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Solstice at Stonewylde Kindle Edition
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All 5 books are spellbinding!! Once you have started the magical journey to Stonewylde and grown familiar with all of the characters (good and bad) and beautiful settings - it is near impossible to put the books down! I found myself reading into the early hours with all 5 books, until my eyes ached, because I was eager to discover how the various twists and turns of the plotlines would unfold!! As with all good books and films etc. it is nice to form a strong emotional connection to the characters involved, to become truly absorbed by the storyline and to experience an emotional response to the characters. This story has it all - characters for whom your heart aches and those you would like to come to a sticky end! The overall story spans many years and throughout that time, you really are taken on a journey, throughout those years and the various events - through darkness and light and back again many times. Many times I thought, how on earth can this be resolved, when all seemed lost?! And I felt eager to keep turning the pages to discover how and what would happen next.
The plot is very intricate and very clever. A 'marriage' of the modern world and more ancient traditional ways. I have been disappointed to read other books where the plot seems contrived and the conclusion is predictable and even worse, leaves me with more questions and loose ends! But now having just concluded the whole series with 'Shaman of Stonewylde' I feel satisfied that all of the characters' stories were tied up nicely, with a surprising conclusion too. In none of the five books did I have any idea how the stories were going to unfold - I couldn't try to second guess anything!! So each book kept me on the edge of my seat!
The 'setting' and inspiration for the series all added to the magic! Providing a wonderful 'backdrop' for the characters to live out their lives and for you to follow each character on their path as the story progresses. Very detailed and informative about all manner of ancient/traditional customs and festivals which were once at the very heart of our culture/communities which have diminished over the years, but thankfully are not lost and are still practised by many. What I did like about this series is that the place of Stonewylde itself has very 'real' foundations, based on the traditional ways and customs, ideas, practices etc. of our countryside and people throughout hundreds and thousands of years - Stonewylde isn't just pure myth and magic and escapism from the world we live in.
I would thoroughly recommend this series of books to all readers - young and old - whatever background or spiritual path - you can take from them whatever you wish to! If you love the spirit of nature, magic, fantasy, history, if you follow the pagan path or you just want to enjoy a gripping, inspirational series of stories with a variety of interesting, charismatic, loveable (and unloveable!) characters then I am sure you will be mesmerised by this series of books, as I have been. A real gem. Thank you Kit!
This is a much darker book than the previous two. Both the main characters, Yul and Sylvie, start the book in a dark place and as the tensions build toward the prophesied endgame at the Winter Solstice things do not get better for them. The character of Magus is a scarily bad man, sometimes "villains" in literature can be a bit too cardboard and pantomime like but he is believable in his nastiness. The book was gripping and well written - this really does deserve to be the Next Big Thing.
One final thing - there was one scene, towards the very end of this book (can't go into details, sorry - spoilers!) that was possibly the most beautifully written and moving piece of work it has ever been my good fortune to read.
Looking forward to book 4 in August to see where Ms. Berry takes the series.
To read these books, you have to be a person who enjoys the mystery and wonder of nature, be curious about how the ancients lived laughed and believed. How they harnessed the seasons, worshipped and drew upon knowledge and ancient crafts. Kit Berry makes it very believable in my book, actually makes more sense to me than the more traditional religions nowadays. However that is personal. Solstice is a really good read, take no notice of the reviews that nitpick for no good reason.
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. This allows the reader to understand the consequences for 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 some 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 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 totally 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 the characters that Kit has created.
Go out and read all three books: "The Magus of Stonewylde"; "Moondance at Stonewylde" and "Solstice at Stonewylde". You won't be disappointed.
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