Monday, March 17, 2014

Marysvale by Jared Southwick

Release Date: September 23, 2010
Publisher: Two Roads
Series: Marysvale Series

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

John Casey moved from town to town for as long as he could remember. Because he possessed a special gift, he found himself in more awkward positions than he cared to count. As he fled from certain death in Syre, he stumbled across a deadly secret hidden in the dark forest to the north.

That wasn't the only secret he discovered when he arrived at a small cabin situated on a lake's shore. The woman who lived there revealed some of the answers to questions about his childhood, thus setting him on a quest to discover the rest when he made his way to Marysvale. Would he survive the journey to a town where no one dared to question authority and walls were built to keep people in rather than danger out? Could he justify protecting himself while others suffered at the hands of beasts?

This book was a strange and interesting read because it was set in a period akin to Colonial times here in the United States and included the paranormal. It was an eclectic mix that the author was able to blend. I really enjoyed the strange quality of the story, both in terms of John, the main character's, unusual abilities and the weird, otherworldly beasts that lingered in the dark forest. Toss in a tyrannical governor and you have an action-packed story that kept the pages turning.

From the beginning it was clear that John's special talents were both a blessing and curse for him. While it allowed him to evade trouble, his gift also made it difficult for him to turn away from situations that went against his own moral code. This combined with accusations of witchcraft often sent him from town to town. It was during this moment the pace of the book quickened and maintained a steady course. Along his journey, John's true character and memories threatened him as well as those who crossed his path. There was more to the story and I could feel his frustration at discovering the truths at a slower than desired pace.

I enjoyed the introduction of the mythical beings, the Brean, who lived within the forest. At times their presence in the story was unnerving and terrifying, which is what they were meant to be. The evil of the Brean augmented the evil of man within the story. Both made it possible for the people of Marysvale to become prisoners within their own city. The slow progression of freedoms lost became an essential part of John's past as well as the overall story. I was struck by how relevant the topic could be when applied to some of the events happening in this time period. I believe this was what the author was going for and if so, it hit the mark completely.

Overall, the book was a good read. It had a lot of action, pasts being revealed and just a hint of possible romance mixed with some lighter moments. The only thing troubling me about the book was portions of the dialogue didn't seem to fit the setting of the book. From the descriptions of everyday life, tools and clothing, it seemed the book was set in a time before many modern advances. People used muskets and swords, primarily rode horses for transport and wore clothing similar to those in Colonial times. Yet, there were moments when speaking that the characters used words that made them appear to be from more modern times. It was a little confusing but the overall plot and action were sufficient enough to keep me reading. If you enjoy something a bit out of the ordinary, then this is the book for you!

Marysvale by Jared Southwick is available at online retailers in either hardcover or Kindle forms. By clicking the link below, you can purchase a copy from Amazon.
Marysvale by Jared Southwick

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