Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening by Gina Dickerson
I was very pleased to be given a copy of this book by The Book Club on Facebook in return for a fair and honest review. All views are my own.
“For everyone who sees a little magic in the ordinary”
Nineteen years ago on the Isle of Stone a tall menacing figure demands that Father Peter hands over a child that has just been born, and when a younger man scares it off, the figure turns into a hideous black cat with flanks of rotting flesh. This is our introduction to the strange world that is about to reveal itself to us.
Kaelia is introduced to us with her friend Bay at the age of eleven, playing in a local playground that will play a significant role in her life. She is a happy, seemingly normal young girl with her life ahead of her, when out of the blue strange things start to happen or rather she makes strange things happen. Fast forward to present day, Kaelia and Bay are now nineteen years old and on a trip out with their college, when an unthinkable accident happens – or is it? Kaelia begins to think that strange forces are at work, the “them” that her parents have warned her about. So begins Kaelia’s journey to discover her destiny, by way of a magic book, a huge wolf in a cave, and a journey to the Isle of Stone where a long lost grandmother lives. Maybe she will hold the answers to Kaelia’s questions and shed some light on the mysterious Salloki whom her parents had warned her about.
A confession. I really haven’t read much fantasy fiction, probably only Harry Potter and the Twilight series in recent years, with my kids. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this young adult series opener or whether I would like it. But one of the things that I love about being a part of a book club, and specifically The Book Club on Facebook, is being given the opportunity and encouragement to try different genres and new authors.
This book came along at a time when I have been having what us “spoonies” (chronically ill) describe as a flare and as such I have been tied to the sofa for more hours than I would prefer, and equally have had periods of brain fog which doesn’t lend itself to Tolstoy. Ms Dickerson’s Kaelia was perfect for me! I found the book easy to read and quickly became totally absorbed in the trials and tribulations of this young flame haired lady as she learnt to harness her powers. The mix between the real world and the magic world sitting right under the nose of us mere mortals was just right. I enjoyed the suspense as Kaelia discovered her birth line and those pledged to help her in her task to fulfil her destiny. There are some lovely characters – particular favourites of mine were the students at the magic academy, Cadence and Jade, the Sifars – and even the wolf, a Vallesm, takes on a character of his own. The darker characters are described so well: Thom who emanates a stench of decay and changes into a horse with putrid, rotting flesh in order to re-enter the underworld; Bran, the Necromancer who can bring back the dead, is dressed in black and described as the other side to the coin of Kaelia – is his interest and friendship for Kaelia genuine or purely a means to an end?
I don’t want to reveal any spoilers and it is hard to talk too much without doing so! But what I will tell you is that this a good, fun fantasy, in my opinion ideal for young adults….and us adults who are young at heart! My teenage daughter is going to give it a go – as a Harry Potter fanatic I expect her critique to be pretty hard. So going back to my original confession…..I have another to add to it. I enjoyed this enough that I have also read the next in the series, and enjoyed book 2 even more! Roll on book 3, Gina Dickerson……
4 Stars ****