I managed to get an advanced, autographed copy of this book from the author Kit Berry at last weekend’s Halloween Festival (before I fell ill).
The story of Sylvie, Yul, the Magus and the community continues in this the third book of the Stonewylde series. This third book does wind up the major plot line involving the three main characters, but still leaves some questions which will allow for the next two books. I expect I will read these in one sitting, as I did with the first three novels.
Kit Berry is certainly a talented writer, allowing the reader to revel in the atmosphere of the Stonewylde community for a few blissful moments before taking up the narrative. The author also has the knack of being able to provide a backstory simply, and almost subtlely thus allowing the reader to understand the behaviour of certain characters without the need for long explanatory notes by the author. This allows the storyline to continue at a cracking pace.
There are some developments in this book that may leave a few readers disturbed, certainly I did a bit of skimming over the sections when Sylvie is in the rooms of the Magus – not because the writing was lacking, but because the situation was more than a little uncomfortable and given that I had guessed a certain “twist”, it made it even harder to read. It might not affect all readers this way, but it did me.
I still have the same small personal quibbles I did when I read the first two books: I don’t agree with the supposed “ancient” nature of the festivals used by the Stonewylde community, given they are based on wic(c)an beliefs, but this won’t be a bother to 99% of the people who read these books; and there are some unanswered questions left, though this time the main plot has resolved itself and the reader is not left on a cliffhanger. Mind you, the latter is placated by a note from the author at the back of the paperback copy – there are more books in the series.
The books are aimed at the young adult market, but don’t let that fool you. Adults of all ages will derive enjoyment from this book, just as the first two. Certainly, the Stonewylde community is pagan, but readers of all denominations will still revel in the community and characters that Kit has created.