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Not Flesh Nor Feathers Paperback – October 2, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Spectacular scenes of chaos and horror in a flood-drenched Chattanooga invigorate Priest's third Eden Moore fantasy (after 2006's Wings to the Kingdom). A devastating storm swells the Tennessee River to dam-breaking levels on the eve of Eden's planned move into a new riverside apartment complex. With the gushing waters comes a tide of corpses sunk in the river for more than a century, now animated and organized by a malignant force with an inscrutable purpose. When psychic investigator Eden realizes that the zombie army is converging on historic Read House, she draws a connection to the ghost of Caroline Read, who haunts the building trying to resolve a hushed-up 19th-century atrocity. Although talky and too dependent on convenient last-minute information, Priest's tale crackles with action and occult thrills, especially in the scenes of the inundated city reeling under the double assault of Mother Nature and the supernatural. Fans will find this her most assured outing yet. (Oct.)
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“A remarkably assured debut, a creepy modern-day Southern gothic that doesn't rely on cliché but delivers an emotionally powerful tale of self-discovery and the supernatural.” ―San Francisco Chronicle on Four and Twenty Blackbirds
“Wings to the Kingdom is not precisely a sequel, but a second chapter set in Eden's overlapping worlds--Priest's beautifully detailed culture of the South, and the world of the dead: immediately adjacent, and always visible to Eden. Wings is more firmly based in the physical world than Blackbirds was, but it's every bit as fascinating. Once again, Priest succeeds in making her story both straightforward and exquisitely strange.” ―Green Man Review
“Priest kills as a stylist. Debut novel? You could have fooled me. Four and Twenty Blackbirds feels like it was written by an author with the assurance and experience of already having many books under her belt . . . . the book has everything going for it and you should definitely pick up a copy to see for yourself.” ―Charles De Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction on Four and Twenty Blackbirds
“There's mystical, sultry appeal in the thick Chattanooga atmosphere and strong characterizations (Eden's tongue is as sharp as the heels of her signature black boots), and a mixed-race heroine lends welcome diversity to a genre well populated with porcelain-complected heroines.... Girl-goths will devour this whole, but also suggest it as a larky follow-up to forced readings of Harper Lee, William Faulkner, and the like.” ―Booklist on Four and Twenty Blackbirds
“The classic Southern gothic gets an edgy modern makeover in Priest's debut novel about a young woman's investigation into the truth of her origins.... Eden is a heroine for the aging Buffy crowd.” ―Publishers Weekly on Four and Twenty Blackbirds
“Wonderful. Enchanting. Amazing and original fiction that will satisfy that buttery Southern taste, as well as that biting aftertaste of the dark side. I loved it.” ―Joe R. Lansdale, Bram Stoker and Edgar Award-winning author of The Bottoms, on Four and Twenty Blackbirds
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Anyway, I find it hard to think this will be the last Eden Moore, as there are new story possibilites and open ties everywhere - which I don't want to list as it will be a spoiler for this story but I really hope there are more to come someday.
That said, I did enjoy the overall story and the mystery and how it was solved. I think the character of Eden is becoming more complex and I'm looking forward to what will happen next. I just hope that the pacing will be developed more in the style of the previous two books.
As with the other two Eden Moore books, NFNF opens with a ghost. Lest readers of the other two books think they know where things are going, however, the story rapidly builds and takes a hard left turn into rising waters and the problems (not all of them mundane) that come with the river's encroachment into town. The novel is so realistically done that the supernatural elements slot naturally and easily into place, making suspension of disbelief and complete immersion in the story easy.
Definitely Priest's best book yet, and I'm looking forward to future books as I suspect she's going nowhere but up from here.
I didn't discover until I finished this book that it's the third in a trilogy, but not only does it stand alone nicely, it doesn't have any of those long "and this is what happened before" passages that can slow down other series books. I'm happy that there are two other books with this character I can look for; I'm unhappy that it's a trilogy and not an open ended series. Cherie Priest has given Southern gothic a modern twist, putting it in a big city and giving it a heroine who is anything but languid.
Tightly plotted with pretty much non-stop action, I stayed up until the wee hours to finish this book. I was actually grateful to be ill, so that I could read the book without interruption! One of the best horror novels I've read in quite some time.
Unfortunately, occasionally when an author is really good, a particular work may not come across quite as strong as others. This is true with "Not Flesh Nor Feathers". I'll admit that while I liked it, it just wasn't quite as good as the first two Eden Moore books. The pacing is slow in comparison, which probably hurts the book more than anything else. I kept waiting for something more to happen, and the ending just seemed rather anticlimactic.
That being said, I really think Priest is doing a bang-up job of developing the overall storyline of Eden Moore's universe. I won't spoil it for people who haven't read it yet, but let me just say she takes Malachi and Nick in some interesting directions. Eden herself has some, ah, odd occurrences. I will say I'm a little concerned about her going the way of LKH's Anita Blake and heading into Mary sue territory just a wee bit. However, given Priest's superior character building ability, I'm placing my bet on her rescuing her main character from that fate.
Despite my criticisms, I'm still very glad I bought "Not Flesh Nor Feathers". There are some key plot developments here that shouldn't be missed, and even with the slow pacing it's still a highly enjoyable read.