So this is the book that I was determined to finish (and fighting off my exhaustion to do so) the other night. And it was so worth it! I only wish it were time for the second book to come out already so I could read the next chapter in the story : ) I loved it!
Percy Parker is a strange young woman. 18-years-old and raised as an orphan in a convent, she is finally sent out into the world to become a student at the Athens Academy. She's older than the rest, has an aptitude for languages, and looks strikingly similar to the ghosts that haunt the halls of the school. Headmistress Rebecca Thompson is surprised by her newest student, but it is Alexi Rychman, a professor at the school, who is most taken with her. Alexi and Rebecca are both members of The Guard, a group of six Londoners who were chosen at a young age to be the protectors of the city and fight against the Darkness. Prophecy has foretold that there will be a seventh and that her coming will be the start great things, good and bad. Alexi believes Percy may be the one, but another has come into The Guard's midst as well. And all of this as Jack the Ripper stalks the street of their city.
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is the first in a new series. It's very well written and has a very distinctive style reminiscent of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, though will admittedly be more approachable for some readers than Clarke's fantabulously massive tome. It's a very multi-genred read with Victorian flair! A little bit mystery, a little bit mythology, a little bit romance, and a lot of paranormal.
I also feel compelled to mention the fact that the marketing material says it will have strong cross-over appeal for adults and teens and I certainly agree with this sentiment. Technically it's an adult read and it's certainly styled as such (and I mean it doesn't have a "young" feeling that some teen reads do for me), but I know the Junior Junkies are going to gobble it up as well and probably pass it around to their friends, too. And they're a pretty good test market in my book for teen appeal.
Official release date on this one is August 25, but I believe it's available now. Book two is due out next year.