This story has quite an unusual setting. It is never spelt out but it seems to be set in America in the Dark Ages. Known as The Great Turtle Lands, the majority of the population are the peaceful Shining Star people, a small dark race that listen to the shaman’s and honour all living things. Amongst them are a handful of refugees from a Viking-like world. They live peaceably having adopted the ways of the Shining Star people, except suddenly now a shaman has appeared and is insisting that dark days approach and Greeta must walk with her in the dreamtime. A key to the survival of all people in the Great Turtle Lands will be a gift that Greeta doesn’t yet know she has.
But she can’t leave now, she doesn’t want to be different, all she has ever wanted is marry Wapiti and have lots of babies. She runs to find him, hoping to convince him that they should delay no longer, instead she finds him with her cousin who taunts her for being tall and pale. Worse, Wapiti laughs at her too. For the first time in her life, Greeta is beginning to realize she has nowhere to fit in. Trying to run from her pain she agrees to go with the Shaman, but it seems she’s about to leap into much more pain than she’s leaving behind.
That’s when this story takes a sharp leap into a fantastical world. Not that I’m criticising mind, I like it when writers take a genre and give it a different treatment. This author is pretty good at it too, though to be fair she’s had a bit of practise as she has already written another series of books based in this world.
I liked this book, I felt I could trust the writer to deliver and I wasn’t wrong to do so. She keeps the story cracking along, throwing in healthy measures of danger, temptation and confusion to keep things interesting. We could probably do with seeing a bit more depth in most of the characters but I think that may happen as the series develops. She has the skill to do that and proves it with one of the characters Greeta meets in the dreamtime – a wonderfully unapologetic older woman very much in charge of her own destiny.
This makes for a good escapist read and is certainly suitable for those aged about thirteen and up.
3 and a half bites.