Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Random House
UK Release date: 1st November 2012
Genre: YA, Horror, Historical
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
In a German town, long ago, lives a tooth-puller's boy called Klaus. It isn't Klaus's fault that he sees his master steal a diamond from the mouth of a dead man in Frau Drecht's lodging house, or that Frau Drecht and her murderous son want it for themselves.
He has nothing to do with the Jesuit priest and his Aztec companion who turn up out of the blue looking for it, or the Professor of Anatomy who takes such a strange interest in it. No, Klaus doesn't want any trouble.
But when he finds himself with the diamond in his pocket, things really can't get much worse - that is, until the feathered man appears. Then they become a matter of life . . . and death.
The Feathered Man features some very strong characters, some of whom are very cruel and heartless. Particularly Frau Drecht who uses children as free labour and has an unusually high number of deaths in her boarding house. I loathed this woman and really wanted her to get her just desserts. In comparison, the two young children, Klaus and Liesel, were so innocent, naive and vulnerable. Because of this they ended up constantly on the run and all I wanted was for them to find safety and hope. My heart went out to them both because they had no parents or anyone to look out for them, and sorely needed someone to give them a hug, food and a warm bed. But in the poverty stricken German setting, safety and love were very hard to find.
The setting very much reminded me of Victorian London, due to the historical timing as well as the stark contrast between those with money and education and the poor struggling just to survive. There were also a fair few gruesome acts in the story from murder, torture and maltreatment which gave the town a very dark and sinister underbelly. This poverty meant that Klaus and Liesel were forced to work for horrible adults just to survive, and when they were both in danger (which was quite often!) I was wracked with fear for them. The plot also took a number of sharp twists and turns, and there was plenty of intrigue when new characters were introduced and I tried to figure out how hey might fit into the puzzle.
A huge part of the plot links to the spiritual and what happens after death. I’m not sure I completely understand the other world. In fact, if that’s what it is like afterwards, I’m not sure I want to know. And yet, the desire to know what lies beyond drove several of the characters to commit heinous acts of violence and murder. I did like that this spiritual element was balanced against the exploration of the physical through anatomy, and that the anatomists were intrigued in life after death despite having a scientific background.
The Feathered Man is a dark and chilling tale of human nature and what happens when our curiosity about death exceeds the value of life.
Jeremy de Quidt is currently taking part in blog tour for The Feathered Man. Here on My Book Journey Jeremy will be answering some questions about his latest book – be sure to stop back on November 6th 2012.