Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Epic Fantasy/ YA
Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words
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Alison Naomi Holt grew up on a working cattle ranch in
inherited her greatest passion, the love of animals, from her grandmother.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in writing at the Arizona
she joined the police force where she worked every possible job that became
available, changing assignments every few years just because she could. She has
been a patrol officer, a detective, a hostage negotiator, commanded Undercover
Units and Riot Control Squads, and became the Sergeant/Supervisor for the 11
man K9 squad. Ms. Holt hopes to share her passions and experiences through her
writing. Learn more about her other stories at her website. University of Arizona
“You are invited to enter Ar’rothi, a world as vividly realized as Narnia or Middle Earth, a world where animal spirits guide humans towards enlightenment, and in which an orphaned girl and a warrior duchess must join forces against an evil that threatens everything they have learned to love.”
Alison Naomi Holt has done an outstanding job creating her own elaborate world of Ar’rothi and its spiritual realms. Basic elements and environments are earthlike and there is a strong influence from Native American culture and spiritualism throughout, which made it easy for me to slip into her world. Aurelia “Bree” Makena, Duchess of Danforth, has secluded herself away from society while she mourns the loss of her husband in the small
. When a
trapper hauls a wild, mute, orphaned eight-year-old girl into town and offers
her for sale, Bree could not let this child be bought by the likes of the men
offering up bids. She also cannot see herself raising a child; regardless she
now has possession of a severely abused, hard-headed child who is used to
fending for herself. The battles of wills between these two are realistic,
daunting, and at times comical. township
of Ashton Fork
It is heartwarming to watch Bree come to terms with herself in taking responsibility for this little girl, having to push aside her depression and reach out to try to communicate with, what we soon find out is, the Spirit Child. When Bree’s friend Becca, a healer who studied at the King’s Collegiums and the
to learn native healing techniques, shows up we learn this child’s history. The
abuse she survived while being raised by one of the Shona tribes was severe and
heartbreaking. When Bree learns the child was never even given a name she names
her Kaiti, after her dead husband’s mother, therefore claiming the child as her
own. The emotional journey these two characters take us on is worth the cost of
the book. Outer Territories
One of my favorite aspects of this story are the spirit guides, they are quite entertaining. Bree is considered a deaf one because she cannot (or refuses to) hear or see her spirit guide, much to her badger’s dismay. Becca can see and hear all spirit guides and hers is an awesome white wolf whose personality I loved. The Spirit Child sees and hears all spirit guides but her own, one of the most powerful Guides, Denabi the black panther, however, she refuses to acknowledge any of them believing she would be killed because she was not worthy. Ms. Holt has gone into a lot of detail building her spiritual world naming all the different levels and which spirit guides belong to which level. I found it all a bit overwhelming trying to remember them all, especially when two different tribes of Shona warriors started chasing the Spirit Child.
There has been a breach between the Realms. Evil is spilling into the physical realm from the Underworld and Black Guides, known as Teivaledin, are aligning themselves with those who have an inherently evil nature. In all Realms only Kaiti, who has the Gifts of Aevala, can see the Teivaiedin, She is their only hope in defeating Morgrad, God of the Underworld. This book is full of adventure, danger, drama, humor, healing, treachery, and the strength of the human spirit itself.
There is a Glossary included for all the terms and names, which really comes in handy.
I found no significant editing or formatting issues in this story.
Rating: ***** Five stars