Is this a great masterpiece of a novel? No. Is it the next great fantasy epic? Also no. Should you read it? Yeah! If not for the story itself, at least to support the way it came to be. I’m going to put exactly what the text says:
@broodingYAhero said, “It’s amazing how many prophecies involve teens. You’d think they’d pick more emotionally stable people, with more free time. Like grandmas.”
To which @Dinuriel replied, “…I would read the hell out of a series of a chosen eighty-five-year-old woman who goes on epic journeys throughout a dangerous and magical land, armed only with a cane and her stab-tastic knitting needles, accompanied by her six cats and a skittish-yet-devoted orderly who makes sure she takes her pills on time.
So if not just for the story, support the authors who write the books that we the readers demand!
The book begins with an attack on a small village of what we will later learn are called the Mari. There is an adorable illustration of the creature provided! Then we move to modern day London, where we find Mrs. Perivale. She’s a bit lonely, as her husband has passed away and her son is grown and out of the house. So it’s just her and her seven cats and her butler (although I think there’s a cook somewhere as well, and probably cleaning staff.) She goes off on an errand (more on that in a rant later) and thinks she sees something out of the corner of her eye, but dismisses it. Later, the creature proves to be Chippa Mari, who asks Mrs. Perivale to come with them to find the Blue Crystal and save its village. Mrs. Perivale agrees, and her cats and butler force their way into the party as well.
Chippa brings them to a magical land, where we discover that Chippa is not yet full grown. He gets scolded for going out on his own, but Mrs. Perivale backs him up, which holds more weight when it is discovered that she is indeed the Chosen One. The Mari beg her to find the stolen Blue Fire Crystal, which along with the other 3 elemental stones keep their world in balance. So they set off and experience many wonders along the way.
Now, Alice Perivale is a nice old lady, don’t get me wrong. But a lot of things happen because of the love she has inspired in others. She inspires others to be their best, and that in kind leads them to be able to do great things. A lot of things are solved not by her, but by her companions. I can think of two instances where the deciding actions were hers, and one of those was a group effort.
One of the early problems I have with this is something other people may not have seen an issue with. Mrs. Perivale goes to her local church to join a Widows of War volunteer group, and the woman manning the sign-up table turns her away for being too old for the work they do, and they wouldn’t want her “getting hurt.” And the woman rudely tells her to go home. Now, my parents are in their mid-70’s and volunteer once a month at our local soup kitchen. They usually have a group of about 4 or 5 other people cooking with them, and my parents are the youngest ones by quite a few years. Some of them are quite spry! Volunteer groups will usually take whoever they can get, and even if there are physical tasks, they will find something that the person can do. Every little bit helps! Our principal clarinet player in my community band is pushing 80, and he’s still kicking ass every week. Do you know how much lung capacity it takes to play a wind instrument? People who volunteer their time are usually lovely people, unless the group is a front for something else. So I don’t know what was going on with this “Widows of War” group, but either the woman at the table was just a bitch, or they aren’t the support and volunteer group they’re advertising to be. (**Slightly spoilery – the woman was just a bitch, so it’s fine!**)
This fulfills the 2020 Bingo square of “Fresh Start,” because it is the first of a series! It may not be the best, but I’m curious to see what happens in the next one!