I received this e-Arc from NetGalley and Forge Books in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Synopsis: For centuries the Tuatha De Danann lived in peace on an island where time moved more slowly and the seasons were gentle–until that peace was shattered by the arrival of invaders. The Gaels, the Children of Milesios, came looking for easy riches and conquest, following the story of an island to the west where their every desire could be granted. They had not anticipated that it would already be home to others, and against the advice of their druids, they begin to exterminate the Tuatha De Danann.
After a happy and innocent childhood, Joss was on the cusp of becoming a man when the Gaels slaughtered the kings and queens of Tuatha De Danann. Left without a mother and father, he must find a way to unite what is left of his people and lead them into hiding. But even broken and scattered, Joss and his people are not without strange powers.
I have a confession to make. Despite high fantasy and Irish folklore being two of my favorite genres, this is the first book I’ve read by this well-respected, prolific author and winner of several literary awards. There’s no excuse. I’ve known about her books and her reputation since I was in high school. I’m hiding my face in shame. While some of her long-time followers don’t feel this is one of her better works, I quite enjoyed it, and it’s heightened my interest in her previous novels.
The story starts off a bit slowly I think because Joss, the protagonist doesn’t seem to start really doing much until almost midway through the book. Instead, the author focuses on the worldbuilding and conflict between the Tuatha De Danann and the Gaels. This isn’t to say it’s not interesting. It just slows the pace somewhat. The characters are intriguing, particularly Joss, but I would definitely say purely based upon me only having read this one book, the author’s strengths lies in creating beautiful fantasy worlds and combining them with traditional Irish mythology and historical elements.
Although the ending was satisfying, I did feel the story and it’s characters perhaps could have had a little more added to them but at only 304 pages I still found the story mesmerizing. I think if you’re new to Morgan Llywelyn, Only the Stones Survive is a good book to start with. As for me, it’s made me want to go back and read her previous books. Now I just have to find the time!