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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating mystical and fantasy story, 8 May 2008
By 
M. Mesco - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mariard Volume 1 The gifting (Paperback)
With a powerful story line and an author with a strong commitment to vivid character portrayal, ‘Mariard: Volume One’ dazzles the reader and stands out as an accomplished feat of fantasy storytelling. As characters emerge and the plot unwinds, the world of the Mariard comes alive, paradoxically strikingly unique but, at times, wholly familiar. The time honoured duel between good and evil is set out from the outset, and carries us tantalisingly through a sequence of emotion to the fascinating denouement.

Artmemis, the mystical priestess, foretells the fall of the Mariard world and sets in place plans to ensure future survival. When, through the predestined corruption of the Kings son, Marcale, the Necropolin take command, it is left to the following generations to fight for the kingdom. Vieanne, the Kings daughter, has two ‘gifted’ children who grow up to represent their people and whose destiny it is to conquer the evil twins of the Necropolin leader. As the true depths of their ‘gifting’ develop, other characters take centre stage and unexpected twists and turn both help and hinder their advance.

The story at its most simple is a powerful account of the forces of good fighting evil, but different characters bring varying aspects to the plot. Far from confining the battlefield to a place for men, women play an equally important role in the action, both in terms of violence and compassion. Sacrifice, love, guilt and passion are bundled up together in a flashing novel of significant value.

As the novel progresses we come to question who is in control, and how much power the characters have over their own destiny. As each character comes to understand their gifting, we come to wonder whether they are indeed pawns for a greater cause. Jones’ abilities to keep the reader guessing contributes to a fast-paced and ever changing narrative that passes us like a whirlwind.

Christine Jones is a masterful storyteller who brings the book to life through vivacious characterisation and a driving plot that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout. The novel is engaging throughout and we come to empathise with the characters as we see the plot developing in the utterly clear image of the Mariard world. The conclusion to the novel leaves the reader wanting more and has set a significantly high standard against which subsequent volumes will stand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining fantasy novel, 17 April 2005
This review is from: Mariard Volume 1 The gifting (Paperback)
Readers who like fantasy with surprise twists, well-developed characters, and complex mythologies need look no further than Mariard Volume 1 The Gifting.
Australian author Christine Jones starts with a gothic setting, soon involving her large and often contentious cast in a deadly game that keeps changing and growing. Instead of giving us the stock dumb brutes and dumber wenches of too many fantasy adventures, Jones peoples the competing kingdoms with strong female characters and surprisingly emotional men. All of the characters evolve further over the course of the novel, as they face the game.
This book introduces fantasy fans to gifted players, and to a gifted author. Jones makes the game seem real with her vivid descriptions and sharp dialogue, even though everything might not be as real as it seems to the players. To see what I mean, join in the game, the journey, by reading this entertaining fantasy novel.
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Mariard Volume 1 The gifting
Mariard Volume 1 The gifting by Christine Jones (Paperback - 10 Dec 2004)
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