Welcome to the Maiden blog tour!! This book is a Young Adult Fantasy book! It was published October 13, 2018.
Marta and Jayme are childhood friends with different beliefs. Marta dreams of becoming a healer. Jayme has been schooled by the black-coats, a group of priests who claim women are inferior, and he fears Marta is jeopardizing her eternal future.
Despite a heated debate over Marta’s soul, Jayme betrays her to the priests. The consequences of this betrayal change Marta’s life forever and sends Jayme on his own journey.
After a brutal massacre, Marta awakens deep in the forest overcome with grief for her lost sisters, but the world will not let her rest. The tragedy has changed her. She hears the call of nature, eventually steering her toward a small cottage in the wilderness. There she learns of nature’s magic and what it means to be a LightWalker. The path is there for her to follow. If she’s strong enough to embrace it…
Series: The Lightwalker Series, #1
Review: 3.5 butterflies
I have so many thoughts about this book! Most of them good, a few of them critical, but overall I enjoyed this book.
This book is the journey of two people, Marta and Jayme, who have to learn to trust themselves and their instincts in order to help the world. Most of the adventure is in the beginning of the book, which is unusual, but fitting for this novel. It starts out with Jayme telling Marta that she shouldn’t be a part of “pagan rituals” because it was going to damn her soul to hell. She ignores him, as she should, and he tells the priests, or “black-coats,” as they’re called, so he can save her soul. The priests kill some girls and imprison the rest, with only Marta escaping. This is where the story really begins. From there on, both Jayme and Marta have to go on a spiritual journey to help them become the people that will help the world and the Light. (Jayme is a LightWarrior and Marta is a LightWalker).
While this book was mostly about preparing both Jayme and Marta for their fate, it didn’t really feel like it was lacking plot-wise. There wasn’t a lot of hair-raising action, but there was a lot happening and a lot of information that both of them had to learn. There were some times where some tensions were resolved a bit easily for my taste (like when Brother Brian followed Jayme) but I understand that the purpose of this book was really to train Marta and Jayme.
Sometimes, though, it felt like the author was so excited to tell us about her characters that she just gave too much (sometimes unnecessary) information away. What could be easily inferred in one sentence, the author told us in three. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the book—in fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit—but the excess of information (and sometimes cheesy-ness) pulled me out of the novel instead of immersing me in it.
But when the magic begins, that’s when the author really shines. I get so engrossed in what’s going to happen and the descriptions of the magic that I find myself eagerly turning the pages to find out more. I also really enjoyed reading all the little prayers honoring the earth and the gods and I absolutely loved the ceremony to test Marta. It was beautifully done. I loved how Marta had to confront her fears and doubt; I loved how her friends and family were there to help her through this. It was absolutely my favorite part of the book. I really enjoyed all of the different mythological characters and the myths that the author created. I loved learning about the different Guardians (though the name “Little Man” might have been a little tone-deaf) and their purposes.
As much as this book tried to share a message—that women are as capable as men—it still played into gender norms by making the boy be the warrior with the big, strong muscles and the girl the thinker with knowledge of music and plants and big-heartedness. There’s nothing wrong with these characters having these traits, but since the author was trying so hard to show how the difference between the close-mindedness of “women can’t really think as well as men” and the open-mindedness of the “we all come from one place” mentalities, she still played into it by making the man the muscle and the woman the heart. (Also, there’s a part with Gerthe and Jayme’s mother where they say, “Men will be men, after all…” and if that doesn’t contradict the author’s message about all of us being the same, I don’t know what does).
That said, there are a lot of good messages this book has, such as to be patient, mindful, to not let your emotions control you, and that worrying about the future will do nothing for the present (and will bring the future worries into existence). I can very much see the good these messages will do, especially if it’s read by people in their teen years.
I do wish they had been a little more obvious in the fact that Jayme really didn’t know as much as he thought he did, especially since in the beginning he said all that stuff that the black-coats had taught him to his best friend and then literally caused a lot of women’s deaths by telling the black-coats about the “ignorant women holding pagan rituals to corrupt others.” I appreciate that he learned from his mistakes and tried to become better, but if I’m going to forgive a character for that, he’s going to have to do a lot better.
Similarly, sometimes their growth felt a little forced—some of the learning scenes seemed like they were there to teach the reader about the world, not to help the characters grow.
Now, for some spoilers (head down to the *** to avoid them):
The romance towards the end of the book between Jayme and Marta was definitely out of the blue. They hadn’t seen each other for many months and the last time they saw each other, Jayme had betrayed Marta’s trust. Even if they’d had a blossoming romance before all of the events that have happened, I feel like their kissing before they really talked and connected again was too rushed. You can show romance and love without kissing. And I feel like this wasn’t an appropriate moment for the kiss to happen.
Also, I didn’t love the name change from Marta to Kayleigh. What? Why was this necessary? Marta is a beautiful name. Why not just give her a spirit name apart from her given name? I understand that the author wanted to show a change in Marta, but the name change was weird. (Especially since it was a change from a Latina-sounding name to a very white-sounding name. The implications of that are… not good.)
While this book was a good book, I feel like if the author had done a few more rounds of edits (and maybe a sensitivity reader), it would have been perfect. Even so, it was enough to make me interested in the storyline and how it will continue in the next books.
I recommend this book to all of those who want to read something light with magic and pretty great world-building.
A free copy of this book was provided by the author via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Teresa Harrison grew up in Decatur, Illinois, and graduated from Eureka College with a BA in Speech and Theatre. She has a son and daughter-in-law and now two beautiful grandchildren.
She met her husband, Glenn, while on a spiritual journey to Sedona, AZ. They realized they had something special, but they lived on opposite edges of North America. Two years later, she joined Glenn in Southern California.
Teresa has been studying spiritual topics for nearly 40 years and is a Reiki Master, a Breathwork Facilitator, an herbalist and teacher. She has studied Universal Laws, Reincarnation, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation and many other spiritual topics.
Teresa has been reading and telling stories her whole life, and now she has finally written one of them down.
By entering the giveaway, you are accepting my giveaway policy.
$25 Amazon gift card
a Rafflecopter giveaway