Posts Tagged ‘Middle Ages’

A Necklace of Souls by R.L. Stedman

January 15, 2013 Comments off

Necklace SoulsA Necklace of Souls by R.L. Stedman. Pub. HarperCollins, 2013.

The hardest genre of fiction to review is fantasy. Astonishingly fantasy to be credible needs to be believable. Fortunately in this first novel for Dunedin writer R L Stedman she has got the credible part right. The reader can believe what is happening.

Set in the  Kingdom of the Rose, an island dominated by The Castle of the Fallen, in a time period like the Middle Ages. Those inside the Kingdom are protected from the outside world by the Guardian who wears a powerful necklace dominated by a big ruby. Possessing the Necklace is a burden and the current wearer is Rosa the sister of the King  of the Rose Kingdom.

The king has a daughter, Dana, who is 14 years old and like her father has  dreams of things that are yet to come or have already happened. The dreams are often brutal and tell of death and destruction in the Rose Kingdom at the hands of an invading army.

Dana is to inherit the Necklace and become the new Guardian, but she doesn’t want to. She meets a boy Will who is a baker of bread, and whom possesses other skills that will make him a good warrior and be needed in what is to happen. Will’s parents die in the plague and he is fortunate to be allowed residency in the Rose Kingdom.

Rose and Will are to face an Ancient enemy who is on the rise and who wants the necklace. Good stuff.

Intermediate and secondary in appeal. Readers of fantasy have plenty to get their teeth into.

Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan

July 1, 2012 Comments off

Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan. Pub. Scholastic, 2012. 

This is one of the loveliest novels I have read in some time. It is set in the Middle Ages , a time of superstition, hardship and religious bigotry. A time when a man could be hung for zilch and a woman burnt as a witch for being  joyous.

I like it most because it is a love story between two unlikely characters who do not realise they are destined to be together.

Harry is known as a half-wit because he is big and slow and often makes mistakes. Gwenifer is a slave to her aunt and uncle who treat her appallingly and do everything to make her feel bad about herself. Harry likes Gwenifer but thinks he has a better chance of laying an egg than he has with laying with Gwenifer.

Gwenifer falls victim to a handsome man who discards her to marry another village girl. An accident which involves both Harry and Gwenifer leads the unlikely couple to go on a pilgrimage with a blind old woman called Dorit to a statue in Ransomwood that is said to cry tears of the Virgin Mary.

A likely story you say and you would be right. But the adventure is incredible.

Brilliantly told by one of New Zealand’s best story tellers. This novel will melt your heart.