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Liz de Jager’s Banished: Book launch and review

Last Thursday, Squizz and I boarded our trusty steed, megabus, and headed to London for our first book launch of 2014.

It was for Liz de Jager’s debut YA novel, Banished, the first book in The Blackhart Legacy trilogy, and was held at one of our favourite bookshops, Foyles, on Charing Cross Road. I took full advantage of that and had a thorough browse before heading to the cafe to meet up with our favourite launch buddy, JayneFerst.

The launch itself was held in Foyles’ Gallery and by the time we arrived, it was packed full of people and there was a great buzz. We said hi to Liz, who took Squizzey’s photo, which he loved, and then we left the lovely lady author to meet and greet while we sampled the delicious wine on offer and some of the launch booty. And, as you can see from the picture above, there were some terrific Blackhart (the fae-fighting heroine’s family) cookies and different flavours of popcorn to satisfy even the weirdest most discerning of palates.

It was a terrific evening, full of friendly faces and there was a whole lot of warmth and love for Liz in the room. If you follow her on Twitter, you’ll know that she deserved nothing less than every bit of that to see her first novel, Banished, launched out into the book world. I wish it and Liz every success.

And now to the book itself. Here’s what I made of Banished:

I found it very difficult to put Banished down once I’d picked it up and pretty much read it in one sitting. It’s full of action right from the start and doesn’t really let up, so I felt propelled forwards, much like the main character, Kit Blackhart, no doubt does. She’s a great character, too: spirited and ballsy, cheeky and instinctive, she’s relatively untested in her new life as an enemy fae-battling Blackhart, while also learning to understand & harnass the strength and reach of her magical powers. We meet Kit just before her initiation or first solo mission and it helps that this is in an environment we’ll all be familiar with for our first encounter. It roots her in our world. What Kit meets there is out of the ordinary though and from this point on, her life starts to get very interesting and hectic, so maybe get the drinks and snacks in before you start reading!

I really liked the extracts from reports and Bestiarums that head up some of the chapters and thought the way that Liz goes about worldbuilding was excellent. I also liked that Kit doesn’t always have the answers or do everything perfectly and sometimes has to wing it and just scrape by. I groaned a little at Kit’s almost instant attraction to the fae prince she rescues and the fact that faes and humans can never be together but the action and story both far outweigh the romance element which made me mind less about these two niggles. As the first in a trilogy, I knew that some threads would be left unanswered – that’s only natural – but there’s certainly more than enough packed into this first book to make it a satisfying read in its own right.

All in all, Banished is a thumping good read and I can’t wait for Book Two to come out. Banished is a rollicking adventure, packed full of action with a good dose of humorous banter and filled with just the right amount of fae lore and worldbuilding.

Banished is Liz de Jager’s debut novel and the first book in The Blackhart Legacy trilogy. It is published by Tor Books, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, and is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, The Book Depository and Waterstones. To find out more about the author and her book, you can Follow Liz on Twitter or go to her Author Website

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