Title: Hiraeth a mark – marc
Author: Liz Riley Jones
Page Count/Review Word Count: 414
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
You might have guessed from the title that this novel is a novel of Celtic proportions – set mainly in modern day Anglesey (Ynys Mon), it’s a bit like a mixture between Harry Potter, Northern Lights and the legendary tales of Welsh and Celtic folklore. If that sounds pretty good to you, that’s probably because it is.
Loosely speaking, the story-line follows a powerful young woman called Mona Jones, who kicks ass at physical combat but who seems aligned with magic from the Irish and Welsh Celts. Her parents are dead, her uncle dies, and she heads off to Ynys Mon on his final instructions to join up with other remnants of the ancient tribes, where she’s initially distrusted and later on slowly accepted in to the community.
There she meets a warrior called Cai, who starts the novel seeming like a reticent and unassuming boy, quickly turns in to a ladies’ man and then transforms yet again, in front of our eyes. There’s a little bit of sex here and there if that’s your thing, but it doesn’t take away from the book as a whole and is dealt with well by the author, especially in one or two of the more delicate scenes.
I won’t spend much more time on the plot, partly because I don’t want to spoil it and partly because there’s a lot to go in to, but suffice to say that it’s a thrilling rollercoaster of an adventure, and a gentle introduction in to Jones’ alternative to our own world.
This is the first book in a trilogy, and if it’s anything to go by then the rest of the series is going to be pretty good and definitely one to watch – it set a precedent, and got me slightly addicted to Wales‘ language and its history. The author has clearly done her research – her fictional world is so authentic that she’s occasionally required to provide translations of Welsh words, and the title of the novel itself is in Welsh.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and even though I was hesitant at first, it was worth sticking with – I was hooked by the end and kind of reticent to leave the book behind.