Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Sorceress by Celia Rees

Series: Witch Child, Book Two
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Published: First: 4th March 2002
This Edition: 6th July 2009
Number of Pages: 320
Book: Bought
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Fantasy, YA, YA-Child Crossover
Recommended Age: 11+
Contains: Violence, Death, Sexual References – Nothing Graphic
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Blog: Celia Rees

Sequel to the bestseller Witch Child.
Alison Ellman is still searching for information about Mary Newbury.  She has a diary and some scattered information about Mary’s life, but Mary has disappeared into the forests of New England and Alison has no way of following her across the centuries.
Then Alison meets Agnes Herne, a descendant of Mary’s who has a special skill that allows her to contact Mary in the spirit world.  Now at last we hear Mary’s story after her ill-fated time in Beulah – a story that takes her across the New World in an epic search for a home.

Mary Newbury was a witch.  She was discovered, and had to flee from the village in which she was living, but in the process was forced to leave her diary behind.  Nothing more is known other than that she escaped the village with her life.  Back in our time, Alison Ellman is desperate for more information on Mary, to find out what happened to her after the events of her diary.  And, just as she’s about to give up, Agnes shows up.  Agnes knows of a white woman who lived with her Native American ancestors’ tribe, and she believes that this woman is Mary.  Agnes also thinks that she is descended from the witch, and has her powers of sight.  With this, Agnes can live Mary’s life; see it all in her head.  She knows what happened to Mary and Mary wants her story told.  So.  What did happen to Mary Newbury?
I adored Witch Child and was desperate to know what had happened to Mary.  Sorceress was a very worthy sequel, in my opinion.  It was told by Mary, through Agnes, with the occasional chapters told in 3rd person about Alison and Agnes’ research.  The writing was just incredible, as it always is with Celia Rees, and even better than in Witch Child– though the triple narrative could be a little confusing at times. 
Mary was just as strong as she was in the previous book – more so, actually.  She had matured a lot, gotten used to her gifts and even become an ever so powerful powwaw, sorceress, shaman – whatever you wish to call it.  Mary had had to go through a lot of pain, a lot of hardship, but instead of weighing her down, it just made her stronger and more vibrant.  Also, she got some amazing new skills: incredibly cool.
Agnes was equally strong, and was a powerful girl, much like Mary in her determination and will power.  She was just the kind of character you could like and trust instantly, as well as having a kind of air of mysterious magic surrounding her…  Fellow research-partner Alison was the most determined character I have ever read about.  Not in a bad way, just in an unwavering, focused manner.  She would do anything – anything – to find out what happened to Mary.  Warm, kind, enthusiastic and intelligent, I liked her just as quickly as I did Mary and Agnes.
While these were all amazing characters, what I loved most about Sorceress was the Native American ways of life.  I just loved learning more about all the rituals, the beliefs, how close they felt to the earth.  I hated the “white men” for trying to take their land: What right did they have?  None, in my opinion.  They could have all lived peacefully alongside one another…  Also in my opinion, the “white men” were more savage than the so-called “savages”.
This was a great book, full of history, family, loss and finding yourself.  I just loved the storyline, and all the characters, even though at times it was rather confusing.  It was wonderful to see what happened to all my characters, how they had changed.  I really love Celia Rees: she’s brilliant and all her stories feel so very real.  I honestly felt like I travelled back in time as I read.
I also learnt what true courage is, true bravery, true goodness.  And, I found the answer to my question from the previous book: magic really does exist.  In this world, at least.  Can but hope, right?

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
 Prisoner of the Inquisition by Theresa Breslin

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading

1 comment:

Zia Joaquin said...

I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if it's not your usual taste. It's thought-provoking and intense, and it should be on one of those lists of books to read before you die.

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