Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

February 19, 2008

Priestess of the Forest by Ellen Evert Hopman

Filed under: Book Reviews,Fiction — magickware @ 6:07 am

priestessforest.jpgPriestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey by Ellen Evert Hopman
$18.95 US $21.95 CAN
ISBN13 978-0-7387-1262-8 360 pages
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

A masterful written, fictional, love story based in third-century Ireland, this book animates the basic life style of the ancient Celts. Penned along the same lines as The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Priestess of the Forest examines historical class systems, symbols and life passages as seen through the eyes of the Druid class.

The author, Ellen Evert Hopman, currently the co-chief of the Order of the Whiteoak (Ord na Darach Gile) masterfully moves from writing non-fiction to this historical fantasy. Her aim was to engage the reader while teaching the ways of Druidic practice, ancient Celtic daily life, rites and rituals.

The story begins with the main character, Ethne, alone in her woodland hut. Her peace is shattered when a seriously wounded Fennid warrior is brought to her for healing. As she battles to keep him from death, she falls in love with him and he for her as he regains his strength. Unfortunately for them, the world they know is being invaded by a new religion, one that demands they leave behind their own beliefs and practices.

As with all good narratives, there are good guys and bad guys. Ethne is asked by the high Priest and Priestess to become the King’s bride. As Queen, they hope she will keep the Druidic ways strong in the land. Since we know the book is a historical fiction, the new religion of Christianity will win out in the end, but I kept hoping for a different conclusion. In the end the bad guys win, but Ethne’s personal story has a happy, if bittersweet, finale.

I was fascinated by the brief author interview, which followed the story. Ms. Hopman goes into detail about historical Druids as well as their modern day counter parts. She hopes that this book will be used to further teachings of the rites and passages she included as samples throughout the story line. Also included in the book’s back matter is a very useful recommended reading list of books divided by various categories.

If you are looking for some light reading, but want more than a bit of fluff, this is the book for you. This is a masterfully crafted tale that teaches as well as entertains.


September 20, 2006

Book Of Doom (Diadem Worlds of Magic – Book 10)

Filed under: Book Reviews,Children's Book,Fiction — magickware @ 4:44 pm

Book of DoomBook Of Doom by John Peel; Llewellyn Worldwide

Book Ten of Diadem Worlds of Magic got off to a slow and rocky start. Since this was the first time I had read a book from this series, I was at a bit of a loss as to who the good guys and who the bad guys were. I guess the proceeding book left off at a cliffhanger or something, but I’d have to say honestly, if I hadn’t been reviewing this volume, I would have stopped at chapter one. Even the prologue did little to bring me up-to-date on the main characters.

I stuck with it though and by chapter four or five, the action started to pick up. Fans of this series will probably be very happy with the continuation of the storyline, but newcomers most likely will give up in frustration as personalities trade places in the past and present without warning.

In this installment, our heroes are fighting for their lives, against an evil machine-mind and their Arch Enemy, Nantor, who has escaped his prison from a jewel on the Diadem and taken over the body of Pixel. The other heroes are left to defeat the evil machine mind, capture Nantor and restore him into the jewel before the shredding of Magic destroys the universe.

Once the reader gets past the first few chapters, things start picking up in pace and interest. Fans of The Diadem Worlds of Magic series won’t be disappointed, but if you are new to them, get the previous books first or you’ll be lost as to who is who.

December 18, 2005

The Dragons’ Legacy

Filed under: Book Reviews,Fiction — magickware @ 6:18 am

The Dragons’ LegacyThe Dragons’ Legacy by Trish Reynolds
Pagan World Press (Dubsar House)

This final book in the Seeker’s Quest trilogy brings together the heroes, heroines and villains from books one and two. The initial chapter opens to full fledge world war. The reader is immediately gripped with a sense of urgency as Thannon, the capital city of Pretava, is besieged. Will the rescuing forces from The Eldren and the Desert get there in time?

Ms. Reynolds continues her masterful handling of a multi-layered novel. Book three answers question left hanging in book two, but in a series of intriguing plot twist raises more of its own. I hope she is thinking sequel because the reader is left with too many loose ends to be satisfied that the story is finished.

Once more there is intrigue to overthrow the Throne, which Mykal and his beloved, Laurel. now reside as the rulers of Pretava. Bazc is also under Pretava’s control and the Ferunda seek vengeance but at the hands of a mysterious Mage. Seeker must return to his home world, and only the Gods know if he will ever be able to return. But return he must, Taryzas is keeping a secret from him that will not stay hidden forever.

The world of Jalum is teetering on the brink of war; the ruling classes in disarray and our heroes are off to the far points of the universe. If you are looking for “and they lived happily ever after” ending you won’t find it in these pages. There are far too many unanswered questions to leave a reader satisfied that Seeker’s Quest has really come to its conclusion. Three cheers for Ms. Reynolds for managing to leave us, yet once again, on the edge of our seats wondering what will happen next! So, Trish, what can we expect to follow?

November 18, 2005

The Demons of Drey

Filed under: Book Reviews,Fiction — magickware @ 4:19 pm

The Demons of Drey
by Trish Reynold, Pagan World Press 2005 (Fiction)

When I picked up this book my first thought was “Wait a minute, what happened to Laurel and Mykal?” They are nowhere to be found in book two of the trilogy. Soon I was engrossed in the story and forgot all about them anyway.

In The Demons of Drey, Book II of Seeker’s Quest we pick up the story where we left off. The author introduces us to a whole new cast of characters that the reader quickly start to care deeply about. Some of the characters from Book I are also in evidence and the new and old characters are quickly embroiled in each others’ lives.

Once again, Ms. Reynolds magically transports the reader into a new and beautiful world. We meet a new species. A species of myth and mystery quickly become like old friends. The many layered story plot from the previous book continues to twist and turn in this second book of the series.

Without giving away too many of the surprises in this book, it is hard to tell you all the questions that are answered from Book I. But in the same paragraph the writer answers previous questions, two more are brought to the reader’s attention.

Ms. Reynolds has a masterful way to turn a phrase. The characters are well rounded but still maintain their independence. I certainly hope that all the dangling plot twists are wrapped up in Book III, The Dragons’ Legacy because once again this book ended with the main character in dire straights.

October 18, 2005

The Witch of Dragon Swan

Filed under: Book Reviews,Fiction — magickware @ 4:21 pm

The Witch of Dragon SwanThe Witch of Dragon Swan by Trish Reynold, Pagan World Press 2005 (Fiction)

The world of The Witch of Dragon Swan is reminiscent of any world created by Marion Zimmer Bradley or Anne McCafferty. Magic and non-human folk populate the pages. Trish Reynolds immediately draws the reader into Laural’s world with the same seamless skill.

Laural has visions of dragons. Dragons are long extinct in Pretava. Laural means to follow her visions to their conclusion and find out their meaning, even if it means leaving her soul mate, Mykal behind. Meanwhile a plot to assassinate the high king has been uncovered.

Mykal follows his beloved Laural on her quest to find the meaning of the dragons of her dream s only to be ensnared unwittingly into what will become a fight of good against evil. He and Laural’s friend, Zyalia, travel into a foreign land to save Laurel from a fate worse than death.

At the court of the High King, intrigue abounds. Who is behind the assassination attempts and mysterious deaths and why? What will happen if the Heir to the Kingdom is as unfit to rule as he appears? Are the long-gone dragons the enemy? Or are they the kingdom’s savoir?

Ms. Reynolds tells a tale with so many interwoven layers, you’ll never want to put down this book. Just when you think you’ve figured out who the bad guys are, another character puts in an appearance or you learn something more about the characters you thought you already knew. Ms. Reynolds weaves a tale of many interwoven layers, including a cliff hanger of an ending that will have you running for the next volume in this trilogy as fast as you can get to the book shop!

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