Title: Magus of Stonewylde
Author: Kit Berry
Published: May 2011
The cover on this is a brilliant echo to what the book is about – mystic traditional power with elements from old times.
My first impressions of the book – I felt empathy for Sylvie. 99% off the medical world had given up on her and were willing to send her home to die without knowing the cause as they were at a loss as to how to help her. Enter Hazel, who gives Sylvie a glimmer of hope, and with it the possibility of life in a less polluted background. I felt angry on behalf of Sylvie for how the Drs treated her, and their indifference to her suffering. Sylvie’s mum also intrigued me, along with her parental confession.
When Magus accepts Hazel’s idea and invites Sylvie and her mother to their community to live, the phrase “to good to be true” sprung to mind…it isn’t until later in the book we find out how dark and removed from the world Stonewylde really is. Magus is a character with many layers – both evil and kind – and he certainly has his own agenda. Some of the storyline is chilling to the bone, especially when it demonstrates how far folk are willing to go for their perceived right.
It's hard to choose a favourite character from this book. It could easily be Yul, the community punchbag, who I’m in awe of after he kept his spirit throughout his endurances, or it could be Sylvie, for really seeing the community for what it was and helping where needed rather than serving herself.
Overall, I loved the pagan elements in this along with the magic that built up Stonewylde which made reading the book such a pleasure and one which was full of magic. I look forward to reading what is instore for Sylvie, Sylvie’s mum, Buzz and Yul after it came to such a feel good finish in this installment. This is the first book in a series of five – whilst I tend to shy away from series books, this is one series I’m looking forward to reading all the way through. If the other four are on par to this one then I’m in for a super treat :))
Sylvie is dying. A victim of crippling allergies, poisoned by the pollution and chemicals of modern life, Sylvie is trapped in a hospital bed while her mother and doctors watch her life slipping away. But one of them offers her a chance. There's an alternative community - Stonewylde - hidden away behind high boundary walls in a corner of Dorset. If their leader, the charismatic Magus, would let Sylvie visit then perhaps the clean air and green lifestyle may restore her vitality. Or at least give her some measure of peace before she dies. It's a chance, and when Sylvie and her mother take it, they find themselves in a haven of tranquillity and beauty. But it's not all idyllic. The Magus sends a moody, secretive Village boy to work in their garden as a punishment. He warns them to stay away from him - he's rebellious and in deep trouble. But Sylvie is curious about Yul and, as their forbidden friendship grows, she sees that all is not quite as it seems at Stonewylde. Why was she told to keep away from Yul - and why are she and her mother so drawn to the Magus? Is the crone on the hill really a powerful wise-woman, or just a crazed old hag bent on destroying the peace with her wild prophecies? And what exactly is the magical secret at the heart of this seemingly perfect community?
Source – Many thanks to the publisher, a copy was received in return for an honest review.