The Family Shame is a direct continuation of the previous 3 books from the Zero Enigma series by Christopher Nuttall. It would help to read the previous stories but isn't neccessary to enjoy the book on it's own. The story is told in the first person by Isabella Ruben, a teenage magician who has been made outcast by her family after siding with the losing rebellion/takeover by the Crown Prince. She is sent to a distant hall, held by her family and occupied by fellow outcasts. Through the story Isabella learns from her mistakes and becomes a better person even though she still has the inner strength and resolve that lead to her downfall. She advances in her magical studies and makes an unusual friend for a young noblewoman who stands by her in her times of need. I greatly enjoyed the story which is a coming of age story and look forward to a fifth book in the series.
Readers of the previous 3 books know Isabella as a power hungry and somewhat nasty young girl. This is the tale of her redemption. It was interesting to see things through her eyes, as the story progresses she reflects on her previous behaviour and her motivations. By the end my reactions to the character were different. Kirkhaven has the feel of a old haunted manor with a very dark mystery at it's heart. I will be interested to see if this is a standalone or will it be spun off in to it's own series.
This book follows on from the first three books in the Zero Enigma series, but it covers what happens to Isabella (Cat's nemesis and one of the baddies) following the defeat of the Crown Prince's attempted usurping of the throne. Isabella recognises the enormity of her actions and as the heroine is a much more likable character; however she still has her flaws. There is action as well as introspection with a good outcome. An enjoyable read - I recommend it.
An excellent new facet of this brilliant writers world where magic meets the merchant guilds of 1500s Venice and their young, or so it feels! A brilliant addition to the Zero series but also an enjoyable standalone read. Another top notch book from Christopher Nuttall!