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Book Review: Black Arts By Prentice and Weil


Black Arts is the first in the series by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil.  Set in Elizabethan England, it follow the story of Jack, a young thief who picks the wrong pocket at the Globe Theatre in London. The city is full of traders, preachers, thieves, and as Jack discovers, demons. An anti-witch fervour has taken over London, led by Nicholas Webb, who wishes to purge the city entirely from devilry and witchcraft. People are falling over themselves to hear him speak and he has created a sort of cult – but Jack hates him. Nicholas Webb killed Jack’s mother so he has his own agenda when roaming the streets. Jack vows to bring Webb down but he’s developed a funny eye, which could either help or hinder him. It allows him to see the demons.

Prentice and Weil manage to create a truly thrilling world in Black Arts through their wonderfully descriptive writing. London really comes alive in their story and they manage to make a place that is already familiar to me, seem quite strange and magical again. A lot of suspense is built up as you try to figure out what is really going on in the city and the motivations of the main characters. There are quite a few different key players in this story and none of them seem to be on the same team really, which forces you to keep reading to find out exactly what’s what. The story isn’t at all predictable and some characters that at first seem insignificant, actually turn out to be pretty important later on, so there are many layers to this story that are unfolded little by little.

I’d say that the target age range of this novel is between around 12 and 17 years old, but having read some other reviews on the internet, it seems that this story is loved by people of all ages and all genders. I would definitely class this as a young adult book, however, there were some scenes which I found quite disturbing, making this suitable for older readers too. Black Arts can be quite spooky at times and is exactly the sort of read I’d like to pick up nearer Halloween. This is perfect for those who like dark and mysterious stories where nobody is really the good guy.

Black Arts is a rather long novel, spanning almost 500 pages, and personally I found this far too long. The story was by no means boring, but I couldn’t help but feel that certain passages could have been removed and it would not have affected the overall story. I struggled in some places and the book took me quite a long time to real as a result but in the end I really enjoyed Black Arts.

All in all, I think Black Arts would make a great novel for fans of fantasy and adventure. This is the sort of book that can give you nightmares so if you’re a fan of the criminal underworld and interested in a story with demons thrown into the mix, then Black Arts is the story for you. This is book #1 in The Books of Pandemonium series and I’ve already got my hands on the second novel, Devil’s Blood, which is released in May 2016 and I can’t wait to read it!

Have you read Black Arts by Prentice & Weil? Do you have any other book recommendations of a similar nature? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thanks to David Fickling Books for providing me with a review copy!

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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  1. 14th May 2016 / 3:24 PM

    Sounds like a good read but very long! I kind of wish it was a one off, as I’ve started so many series’ of late I can’t add another to the list!

    Sarah ๐Ÿ™‚

    Saloca in Wonderland

  2. Elodie
    16th May 2016 / 3:30 PM

    I probably wouldn’t have thought about picking this up before, but after reading your review, I might do! Thank you for sharing! x

  3. 16th May 2016 / 5:14 PM

    This would have been the sort of thing I’d have loved when I was a teenager x

  4. Alison
    16th May 2016 / 6:00 PM

    I haven’t read this book but I think it looks really fun to read. I gravitate more towards the YA section already so this looks great! I will look for this especially around Halloween!

  5. 16th May 2016 / 6:31 PM

    I have not read this book, but it sounds intriguing, it is not my usual type of book to read though x

  6. 16th May 2016 / 6:37 PM

    I have to admit I’ve not even heard of this book! It really sounds interesting though, I’m going to have to see if I can download it. x

  7. It's Another Jukebox
    16th May 2016 / 6:54 PM

    I haven’t heard of this book before but I’m definitely going to check it! I think my sister would love that ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. So far so Sabine
    16th May 2016 / 8:21 PM

    I’m not a big fan of books, I haven’t heard about it. It looks very interesting however if you’re into reading books.


  9. 16th May 2016 / 8:32 PM

    Great review, I don’t read books that often but sounds like a good read.

  10. 16th May 2016 / 9:04 PM

    I love a good fantasy novel but I think that there is very few authors who can get away with books past the 500 page point ( namely JK Rowling who is a genius ).

  11. kitty kaos
    16th May 2016 / 9:51 PM

    Sounds like an interesting read and I may have to give it a go not something I would usually go for but you have made it sound pretty cool

  12. Corinne C
    16th May 2016 / 10:06 PM

    Great review, I would have loved this as a teen, was always into the dark stories like this!

    Corinne x

  13. 16th May 2016 / 10:49 PM

    I keep saying I need to go back into reading and review books but it keeps slipping my mind. I love how intriguing this book sounds.

  14. 17th May 2016 / 12:30 AM

    This sounds like a really great dark fantasy story. I think this series will be very popular!

  15. Harriet @ Toby&Roo
    17th May 2016 / 11:30 AM

    I love dark fantasy! To me its an escape from reality and thats what I look for in a story!

  16. 17th May 2016 / 1:08 PM

    I’ve never heard of this book but am on the lookout for books for my eldest. Not sure if she is too keen on fantasy but the adventure part would definitely appeal. That is one scary cover though!

  17. This Chic African
    17th May 2016 / 1:16 PM

    First time seeing this book it sounds interesting I’ll have a look.

  18. Hannah Heartss โ„๏ธโ›„๏ธ
    17th May 2016 / 1:45 PM

    I haven’t heard of this book but it sounds like something I would love!

  19. Jessica
    17th May 2016 / 2:29 PM

    I might love it due to the nightmare it may bring as you read it. Looks interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Beautyqueenuk
    17th May 2016 / 4:01 PM

    Ooh this sounds a tad too dark for me and I read a lot of Crime Thrillers x

  21. emma
    17th May 2016 / 10:09 PM

    I have always loved mysteries and thrillers so this book seems but out of my comfort zone but still looks like a crazy good read!

  22. Angela Milnes
    17th May 2016 / 11:05 PM

    sounds like the type of book my husband would be into. I’m more into crime and legal style books. ๐Ÿ™‚ Angela from daysinbed

  23. Nicolas Puegher
    17th May 2016 / 11:22 PM

    Sounds pretty good, your review is awesome! The cover is also great, I love how designers work hard to make an outstanding cover for any book. There is a digital version somewhere?

  24. 17th May 2016 / 11:27 PM

    I enjoy reading romance and light reading so not sure about this book , but you have written a great review.

  25. 18th May 2016 / 12:00 AM

    I didn’t hear about this book before but it sounds like an interesting book!

  26. Kevin Wagar
    18th May 2016 / 2:09 AM

    Sounds like a thrilling read. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  27. Karla Pitzen
    18th May 2016 / 5:19 AM

    This sounds like a very interesting book. I’m not sure if I could read it though. Might be too creepy for me!

  28. 18th May 2016 / 3:18 PM

    That’s a very honest review, I completely get what you mean by too long for a story but not boring.. It’s like when a film takes 3 hours when they could summarise it in 2. It’s brilliant to read but just..goes on a bit! Haha ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. 18th May 2016 / 4:54 PM

    I am really intrigued by the idea of this book. I am a little put off by the issues with it being a bit long winded, but still think I will give it a go! Thank you x

  30. 18th May 2016 / 5:56 PM

    Sounds like a very interesting book. I haven’t read it or heard of it, but enjoyed your insight on it. I like some YA genre books. I usually read romance, philosophy, and some drama. Thanks for sharing your review.

  31. Francis Powell
    18th May 2016 / 7:39 PM

    Nice cover

  32. Rodanthi Dimou
    18th May 2016 / 8:38 PM

    It sounds like a great book. I think it would make a great gift! I may even read it, if I find the time. I have a pile of books next to my bed that have priority for me for the moment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Melanie Edjourian
    18th May 2016 / 8:44 PM

    I do love spooky books, it sounds really good.

  34. 18th May 2016 / 8:55 PM

    Sounds like one for me. A couple of my favourite books are said to be aimed at the teenage age but I don’t think you can really seclude books by such a thing any more.

  35. 18th May 2016 / 9:35 PM

    Sounds like a book I would probably love! A lot of books I love are aimed at teenagers/young adults but I think the joy of books are they can be loved by anyone. I would probably read it and then pass it down to my daughter like I have done with other books like the Hunger Games, Maze Runner and others aimed at those sort of ages x

  36. 19th May 2016 / 3:01 AM

    The story seems really interesting but I don`t think I would want to read the book because I generally don`t like stories which involve demons or creepy characters.

  37. Helen
    19th May 2016 / 8:29 AM

    This sound like interesting book when you want to have fun but still be engaged. Thanks for the review!

  38. Leanne Dolan
    19th May 2016 / 10:00 AM

    I haven’t read this series and despite it being targeted for teens I’d be tempted to read it myself.

  39. 19th May 2016 / 11:44 AM

    I think my hubby would enjoy it, especially these quite spooky parts ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. globetrotterjen
    19th May 2016 / 9:37 PM

    i am always looking for new books to read so thanks for this!

  41. goldfish jones
    20th May 2016 / 8:22 PM

    Some great insights into some books I’ve not heard of! was looking for a new read!

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