The fire in the middle of the circle casts flickering shadows over our faces: we stand obediently in its fierce warmth, following the words of the monthly full-moon ritual.
I raise my hands up to the star-riddled Cornwall evening just like everyone else, just like every month, and feel nothing.
First of Greenworld Series
Published by Quercus on 5th March 2015
408 pages in review paperback
Summary from Publisher’s website
Danny is a fun-loving 16-year-old looking for a father figure and falling in love with a different girl every day. He certainly doesn’t want to follow in his mum’s witchy footsteps.
Just as his community is being threatened by gangs intent on finding a lucrative power source to sell to the world, Danny discovers he is stunningly powerful. And when he falls for Saba, a gorgeous but capricious girl sorceress, he thinks maybe the witch thing might not be such a bad idea…
But what cost will Danny pay as, with his community on the brink of war, he finds that love and sorcery are more dangerous than he ever imagined?
Quercus, the publishers, quite rightly mention passion and wickedness in their promotion for this novel. For me what underpins the whole story is Anna McKerrow’s passion for the setting she has created. This Greenworld is fully realised and utterly believable – she includes the muck as well as the magic.
We’re seeing it through Danny’s eyes – our 16 year old main character – and so the reality of the wickedness that threatens his community grows on him – and us. As the publishers say, it is a coming-of-age adventure. We want him to grow up – and oh does he get the dramatic events to do that! I was thrilled by the cunning use of witchcraft and folklore, enough to feel real, yet so sparing and wrapped up in the adventure to intrigue.
I am not really a romance fan – but I’d say the relationship tensions add to the story. Many readers will fancy Danny, I expect. There’s a fair bit of character-led humour too which enriches the mix. That makes any perils and losses all the more heartfelt.
This will suit those who love reading about adolescents trying to find their role in a magical world very close to our own. The sort of person who wants to speculate about an alternative future – but see it through a credible contemporary character. More thoughtful readers will pick up on the underlying issues of gender, race and spirituality – but happily, it zips along without preaching. There’s plenty of action with supernatural threats and violence, and romance that touches on sexuality. Nothing there without a point, though, I’d say.
The notes were an informative bonus. You will just have to wait for the second story – which I rather hope lets us see the Redworld - until next spring.