Thursday, February 11, 2016

Only the Stones Survive by Morgan Llywelyn

For centuries the Túatha Dé Danann lived in peace on an island where time flowed 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 Túatha Dé 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 the Túatha Dé 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.
Morgan Llywelyn weaves Irish mythology, historical elements, and ancient places in the Irish landscape to create a riveting tale of migration, loss, and transformation in Only the Stones Survive.

Only the Stones Survive takes readers into an ancient, Celtic fantasy world. On the island of Eire lives an ancient, peaceful, magic tribe named Tuatha Dé Danann. Their peaceful nature has made them a bit reclusive and they shun visitors or invaders. Joss is a young man within the tribe who narrates this tale. Their peaceful existence is crudely interrupted when a boat full of people from Iberia arrive to make a new life on Eire. This tribe are more barbarians, ready to fight, with a more savage mentality. And so begins a tale of two cultures who conflict head on. Neither culture is perfect or imperfect in characteristic. Gradually, life becomes more harsh, more violent, more tragic.

Filled with lovely prose and colorful descriptions, the author's vivid imagination creates a world filled with fascination. There are many characters to keep track of which I found very challenging, and to tell you the truth, I nearly set the book aside out of frustration. But I am a big fan of Morgan Llewelyn so I persevered. I'm glad I did because when I realized that the story was not about the characters but about what happens when two different cultures struggle to live side by side with all their vast differences, that I found my stride and understood the meaning behind the story. It is very much a tale of survival, of change, of adaptation. A challenging, but satisfying read!
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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