This year I decided as an Indie author myself, that I really should read some of the other Indie authors up here on cyberspace. I also decided it would be a good time to try new genres or indeed revist the modern versions of those I had read as a youngster. Step over the comfortable lines I had drawn around my reading habits over the years.
This week I have been reading YA, a term new to us in Britain, but which seems to be very popular with all ages over in America. I am very new to the YA genre, and am well out of the age range:( I have recently, though, dipped the odd toe or two. I understand why they are written as they are and, on the whole, approve of stories that encourage, advise and inspire. They have never been part of my reading diet though; in a time of wartime shortages I teethed on adult tales of an altogether different ilk, but I am glad to have read Dark Star by Prudence MacLeod
This is a tale of ‘good’ witchcraft and religion, of intolerance and tolerance, belief and non-belief. It is also a testament to the power of friendships, relationships and love. A story about a group of children condemned for using ‘dark arts’, combined with paranormal creatures and man-made spells, this is not my normal reading matter but nothing ventured nothing ever, in this world, is gained.
The hero of the story leaves her family and her church, both of whom have tried to deny her the right to practice her own beliefs. In her angst, and plotting revenge, she begins to dabble in the dark side of witchery. Always a bad move. I’ll not narrate the storyline as I am not keen on spoilers, suffice to say she unleashes some formidably dark forces and imperils the world.
I enjoyed the play between ‘modern religion’ and the ‘age old’. Found the lengths that people and establishments will go to in order to preserve their beliefs and identities, handled well. The children, as they mature into the world’s future, find strength in true friendship and bonding, facing incredible dangers and responsibilities well, becoming stronger for it.
To my surprise I found Dark Star a page turner! I became involved with the characters, wanting them to succeed, to survive, and although I knew they probably would, I wasn’t always sure of that point, Prudence Macleod keeps the tension going well.
I’m an old cynic and found the ending improbable, but maybe the folk I hang out with are not as nice as you folk across the pond. Would the church behave so in the end? I am not sure that tolerance or understanding stretches that far. But hey, it’s a book about dark portals, ancient magic, nasty beasties, and if I can believe in all those then I will suspend belief in this matter also and accept the ending fits.
A thoroughly good read, thank you very much Prudence.
Will I continue to dip toes in this genre, I think I will. The three I have tried so far have satisfied the younger me, residing still within the crust of too many decades:)
Dark Star can be found at the following