The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heap by H. G. Parry Orbit January 23rd 2020
For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other.
But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world, and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else out there who shares his powers and it’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them – before anyone gets to The End.
I’ll be honest am not quite sure what genre or where this novel fits in the grand scheme of books and publishing. You could have called it fantasy, it could have been YA am just not really sure! One thing I do know is that it was totally different from anything I have read in a very long time.
The characters Rob and Charley, brothers, in Wellington, New Zealand were total opposites. Rob, conventional lawyer, girlfriend, nice flat happy life. Charley on the other hand, was what I could only describe as one of those slightly eccentric genius’s, hugely intelligent, a product of an Oxford degree, PHD, no commonsense and no practical skills whatsoever. He made me laugh out loud with his myriad of idiosyncrasies, milk stored on a bookshelf, books in the fridge, the sign of a mind that wandered on a higher plane.
Charley was almost like a magician as he conjured up the characters from the books he read, his passion for Charles Dicken’s almost his downfall as he became to be known as a summoner pitted against another summoner intent on changing the world and not for the better.
Parry’s strength lay in her furtive imagination, the Dickensian street Charley and Rob fought to save littered with numerous well known characters from the works of Dickens and other well known authors.
I loved the Darcey’s, all four of them, each with their own individual characteristics. Then there was Dorian Grey, obsessed with his looks, Matilda, the Artful Dodger and so many more. I admired how Parry brought them to life, her understanding of the classic novels they came from was exceptional. You got carried away in Parry’s world, magical, fairytale like, with evil undertones that lurked and threatened to destroy it.
It was the classic good against evil, as you the reader relished the fight, urged Charley and Rob on.
If much of the novel lay in a fantasy world Parry didn’t neglect reality. The fractured relationship between Rob and Charley seemed beyond repair, yet events pushed them together, as a greater understanding of each other slowly emerged. She showed a family mired in secrets, with the same problems we all face in our own day to day lives, pushed out of the ordinary by the dangers they faced.
It was this combination of the real and fantastical that made this move stand out and such a delight to read. You marvelled in Parry’s wonderful imagery, smiled at the wonderful idiosyncrasies of her characters and held your breath as the world she had created threatened to disappear.
I would like to thank Party for sweeping me away to another world from which I was reluctant to leave.
I would like to thank Orbit for a copy of The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heap by H. G. Parry to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
About the author
H.G. Parry is a fantasy writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. Her short fiction has appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, and small press anthologies. She holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and teaches English Literature, Film, and Media Studies. She lives in a book-infested flat by the beach, which she shares with her sister, three guinea pigs, and two over-active rabbits.