Why I Read It: I like the idea of recovering lost things, like ancient religions and cultures.
Where I Got It: Review copy from the publisher (thanks!)
Who I Recommend This To: Perhaps someone doing metaphysical or religious studies might find it interesting.
Publisher: Virtual Bookworm Publishing (2012)
Length: 247 pages
Sage is a 16 year-old woman, in body, and far more ancient in spirit. Leaving home to escape her abusive father, she seeks solitude in the forests of England. There she meets a magician, Artos, who gifts her with a deck of cards that have the ability to transport her to different places and allows her to talk with various beings and animals and moss. As Sage learns about her spiritual past, she gains exponentially in ability and understanding. She has a destiny and that is to bring the ancient land and knowledge of Avalon back to her present time. The second half of the book bestows a similar destiny upon another woman, Axis, to bring Avalon to her future.
I really wanted to like this book. In the end, I could respect the underlying idea, but the story-telling execution was sloppy. There are no dates used in this book, so that made the timeline very murky. However, this was kind of explained in a psuedo-metaphysical sense – that all time is really a dot and everything is happening now. Maybe. Interesting concept to ponder; makes for a lousy storyline. The back of the book sets the beginning of this book at 1000 AD, England. So, if I use that as a starting point, I still have lots of issues. Terms like ESP (yes, an actual acronym, set in 1000 AD), astral projection, force field, standard earth reality, & comprehensive global memory were used throughout this book. The vocabulary the author uses is really important in world building – make me believe we are in the forests of England in the year 1000 AD.
Lisa Lody used real places that still exist int he UK today, like Glastonbury (which is tentatively linked to ancient Avalon) and Snowdonia. I really liked this aspect a lot, because I look this stuff up. Tidbits like this encourage me to explore my world a bit more. However, she has a group of ladies traveling between these 2 points on horseback in 3 days (no, they weren’t hurrying). By today’s roads, that trip is 192 miles. A good horse can usually do 20-30 miles per day walking. Readers also look this stuff up too, so back to that line about world building above.
Animals, especially cats, features heavily in this book, another bonus. There were also beavers, a fox, and various birds. However, some of these animals strayed outside of their known ancestral habitat for this book – such as the Great Blue Heron (uncommon in Europe) and the Blue Jay (native to North America). Reference the line about world building. There was also the use of red coral and an Indian tapestry is a ceremony that was set in 1000 AD (best guess since dates aren’t used). There just wasn’t a whole lot of trade world wide at that time. Then there are the rabbits. Now this isn’t the first author I have noted who misplaced rabbits, but the earliest recordings of rabbits in the UK come from the 12th century. So, plausible they were around in 1000 AD, but with all the other misfacts in the book, I tend to think the author didn’t research this tidbit either.
While I liked the inclusiveness of various religions, I found the tale a bit one sided; the focus was on the lost knowledge of Avalon and not a sharing between it and the existing religion of the land. Most of the characters are one dimensional and the plot was weak, making it difficult for me to suspend my disbelieve and enjoy this tale. Additionally, the ending was not satisfying (but I won’t spoil it here).
What I Liked: Lots of animals; respect for multiple religions; the cover; use of real places.
What I Disliked: This book felt like a rough 2nd draft instead of a finished product; no depth in characters or world building; weak ending.