Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Saskian Trilogy Begins with Eden Forest

Eden Forest is a novella and the first instalment in The Saskia Trilogy by Aoife Marie Sheridan.

Narrated in the first person present tense, Eden Forest opens in Saskia with Marta giving a description of the land and alerting the reader to her pregnancy, which we later know is from a love affair with the King of Saskia. We also learn about Saskian laws and traditions and how Saskians are immortal and born with an affinity of air, water, earth, fire or spirit. At first glance, Marta appears to be a caring person.

The reader learns that Saskia is a world parallel to earth and that a fire barrier separating the two worlds can be crossed but with great difficulty.

Eden Forest is written from several perspectives, all in the first person; however we are told whose point of view we are reading at the beginning of each chapter, avoiding any possible confusion. It is a very interesting way of writing – the first I've read seen – and it gives character depth. Through this technique, Sheridan merges with each character making them come to life on the pages of her novella.

The author has an abundance of intriguing characters, but what I liked most was how each character has a specific role to play in the story – even eight-year-old Mei. Some have minor roles but are expected to have much bigger ones in the coming parts of the trilogy.

As the novella progresses, two characters stand out in contradiction; Marta and her daughter Sarajane. Whereas Sarajane is caring, believable, down to earth, intelligent and understanding, her mother, Marta, is unmotherly-like, as opposed to what we have seen in the first chapter. A face-off between Sarajane and King Morrick makes this point clear. Moreover, most of the time we see Marta, she is crying; yet the reader feels that her emotions are not deep. And when she finally sees her daughter after a long absence, all she is concerned with is food! (Of all things!)

Another interesting character is the conflicting, contradictory Tristan, King Morrick's head Guardian and who is later given the task to retrieve, or rather kidnap, Sarajane. Until the end of Eden Forest, the reader cannot read this particular character.

The massive contrast between Saskia's King and Queen makes the reader wonder how they ended up together. That bit comes at the end of the story.

Eden Forest is a quick and easy read. Its pace is fair at the beginning but starting chapter three, the pace and events become intense. You cannot put the book down and you feel the need finish the novella and skip work and sleep in the process.

I truly enjoyed Aoife Sheridan's Eden Forest and can hardly wait for the next two parts, which I expect will have more details about the elemental affinities and focus more on characters briefly mentioned or introduced like Carew.

(Note: There are a couple of brief, adult scenes).

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