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The Gifting (The Gathandrian Trilogy) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 26, 2013
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About the Author
Anne Brooke scribbles away in a variety of genres, including gay romance, fantasy, comedy, thrillers, biblical fiction and the occasional chicklit novel. When the wind's in the right direction, she has even won a writing prize or two, and has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. An Essex Girl at heart, Anne now lives in Surrey with her long-suffering husband and spends a lot of time in the garden attempting to differentiate between flowers and weeds. Her websites can be found at: www.annebrooke.com, www.gayreads.co.uk, www.biblicalfiction.co.uk and www.gathandria.com (for fantasy fiction).
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From the blurb: The mind-dwellers of Gathandria are under deadly siege. For two year-cycles they have suffered: their people decimated, their beautiful city in ruins. Their once peaceful life has descended into chaos and misery. Legends tell of the Lost One who will return at such a time to save them from their mortal enemy - the mind-executioner.
Johan and Isabella journey to the Lammas Lands in search of the one they think might be the Lost One, a distant cousin and lowly scribe, Simon Hartstongue, but Johan has his doubts because Simon is a coward and a murderer. How can such a person be the one who will save their country?
They find Simon and the book tells us the story of their journey to Gathandria interwoven with stories from Simon's past. Through the stories, Simon comes to understand himself, and through the deadly challenges posed by their journey, he and his companions comes to discover his deeper qualities. The results are surprising for them all.
The mind-executioner who has absolute power with a stolen mind-cane tracks them throughout their journey, always just behind them and intent on killing Simon. When the cane strikes Simon, it should kill him, but it doesn't, and eventually Simon comes to realise that he has a powerful gift. However, in order to use it he needs a strong, pure mind. At Johan's request, Simon tells his stories, going deeper into his past as the story progresses. The storytelling cleanses and protects them, a wonderful theme that parallels the healing affect of recounting one's childhood traumas for a councillor or psychiatrist.
The character development is exemplarity. It's rare that you see characters grow so deeply and well supported by the action.
The story is told from four points of view, three on the journey and one in Gathandria. The chapters are divided into sections, sometimes very short, labelled with the name of the character whose viewpoint that section is written in. At first, these quick changes were a little disconcerting, but it soon became part of the rhythm of the story, and some of the surrealistic action might have been confusing without the different viewpoints.
What was even stranger was the occasional use of present tense at the beginning of a change from one point of view to another. Tense is a risky thing to play with and it did jolt a little, but it also highlighted aspects of the action. I think the author pulled it off, but others may disagree. The story would have read more smoothly without it. I'm giving it 4 stars and I recommend it for anyone who likes something different and especially if they like a bit of psychological depth in their reading.
This is a fantastic fantasy that kept me glued to the pages! I loved it!
Johan and Isabella are brother and sister. They are complex characters. Johan is a man of pure spirit; he is kind and considerate. Isabella has a secret, and is willing to kill to protect it. They have been sent on a mission to find Simon, in the hopes that he will be The One to stop the mind-executioner, Gelahn.
Simon is another fantastic character. He has a big heart, but has his love been misplaced? I really felt for this character, as he has to face the consequences of his actions. He see's himself as a coward, but I don't see him that way. He is actually quite brave, but misguided.
This story is totally captivating! I loved the imagery and vivid descriptions of the different worlds that the trio traverse.
I love the way the story flows, with the different points of view from not only Johan, Isabella and Simon, but from Annyeke (one of the Gathandrian's) too. This is a tale of magic, love, loss and betrayal that had me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
The ending is bittersweet, but it makes me look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Anne Brooke has written a compelling fantasy that swept me away to a land of danger and adventure. I am adding Anne to my favourite authors list - not only is she an accomplished children's story writer, but a fantastic fantasy novelist! I highly recommend this book if you love fantasy novels. - Lynn Worton