Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: _The World Tree_ by Sarah Isidore

Charlemagne was a powerful Christian king of long ago. His reign spawned many legends and myths of heroes. Fantasy author Sarah Isidore uses the time of this Frankish king with the conflict between Christianity and paganism to conclude her “Daughters of Bast” trilogy. _The World Tree_ blends Celtic and Egyptian mythology to bring this Historical Fantasy trilogy to an entertaining, satisfying end. The book’s realistic characters, intriguing plot and vivid setting brings it to life with action that is hard to put down.

Realistic characters are important in books to keep a reader interested. The characters of this book act in realistic ways for their times. Sirona changes and grows throughout the novel. She begins as a healer, denying to use her magical powers even at the request of the goddess Bast. Pressure from hostile Christians and her own people make her change into a warrior with a conscience. Bathilde is a widow and noble woman trying to protect her land from an encroaching Lord. She possesses magic of her own, which drives her to some ruthless acts. Mau is a cat, protector and advisor to Sirona. He states his opinions clearly without and sugar coating. The author brings these characters to life through subtle changes as the plot advances to the end.

The plot is intriguing, keeping a reader hooked. A clash between paganism and Christianity plays in the background to the story of Sirona’s growth. Sirona refuses to kill Bathilde’s unborn baby. Her refusal plunges her into a series of attempts on her life. She struggles to maintain her life of being a healer and uninvolved, but events do not allow it. The hatred of a Christian noble adds more fuel to the flame with his ambition to steal other people’s lands. Magic appears in this ancient world, manifested by gods of Egypt, Norse and Celtic mythology. The manipulation of these deities deepens the plot and adds wonder to the story to keep you reading.

Finally, the vivid setting brings the story to life. Ms. Isidore writes descriptively in plain prose. The descriptions of Saxony, with its forests, manors and monasteries, come to life as if they exist today. Descriptions of the supernatural elements like the great World Tree and Chaos serpent give a sense of wonder to the story. Having a clear setting in a book allows a reader to get drawn in and enjoy the story without confusion. This book fulfills the requirement with its setting.

_The World Tree_ by Sarah Isidore is a satisfying conclusion to the “Daughters of Bast” trilogy. Realistic characters, an intriguing plot and vivid setting provides this Celtic Egyptian Historical Fantasy with enough action for an entertaining read. Ms. Isidore tells the stories of three remarkable women in three different harsh but interesting historical time periods. Readers will enjoy this concluding book. Seek out the other two books too.

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