Century by Sarah Singleton

I have read and enjoyed one other novel by Sarah Singleton, Heretic,  so I looked forward to Century.   It’s a short, very readable novel targeted at young teens but also suitable for adults who enjoy a sprinkling of magic and fantasy in their reading.

Mercy and her younger sister Charity live in a world of darkness and mystery at their desolate home, Century.  They rise as the sun sets and sleep during the day in an environment which is permanently Winter.  Indeed it’s a bit like that film Groundhog Day at Century as each day is the same as the last with the girls having the same breakfast prepared by Aurelia, the housekeeper and then lessons with Galatea, their governess followed by a walk in the moonlit gardens.  The only other inhabitant of Century is their father Trajan who doesn’t figure much in the lives of his daughters, preferring to stay in the shadows of this already sombre abode.

At first, I was slightly irked by the vagueness of Mercy’s circumstances, I was jumping to conclusions, thinking they must be vampires and almost tempted to abandon book but I soon realised that the cloudiness of the opening chapters mirrors the dreamlike state in which the characters exist, almost like Sleeping Beauty in her castle, waiting for a handsome prince to come and break the spell.  Could the mysterious Claudius be the prince who can rescue Mercy from the darkness and revive her forgotten memories?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

There isn’t a great deal of character development as it’s a short book but the plot is extremely well crafted.  The descriptions of Century are eerily atmospheric and other-worldly and in Mercy we have a likeable, resourceful young heroine, determined to take control of her own destiny whatever dangers lie in her path.  I also loved the revelations of why Century is locked in perpetual Winter and how it fits in with the rest of the world.  I also enjoyed the parallels with Frankenstein.  All in all, a very enjoyable read which stirs the imagination and one I’ll be keeping for my daughter to read when she’s older.

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  1. Violet says:

    I love that cover. I want to live in that house! :) You’ve made me curious as to what the mystery may be…

  2. admin says:

    Violet, it makes me quite envious of young people these days who have such a wealth of good, engaging books to choose from.

  3. Jenny says:

    Seconding Violet’s cover love. I’m admittedly a sucker for old houses, but that’s a particularly nice one. :p

  4. lovelytreez says:

    I think we must be spoiled with National Trust properties here, Jenny, I love when Spring comes (properly) and we picnic in the grounds of stately homes, imagining what the past might have been like. :-)

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