Silvana The Greening (The first book in the Silvana series of novels) Kindle Edition
|Length: 297 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The grace and mystery of the Silvanii (women of the woods) are enticing, dangerous, and compelling. With their magical singing, a young man can easily be drawn to the forest and the Silvanii.
We first meet Fabiom, the story's hero, as a four year old in the forest dodging older boys who want to bring him home. He does not want to go. He becomes lost, but he is led by woodmaids to the Dancing Glade, drawn to the forest and the haunting, emotive singing. A die is cast. The forest and the Silvanii will be in him from that day forward.
The story is part poetic imagery and part the daily (unusual) happenings in Fabiom's life. He is not an ordinary young man. Tragedy strikes with the death of his father. He must become a responsible adult and leader. His actions in carrying out his duties can have serious consequences and sometimes do. Conversely, the ethereal world of the Silvanii and his deep love for Casandrina -- one of the Silvanii's own -- imparts an otherworldly element to the story.
Love and desire, greed and conflict, duty and politics, mystery and beauty fill the pages of this well-crafted novel, the characters of which are life-like or mysteriously real. Reviewed by the author of The Children's Story, About Good and Evil.
*This review contains mild spoilers*
I was drawn to The Greening because of the cover image, and the fact that it is, in part, about tree spirits – I’m a sucker for fantasy stories about trees. And, I was not disappointed – Belinda Mellor is a wonderfully descriptive writer, and her descriptions of the groves and forests of Deepvale are beautifully realised.
However, the story itself was slightly less satisfying. Mellor has created a complex world, and I don’t feel the story did it justice. The book covers seventeen years and, for me, a lot of what I saw as fairly major events were glossed over, the narrative jumping forward days, months and years without warning – sometimes, disconcertingly, mid-scene. For example, I felt Fabiom’s seven nights in the grove, fighting for his Silvana, deserved far more telling than they received, and the large chunks of time missed out also deserved their stories to be told. Things seemed to be resolved too easily, in some instances, and emotions not dug into deeply enough – at least as far as I was concerned. I was left with questions at the end, rather than answers, although perhaps some of those might be answered in subsequent books.
Perhaps it’s not a bad thing, to have too much story. The Greening is a promising start for Mellor – I just feel a little more character detail and nuance would have made it all the more satisfying. However, if you enjoy reading about love and nature and complex worlds, woven with some really lovely description, then this just might be for you.
This is a beautiful, lyrical tale. The author skilfully weaves a gentle, magical landscape, evoking feelings such as I've never experienced since I read Tolkien's description of Lothorien or the poetry of WB Yeats. This is no tale of an epic struggle between good and evil, but rather a softer story of the conflicts between duty and desire; the need for comfort and security versus the need to preserve what natural heritage has been given to us. The author has crafted a beautiful, bewitching and compelling fantasy world in which to se explore the themes. I strongly recommend this novel, which does not disappoint in any way.
Other characters, like his mother and his Prince, often pulled at Fabiom’s loyalties and again, I felt like I got to watch a compassionate and determined young man grow across the book, in the way he dealt with the expectations of those around him.
'Silvana: The Greening' is definitely for readers who enjoy great prose as much as a great story. I loved the way it interwove dramatic and fantastical elements and added to this were the enchanting settings, especially the Wildwood and Deepvale itself.
Really looking forward to the next one!
Most recent customer reviews
What a lovely book. Literate, elegant and charming, with a touch of whimsy, this is a story in the high fantasy style of Tolkien, although on...Read more