Small Places by Matthew Samuels

About the Book
As provided to me

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.


**You can find Small Places on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Goodreads.**


My Review


(Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from Storytellers On Tour for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own and are honest and unbiased.)

Small Places by Matthew Samuels plodded along at a slow but comfortable pace that suited the quaint characters. If you're looking for a book that'll grant you time to appreciate the magical, charming atmosphere and settings the author created, you'll probably love this. Though I expected more action sooner, many other facets of the story held my interest well, including the exciting, otherworldly scenes, the mystery aspects of the work, and the splendid world-building. I adored the assortment of unique characters, especially the nonbinary character, Merovech. There's some profanity and mild gore, so I think Small Places is more suitable for mature young adults and older audiences.

Matthew Samuels told the story from Jamie's first-person perspective, but while Jamie was a decent, sympathetic main character, a few other characters stood out to me more. Jamie's palpable grief added extra heaviness to the work, but it was balanced out well by a good amount of humor. Despite an epic climax, the abrupt conclusion felt somewhat incomplete. Jamie's arc seemed clipped, as I was left wondering what he'd end up doing with his life. At the same time, since my other questions were answered and I could infer what wasn't explicitly stated, the ending was satisfying enough. All in all, Small Places was a delightful, imaginative urban fantasy read that I recommend to lovers of the genre.


Trigger Warning: Strong language and violence throughout, with some graphic injury detail, scenes of involuntary restraint, giant spiders, dead animals, implied cruelty to animals, some fantastical creatures of a horrifying nature, cancer, mention of previous self-harm, and an instance of a drink being tampered with.


About the Author 
As provided to me
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.
To connect with Matthew Samuels and learn more about his other work, please visit his website. You can also find him on Twitter and Instagram.
To follow the tour for Small Places, please click here.

Storytellers On Tour is hosting a tour-wide giveaway!
Click here for more details and to enter.
 One of three physical copies of Small Places by Matthew Samuels

Start Date
August 1st, 2021 at 12:00am EST
 End Date
August 8th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST

Visit the links above for details on this giveaway. General giveaway guidelines and terms can be found on my site here, though since Kayla C. Reviews is not in charge of this giveaway, those terms may or may not apply to this particular event.