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The Song of the Wren-Falcon: The First Prophecy (The Adelfian Prophecies) (Volume 1) Paperback – November 23, 2014
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About the Author
Mary Ruth Pursselley is an Ozarks farm girl who has worked as a kennel assistant, stable hand, and janitor in the past. She currently teaches music and works as a freelance editor to pay the bills, since there’s “not a lot of money in revenge.” She’s a Hobbit at heart, so she spends as much time as possible at home on her family’s beef ranch, and enjoys expanding her personal library, studying creation apologetics, designing and wearing costumes every chance she gets, and drinking large amounts of tea.
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Although the reader suspects that the good Adelphians must triumph in the end, from the start we are warned that there is a “dark journey” ahead, and it is foreshadowed that one or more key characters will suffer or even die in the conflict. Beside stirring battle scenes and duels, there is a touching love story, a delightful journey to a pastoral mountain enclave, suspicions, conflicting loyalties, and betrayals.
The two Moritarc sorcerors, in their backstabbing ambition, are perfect foils for the devout Adelphians. The weaker of the two sorcerors, the jealous Shekiah, makes up for her weakness by devious schemes to crush her rival. She has such a vivid personality that I was rooting for her to succeed in spite of her evil nature.
The protagonist, Orienne, has an interesting special power which, in the context of the story, seems almost a disability due to the embarrassment it causes. In her vulnerability she comes alive as a person that the reader can identify with. The story is told from multiple points of view and the style never gets in the way as the reader is just swept along with the action as if being personally there. It would make a great movie. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I would like to see a sequel.
I got a crush on this book, particularly the ending. Not a crush on the characters, but on the story as a whole, complete with an inability to stop thinking about it and butterflies in the stomach. I am a Song of the Wren-Falcon fangirl now.
That being said, it was hard for me to get into this book. I struggled through the first 8 chapters trying to keep non-descript military men straight and struggling with the lack of personality among the supporting cast. However, the plot carried me through and by chapter 9 the characters began to pull out personalities and shouldered the story also. Mary Ruth Pursselley has a talent for drawing the readers not only into the battlefields, but also into the internal battles as the characters wrestle with themselves and trust in the Shield as they find their place in His plan. Unlike some Christian fantasy books where God is used only to encourage characters to find their own inner strength, the author writes Him as someone who is in complete control and aligns every situation. Characters find their strength in Him and wrestle with themselves into trusting His plan, something I enjoyed and found heartening.
Overall this is an exciting story of the Shield's goodness and a well told story of trust in Him and redemption through Him that transcends time and genre.
Best for Ages: 15 and up
I first became acquainted with Pursselley’s work when I read the Sci-fi analogy Avenir Eclectia. I really enjoyed her stories in that collection, so I was very eager to read a whole book written by her.
I loved Orienne from the very first page. I felt I could relate to her on so many levels. She was feminine without being weak, independent but still willing to listen to her brother’s advice. She made the pages fly by as if it were a much shorter story. Her emotions as the events unfolded gripped my heart and made us one.
Pursselley warned me that there was some magic in the book, but when she told me that it was only used by the bad guys, I might like the book. I don’t think I have read another book that had magic that showed clearly that magic was evil and comes at a high cost. This was not Disney fairy magic, this was dark magic that is clearly shown as evil.
I have to admit, the one drawback for me in the book was how dark and gritty it was at times. It was understandable for a war-torn country that was facing even more war, but this was definitely not a light read. Blood, grim outcomes, and just darkness were all major parts of the story. They were part of what made it powerful, and there was nothing that was described in too much detail, but do not pick up this book expecting a light read. Also, at times it was hard to keep track of the large cast of characters.
This story definitely had some allegorical elements to it, as well as themes that I loved. Themes of redemption, God’s sovereignty, and trust were all woven into the story in a very powerful way.
I highly recommend this book for fantasy lovers, those who like grittier fiction, or anyone looking for a powerful allegory.
I was given this book by the author. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.