Kit Berry; you need to write something sedate, where the characters are never in trouble, nothing bad ever happens and love triumphs over all, because my nerves can’t cope with so much worry and heartache!
I went from wanting to read this constantly to wanting to do a Joey from Friends and put it in the freezer where it wouldn’t be able to hurt me anymore. Shadows at Stonewylde jumps thirteen years ahead from where ‘Solstice of Stonewylde’ left off. Yul is now a man in his prime, he’s successful in Stonewylde and out of it, he’s married to Sylvie and as in love with her as ever, they have two young daughters, and on the surface it seems like they’re doing a brilliant job of running Stonewylde and treating everyone as equals.
But beneath the surface there are cracks. Sylvie became seriously ill after her second child and even though she’s better now Yul has taken over all the running of Stonewylde and she again feels like an outsider with no place there anymore.
Yul’s baby sister Leveret is now fourteen and if anyone remembers from the previous novels, two of her brothers would torment her and make her cry. This has not changed, but now the torment has gotten worse and not even her mother or Yul believe her when she tells them.
My heart bleeds for Leveret and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive Yul for not believing her and looking out for her when she needed him. It’s as if history is repeating itself and he is treating Leveret with the distain and anger he himself was treated with at that age.
The only light in her life is Magpie, a boy she grew up with who has the mind of a child. He’s abused by his mother and her family, the two old crones who caused Sylvie so much pain in the past, and even though the rest of the community knows he’s not looked after properly and Leveret has told them how they beat him, they still turn a blind eye to the abuse.
This made me so mad; the reason Yul and Sylvie fought and worked so hard was for nothing. I was and still am angry on Leveret and Magpie’s behalf.
The cracks of Stonewylde become bigger as the rift between Sylvie and Yul grows, and as the cracks got bigger so did the ones in my heart.
Shadows at Stonewylde is a great continuation of the Stonewylde series, though I was a little disappointed because I wanted to see first hand how Sylvie and Yul coped with the pressures of Stonewylde and of becoming its leader at such young ages. I wanted to read about all the boring stuff, like how Yul learned to read and write, how the villagers took to the new changes, if Sylvie could ever have a proper relationship with her father.
This doesn’t mean I was disappointed in Shadows at Stonewylde, on the contrary it sucked me in and made my heart hurt even more so than all the other novels put together. Probably because I am now so invested in the characters that when they do something wrong I feel it, when they hurt I hurt too.
This is obviously the first in a new series of Stonewylde novels, the magic, intrigue and darkness that made the other novels so unique and interesting is still there, but even more sinister. There is something brewing and only Leveret and Sylvie seem to think it has anything to do with the old Magus.
I would have scored this book a 10/10 but evil mastermind Kit Berry has yet again left this novel on a cliff hanger, so I docked a mark–why I found this so surprising I don’t know, but I am now going to go around for weeks worrying about Leveret and wishing Sylvie and Yul would talk to each other and sort out their problems. Then there’s the discontent in the village…
I hope you’re typing away at your computer Kit Berry, because I need to know what happens next!
I had a hard time reading Shadows at Stonewylde, not because I didn’t like it, but because I liked it too much. It hurts to know that the past trials and tribulations from the previous three books are slowly unravelling here and the characters I’ve come to love so much are unhappy. I was expecting a more upbeat novel where the characters are working together to make Stonewylde a better place and instead I got a novel where everything is disintegrating around them. Pain has never felt so good. I like to be surprised. It’s rare that a series of books affects me so much, but when it does it makes me remember why I love to read.
Gollancz is kindly giving away THREE (3) copies of the first book in the Stonewylde series, Magus of Stonewylde. This giveaway is UK Only and ends Thursday 18th Aug 2011.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
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