the Chicago Swag Box (USA only) Prize contains: Jay’s Potato Chips, Wrigleys Gum, mug, a book on history of Chicago (Then and Now), a magnet, and a few other items
- Ends Dec 17
You can enter to win here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks again to iRead Book Tours and the author for putting on this tour!