I read, I write, and I majored in German and Muggle Studies. my favorite genres are historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. Lookout for reviews of the YA and MG persuasions!
*note: I received a copy of this book to read via Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback.
Lia, a determined girl devoted to her family and their "old ways" of life (herbal remedies, belief in magics) must set off into the dangerous and forbidden land that borders their own--Brume, a place of phantasms, and who knows what else beyond the mists, in order to find a cure for a terrible poison spread by an equally terrible and twisted invasive nettle.
The part of this book that I loved most had to be the fantastic inclusion of botanical elements--the greenery was enchanting, and the world of Brume inviting and frightening all at once. While the story of a young girl discovering she has powers beyond her every inkling is very common these days, this book makes its telling so unique that it is difficult to put down.
Lia's devotion to her family and their memory is especially strong; it resonated with me, and it was refreshing to read. She is treated as an outcast by the appalled townspeople who want nothing to do with magic or herbal lore, but she is treasured by her family.
Family is one of the major themes this book touches upon. Others include strength of belief, truth, and the meaning and reach of power.
The standout character by far is Lia; the others involved in the story paled a bit in comparison. I would have liked to have been shown a little more of their character as opposed to told, but it did not detract from the story, or its fast, engrossing pace.
Ms. Mercer's description of the lands of Brume captures the imagination, and the riddle passages were well-done. I wished that there was a little more detail or discussion of the political situation of Nemetona, but again, this did not detract that much from the telling of the story.
This book would appeal primarily to female readers of fantasy, or fans of the quest. Readers interested in herbal lore, or Celtic elements would probably enjoy it as well. Aside from the desperate situation, and occasional violence, I would say that the book is suitable for both advanced and YA readers.
I will be looking forward to the second installment!