Review: Welcome to Blackwood

Published by Hawkeye Books Australia

I read Welcome to Blackwood in a day because I found it very hard to put down. The humour, especially in the dialogue, crackles along and the writing is confident and assured.

More than that, Khaiah Thomson has created a fascinating parallel world where most people are Mundane (I’m guessing they don’t call themselves that) but a minority are Supernatural. Mundanes know about Supers but don’t necessarily approve of them. Supernaturals have a number of sub-groups, the most common of which is Shapeshifting.

Enter Freya, the funny, feisty 17 year old narrator of the story. Her Mum and brother are Wolfshifters (friendly Werewolf types who don’t need to hunt). Freya has a much rarer talent, inherited from her Dad. Her abilities are extremely unpopular with Mundanes and Supers alike – and can prove deadly.

Freya is not yet fully in control of her powers, which leads to a nasty incident in the mainstream Mundane world. She and her family escape to Blackwood, her Mum’s home town, where she can start afresh pretending to be a Mundane … but Blackwood isn’t as idyllic as it seems. And in any case, trouble seems to follow Freya …

The plot fizzes along – finding out about the Supernaturals way of life is fascinating, then there’s an arrogant but wildly attractive Wolfshifter for Freya to contend with, tensions between the different Super factions in Blackwood and the mystery of her father’s death to solve. On top of all that, Freya needs to come to terms with what she is and work out who she can trust.

Whilst there are some classic elements to the story you may have come across before (a teenager looking to find her place in the world; the tension of a star-crossed romance; supernatural characters) they are given a fresh twist so you have the joy of familiarity but in a whole new context.

All in all a very satisfying read that kept me on my toes throughout. I am looking forward to the sequel and another visit to Blackwood.

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