I was fortunate to be given an ARC of this book by the author & publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
This is the third book in the Mortiswood series, the young adult fantasy fiction following the story of Kaelia and in this case I would recommend that the other two books are read first: Mortiswood Kaelia Arising and Mortiswood Kaelia Falling. (Book Review “Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening” – a little magic in the ordinary)
The story continues with Kaelia having been reunited with her mother and father, but also discovering that her mother is the goddess Vanadis who guided her early on in the tale. After a short time with her family, Kaelia and Bay (her Vallesm boyfriend) must return to their own world to battle with the Salloki and their evil leader Thom, who plan to take over the human Earth. They find that Thom and his new wife Cadence, previously human but now a Draugr, have wreaked havoc in Margate and killed many humans – and these bodies are now inhabited by Salloki souls preparing for battle. Are you keeping up?
Bay is outraged to find that his father, head of the Vallesm (human/wolf), does not believe that his relationship with Kaelia can survive and instructs him to pair with a Vallesm girl. This view point seems to be borne out when Kaelia disappears for weeks with Bran. Do you remember him? Bran and Kaelia are described as the opposite sides to a coin, he the darkness to her light and they draw on the other’s strengths enhancing their own powers. There is an attraction between them that neither can shake off, even if Kaelia desperately wants to for Bay’s sake, and Bran has ulterior motives for winning Kaelia’s trust. Kaelia is experiencing a darker side to her magic now as the darkness seems to speak to her more and more.
Determined not to let whatever magic was deceiving her, win, Kaelia charged
back out into the corridor and, using her magical speed, flew through corridor
after corridor, up and down staircase after staircase until the light outside had
slipped into darkness.
‘Why won’t you let me go?’ Kaelia pulled at her hair and collapsed in a heap
outside the room with the bed.
‘You don’t want to leave,’ Bran said, startling Kaelia. He held a crystal
candelabra in one hand, wax dripping from the burning tips of the three gold
candlesticks and running over the crystal.
‘Of course I do. Stop playing tricks on me. This is your doing. I don’t know what
you’re playing at and I don’t care, just stop whatever it is and let me out.’ She
jumped up and glared at Bran. ‘I’ll fight you if I have to.’
‘There’s no need to be stroppy with me, I’m not doing anything.’ Bran set the
candelabra on the small stand beside the chair outside of the bedroom and folded
his arms over his slender chest. ‘It’s all part of the tower’s protection. You can
leave if you want to but if you don’t want to, you can’t. It’ll keep you here until
you really want to leave. It’s the tower’s way of keeping you safe.’
‘I don’t want your stupid tower to keep me safe. I’m quite capable of looking
Bran reached her in two easy strides. Sparks of cool purple light crackled from
them both as he pressed close against Kaelia, trapping her between him and the
wall. ‘The tower knows the secrets you can’t speak, those you can’t admit even to
‘Rubbish!’ Kaelia shivered from the transference of power.
Such a feeling, a powerful, intoxicating feeling.
Only achievable with Bran.
No-one else could make her feel like this.
They were two sides of a coin.
Night and day.
Dark and light.
Kaelia shook her head. No, it was the power surge talking, not her, she was
nothing like him and needed nothing from him!
Yet part of her yearned for it, the power they shared whenever they touched.
Right then and there it was as if she needed it so much she couldn’t live without
Meanwhile Calix, another human friend, has been taken by Thom to be turned into a Draugr – will Kaelia be able to reach him in time? The battles and deceptions rage throughout the tale, until Kaelia is left at the end in no doubt as to what her destiny really means.
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It is very difficult to give a succinct outline of the story and give no spoilers…in fact there is so much action in this chapter of the Mortiswood tales that it impossible to make it succinct. It feels like being on a rollercoaster ride as the tale lurches from one action packed event to another with such high energy and speed. I love the way that the realms of the fantasy world are woven into our mundane world, with crucial battle scenes happening at the seafront at Margate! The writing is colourful and bright, painting a great image of the characters and the action – the descriptions of the bone furniture in the Salloki fortress are particularly gruesome! The characters all go from strength to strength – goodies & baddies! – developing their good or evil sides, their mystical powers and using their humanity. The relationships between the characters continue to weave in and out of love, deception, alliances and sworn enemies. This is not the final instalment of the Mortiswood story and Ms Dickerson leaves us on the edge of our seats with a cliff-hanger…..
Another thoroughly enjoyable, easy to read tale – Mortiswood remains a guilty pleasure for this middle-aged mum!! 4 stars.
About the author:
Gina Dickerson lives by the Thanet coast on the north-eastern tip of
Kent within the UK, with her family and bouncy Siberian husky.
Having previously worked for a Local Authority, and been a Systems
Supervisor for the departmental database, Gina is now a full-time
author and designer. Her books include the dark urban fantasy
Mortiswood Tales series, Lies Love Tells – part of the thrilling romantic
suspense Eastcove Lies series, dark fairy tales The Pennington
Christmas Curse and Always Golden, as well as a collection of her dark
short stories, Underleaf.
Gina has also written newspaper articles, and was a fashion and
shopping columnist for her local newspaper, as well as having had short
stories and poetry published in anthologies. She designs book covers
and other promotional material under the name RoseWolf Design, and
belongs to the author co-operative Authors Reach.