"From the Ashes "
(Reviewed by Josh Aterovis SEP 16, 2004)
The magic of Renaissance faires is that, for a few weekends a year, you can visit times far past and lose yourself in the world of the rennies, the people who become the peasants, nobles, gypsies and thieves populating the medieval villages. There’s plenty of that magic in Meghan Brunner’s From the Ashes. There’s also plenty of real Magick.
Ryna is a gypsy, as unlucky in love as she is talented in music. Her fiery red hair matches her temper. She grew up in Renaissance faires, and her family is a group of gypsies that travels year-round as full-time rennies. She takes the magic—and the Magick—that surrounds her almost for granted. She’s recently had her heart broken by the dashing, yet sinister, Liam.
It’s Bea’s first year at the Pendragon Renaissance Faire and everything is still novel and wondrous for her. While Bea is still a newbie, her character Phoenix is already fitting in as if she’d always been there. When Ryna and Bea meet, it’s as if they’ve known each other forever. The two quickly form a close friendship, and Ryna begins to see the faire—and life—through new eyes.
Someone isn’t happy about their burgeoning relationship, however, and dark forces are being drawn into play to keep them apart—forces that have been at work for longer than anyone could possibly suspect.
From the Ashes is Brunner’s first novel, and it’s an impressive debut. Brunner self-published the massive doorstop of a book, but don’t let that intimidate you. While she could have benefited from a good editor in places, her spirited writing draws you in and surpasses any flaws. Her descriptions are priceless, bringing the world of the faire alive even if you’ve never been to one before. I laughed out loud over and over at the antics of the peasants. Her depictions of everyday life in the faire were the highlights of the book for me. It made me eager to attend a Renaissance faire.
I also enjoyed her use of Magick, which is such a part of the character’s everyday life that they barely think about it. They use their gifts to do things like lock doors after they’re already in bed and open doors when their arms are full. This approach gave the supernatural elements a much more realistic feel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magical realism and good, hearty sheep jokes.
- Amazon readers rating: from 9 reviews
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
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- The official website for Meghan Brunner and Faire-Folk Novels
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About the Author:
Meghan Brunner has participated in Renaissance Faires/Festivals for nearly ten years and hs melded this love for her second home with love of writing.