The Breedling and the City in the Garden (The Element Odysseys – 1)
by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.
These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.
He chose defiance.
Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.
Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.
Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a unique love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. This melting pot of elements is what prompted the creation of her epic ELEMENT ODYSSEYS series, starting with the reboot of her debut novel now titled THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN.
When she is not in her writer’s room, working her current “day job”, or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of your Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture.
Bartholomew is a Breedling, an immortal being that guides spirits to the afterlife. He is also charged with finding the Creaters of the world. But when he finds one he doesn’t tell where they are at. For that, he has been imprisoned for centuries by the Fates. One day he finds a way to magically escape and finds himself in Chicago during the 1930’s. There he is a teenager, Buck, that is taken under the wing of a young orphan, Charlie Reese. Bartholomew/Buck needs to finish his original orders but he has do to so without letting the mortals realize that he is different. This is hard since the last time he was on Earth was 200 years earlier and really stands out.
This is an interesting joining of mythology and history. I liked the mix of mythology in Bartholomew’s world but I have to say that I felt like I was missing part of the story when I started the book. Chicago in 1934 is dirty, gritty and you can’t help but feeling for Charlie as he tries to protect Buck. I liked watching as Buck tried to protect Charlie while still trying to not tip Charlie off to the other world.
I liked the mixing of mythology and history. I admit that you have to suspend belief for parts of the story and not expect several things to be wrapped up at the end of the story. This is a first in a series and the ending leaves enough open for the second book to start.
I did like this story and I would like to see what happens in the next book.
I received The Breedling and the City in the Garden from iRead Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
The Namesakes of Buck
A friend of mine asked me once why I didn’t nickname Bartholomew, Barty. It took me a moment to answer, forcing the thought of Barty Crouch out of my head before explaining that when he introduced himself, he did so as Buck. Then why two names? Why not just use Buck? Because, I said, the duel naming separates his old life from his new one. It was then my friend looked at me and asked her final question. Then where did they come from? I couldn’t tell her the origin behind Bartholomew’s name, but as for Buck, it had been a name stored away in my “name vault” after two particular encounters.
Now, one might think I first met him while reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild, about a dog named Buck during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush. But, in a bizarre coincidence, I have never read Wild, which one day I will rectify by adding it to my lengthy list of classics to tackle one day. No, I met Buck, the same way I met most characters during my K-12 years, on the screen.
My first encounter went by the name Buck Weaver, shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, played by John Cusack in the 1988 based on a true story film Eight Men Out, adapted from Eliot Asinof’s novel Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series. Of course, I was a too young for the theatrical viewing of the movie, but sometime later I saw it and was enamored by the story, for at the time, baseball to me was magical. It was the American past time, and to watch, be it Hollywood-nized, eight of the game’s greatest players of the time fall victim to skinflints and villains, it was heartbreaking and no one’s story hit me harder than that of Buck Weaver. The real Buck, born George Daniel Weaver, played for the Chicago White Sox from 1912 up until his disbarment from the game of major league baseball in 1920. Unlike, the other seven members, who history refers to as the Black Sox, including famed player Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver denied any involvement in fixing the World Series and maintained his innocence while fighting for reinstatement until his death in 1956.
My second encounter with Buck came years later, again on the screen at first the in literary form. His name was Buck Williams, played by Kirk Cameron in the film adaptation of Left Behind, which after watching, I dove straight into the books to find out the rest of his story. As I read the books, I continued to picture Cameron, hearing his voice whenever Buck spoke and out of any of the other characters, besides the Nicolae Carpathia, Buck was my favorite. I mean, how could I not identify with the writer.
Although neither Buck had any influence on what makes Bartholomew “Buck” tick as a character, they do both lay claim to being his namesakes. One from the realm of history, the other from the realm of fiction.
- 8 winners will each get a print or ebook copy of The Breedling & The City in the Garden (print open to USA & Can / ebook open Int’l)
- 1 winner will get the Chicago Swag Box (USA only) Prize contains: Jay’s Potato Chips, Wrigleys Gum, mug, a book on history of Chicago (Then and Now), a magnet and a few other items
- Ends Dec 17