Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening: Gina Dickerson

Afternoon readers, another review for you again today! I have been reading like an absolute demon these last few weeks and have also been listening to audio books at every point I can in the day. On the bus, walking to work, in the bath, before bed, so that’s why there will be probably more reviews than ever this month! Additionally my amazing friends bought me a notebook specially designed to note down my thoughts about the book I am reading as I go along. It’s so brilliant, because often once I finish a book I have to thumb back through and take another look at what I thought throughout but with this I have the perfect amount of space to scribble down notes as I go along. So thank you to my lovely girls for such a thoughtful present, now, without further delay, onto the review.

“They’ve been waiting lifetimes for you, Kaelia. They want you and will stop at nothing to have you.” The warning’s rung in Kaelia’s ears since she discovered she’s far from the ordinary girl who grew up in the coastal town of Margate. She has power. The first time she shows it, death strikes, the second, she loses someone special, and on the third, her mother disappears. Destiny is coming for Kaelia and there’s nowhere she can hide. THEY have stepped out of the shadows to find her. For generations, there have been whispers of The Chosen One. They speak of a name – Marrock – whose destiny entwines with that of The Chosen One. Kaelia must avenge the wrongs, uncover who Marrock is, find her mother, and … FIGHT Facing forces of depraved evil, magic, and myth, Kaelia’s search leads her through magical forests and unearthly realms.Who, or what, can Kaelia trust? Is she strong enough to survive the horror? All she knows is her life will never be the same again…

Punchy and packed with bite this book is a fantasy novel with a difference. First things first, I loved the cover, incredibly bright and inviting for someone that isn’t the most dedicated fantasy reader I was pleasantly surprised. So we start with a flashback into the past; a truly frightening character is pushing a priest for information on a child that has just been born. We learn that this child ‘is the one,’ and that there is something about her that is desperately wanted. This scene was incredibly well written and quite frightening; this is a great way to pull the reader in from the first scene. We jump forward eight years and find ourselves meeting the main lady herself, Lady Kaelia. Only a young girl we see she is playing in the park with Bay, her best friend. However things get a little out of hand and we learn that Kaelia has magical powers hurting Bay in the process. With a warning from her father not to use her powers again, she finds out that ‘they’ will find her if she does. Promised to be told more in the future Kaelia never does as her father is struck down by a car in a suspicious accident. Spring forward once again, we see Kaelia, who is now much older, enjoying a lovely day with Bay, however, disaster appears again as her friend is killed in a freak accident. At this point, it’s starting to become obvious that things just aren’t right and after her mother goes missing we realise there are people that will do anything to get their hands on her. From here on Kaelia starts to learn about the world around her, learning information about the Salloki who will do anything to get her, the letter that her parents have left her, the old book and Kaelia’s adventure to Mortiswood, and then onto the Isle of Stone to see her Grandmother and find out why this all happening to her. Kaelia sees she has to realise her destiny and fight to save the world around her. That’s all I’m going to give you, the rest you will have to find out for yourselves!

I really enjoyed this book; based on a structure build on magic it is brought forward to the present day although it has many mythological themes running throughout. Bringing ancient but terrifying magic into the present leads to an interesting mix of reality and the imaginary world. I must admit that this author definitely has an understanding of how to construct inviting and whimsical locations; creating exciting locations is pivotal for fantasy books in my opinion. Without a strong location, the storyline can become unrealistic; however here it is managed incredibly well. The plot moves with pace and has enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested throughout. A few small issues for me; at times the books jumps too much between chapters and I found myself looking back to double check I hadn’t missed some pages. Adding to this I did find myself getting confused when the chapter broke in the middle and introduced a different point of view of a different character; it left me with a bit of a headache. For me I would much rather have a chapter per character or at least segmented very well instead of seemingly randomly. Additionally I thought the author missed a trick in not investigating more thoroughly the development of her powers in Mortiswood. It would have helped to draw the reader in more strongly. The characters are well developed and lead to an interesting mix of relationships and power struggles; Kaelia took me a little while to warm too but by the end I found myself rooting for her.

Overall this book has many strengths; strong character profiles, brilliant landscapes built into the narrative and a real understanding of the fantasy genre. For me I would have liked more of an insight into the characters and Kaelia’s power but you can’t have everything can you! Definitely worth a read for fantasy readers!


 Gina Dickerson lives by the Thanet coast on the north-eastern tip of Kent, in the UK with her family and playful Siberian husky. She is a full-time author and writes romantic suspense with a twist, horror and fantasy because her characters refuse to play nice and wind up with more than a few bone-rattling skeletons in their closets. She is the author of the murderous romantic suspense novels Lies Love Tells and Unveiling Christmans, the twisted short story collection, Underleaf, as well as the fantasy, adventurous romance series Mortiswood Tales- the first in the series being Mortiswood: Kaelia Awakening. She has also written fashion and shopping columns for a local newspaper.

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