Thank you to Storytellers on Tour and Matthew Samuel for including me on the tour and sending me a beautiful, gifted copy of Small Places!
Head over to Storytellers on Tour and enter their giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Small Places! https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/06/22/book-tour-small-places-by-matthew-samuels/
Small Places by Matthew Samuels
Published: August 3, 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
CW: Strong language and violence throughout, with some graphic injury detail, scenes of involuntary restraint, giant spiders, dead animals, implied cruelty to animals, and some fantastical creatures of a horrifying nature
TW: Cancer, mention of previous self-harm and an instance of a drink being tampered with
Small Places is a no-nonsense urban fantasy fairy story. Jamie, a shy, lonely boy, runs an errand for a witch as a child, helping them ease a family friend’s experience of cancer. Thirteen years later, Jamie’s own mother is suffering from terminal cancer as well, and he’s come back to his childhood village to spend more time with her before the end. He receives a card from the witch, Melusine, asking for his help – and casting his mind back to his childhood experience – goes to see her, hoping she can help his mother. Amidst freak earthquakes and storms, he’s drawn into working with the bad-tempered Mel in an effort to find out what’s wrong with Gaia, the earth spirit, as they visit the Seelie and Unseelie courts, finding the former racist and the latter paranoid, meeting stoned fauns and beer-brewing trolls along the way. It’ll appeal to fans of Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London series, Charles de Lint’s work or Clive Barker’s Abarat series.
Small Places is a sort of portal fantasy in which a 20something man who grew up in the English Countryside must abandon his life in London to return and help his mum and in doing so, finds himself having to save the world with a witch. I found Jamie to be quite heavy as a character and whilst I’ve personally experienced some things he’s been/going through I found it quite hard to connect to him but I enjoyed Melusines character much more.
The setting was idyllic, I just wish we spent more time in the Faerie realm, I feel like I have a few unanswered questions about it!
Overall, it’s a fairly fun, quick and easy read and a must read for fans of portal fantasy!
About the author
Matthew Samuels is a science fiction and fantasy writer based in London, UK. His first novel was the Sci-Fi Solarpunk / Hopepunk adventure story Parasites, the first book in the Navigator Series. He enjoys reading, gaming, running, walking, EDM and perversely, quiet.