Monday, 15 December 2014

The Silhouette Series by Geoph Essex




The Silhouette Series
by Geoph Essex

1. Lovely Assistant • 2. Jackrabbit Messiah



Lovely Assistant
Lovely Assistant
My rating:         Fantasy
Source: Publisher (direct)

When Jenny Ng is hit by a car, her biggest concern is that she's going to be late for a job interview. It's only when a second accident takes her leg off - a state of affairs which proves less permanent than she would have imagined - that she starts to realise something unusual is going on. And stage magician Calvin asking her to fill in for his missing assistant is just one more strange moment in a strange day.

It was only supposed to be a one off, but as it turns out, having detachable limbs is quite handy for a magic act. Jenny and Calvin are the most adorable non-couple you could imagine, and they make a fantastic team, on stage and off. Jenny's never dreamed of being in the spotlight, but she likes Calvin enough to support his ambitions, and the role of 'lovely assistant' ends up being the most reliable paycheck she's had in a while. Unfortunately the end of the world is nigh, and that kind of thing tends to put a damper on even the most successful showbiz career.

I just loved everything about this book. It's a fast-paced and fantastical adventure; it's an understated romance; it's a comedy of errors. There are mysterious artefacts, scornful horses, and a serious deadline.  The prose is beautiful and the metaphor colourful; the story is told in a lighthearted and comedic style that made me laugh out loud... right until it made me cry. There was plenty of tension with the looming apocalypse, but it was Jenny's personal journey that broke my heart. Simply brilliant.

Jackrabbit Messiah
Jackrabbit Messiah
My rating:         Fantasy
Source: Publisher (direct)

Amity is accustomed to handling delusional patients, and in some respects Jack is a textbook case. He can't remember much about his past, the only name he answers to is Jackrabbit (not the Jackrabbit, please!), and he arrives wearing a fuzzy bunny outfit from which he just can't bear to be parted. Matters are complicated, however, by the fact that he really did just jump from the top of a tower block, and not only survived but landed on his feet. Jackrabbit says he's a god, and when video footage goes viral, there's no shortage of people willing to believe in him.

When Jack escapes from custody by a literal vanishing act, Amity must choose between following official procedures or striking out on her own to try and help her patient. With the help of similarly-rebellious police officer Pauline and living legend Maggie, Amity sets off across the country in search of answers. What she finds is an urgent requirement for Jack to save the world.

While this book doesn't directly follow on from Lovely Assistant, there are a few incidental characters who cross over. The amazing, engaging writing style is another constant. And I couldn't get enough of the characters: Amity is a wonderful heroine whose insight into human nature comes in very handy, and you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of Maggie or Pauline. As for Jack, he's on a heart-rending quest for stability when his super-power is the ability to slip away... from himself as much as from others. The mythology of the Silhouette universe is sometimes macabre, often whimsical, and ultimately very pragmatic. I think I'm starting to get a feel for how things fit together, but I just know there's a lot more waiting to be uncovered in future books.

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