"This story is fantasy at its darkest"
The street urchin Esmeree was born with a stone of
considerable size and power in her chest. She lives among
people who fear magic and she must learn to control
her 'Witch Ember' stone before she is declared a witch and
put to death. Lady Andelliza learns of Esmeree's Witch
ember and begins to educate her on how to use it well.
Also a friend and mentor called Myrdd hopes to have Esmeree
grow up to marry above her social status.
Of course Esmeree's ember is not kept a secret forever and
when she hits puberty she starts to run for her life. Her
only hope is that she will survive another day and master
her ember before she is captured by the Inquisition. Her
life was never easy but it becomes even harder as she grows
up fast to keep herself alive and sane.
This story is fantasy at its darkest. The author has
written a story that could be a fairy tale with an 18
rating. Creating a world with so much depth must be hard
work but the author's smooth writing makes it seem so
easy. With so many interesting characters and exciting
places in this book it is easy to get lost in the wonderful
seven kingdoms that he has created.
The main character Esmeree is only a child when this book
begins but she soon develops into a fine, strong and
magical young woman. Every life experience is something
she learns from and it only makes her character even more
precious and fierce. Her story is intense and some readers
will be shocked at some of the language and situations the
young woman encounters but at the end of the day this depth
only enhances the world the reader is pulled into.
What struck me most about this novel is the language that
was used. With snippets of Welsh, Gaelic and other Celtic
tongues the author has gone to a lot of trouble to complete
his world and make it more realistic for the reader.
Sometimes the dialects can be hard to follow but a great
glossary of the words and terms are to be found at the back
of the book. There are also a lovely amount of
illustrations in the book which gives the mind a rest. It
also helps make the descriptions in the story even more
This is a graphic fantasy novel and anybody who loves
reading Maria V. Snyder's 'Study' series or 'The Noble
Dead' series by Barb Hendee & J.C. Hendee will want to give
this novel a try. With a second part in the series 'The
Raven' waiting for readers this debut is worth some time
Reviewed by Amber Chalmers
Posted May 3, 2008