This fascinating tale provides a remarkable glimpse of a fantastical world in which magic is prevalent. The thought-provoking dual occupancy of the Darkhanan Witch Priests which is reflected in their paired deities elicits an entertaining set of conundrums and the concept of the Dark which functions in so many ways is very creative. I love the way this story is connected to the first in the series, yet can stand completely alone without any problem. The interconnections between the various lands which must find a way to achieve a common goal give glimpses of multiple cultures and provide fodder for so many more stories. I think it is interesting to think about the positives and negatives of having access to pure concentrates of magic and the implications of uncontrolled distribution of it. The wayward vegetation and amalgams of flora and fauna provides vivid imagery and I still chuckle at the idea of the mobile marigold vs. sunflower conflict. It was great to get a brief glimpse of characters from the first book and I hope to see even more of all of these interesting beings in subsequent stories. I am always in awe of the facility of this author’s imagination and look forward to even more stories from her fertile mind.
“The Grove” by Jean Johnson is part of the ‘Guardians of Destiny’ fantasy series and takes place a few months after the events that are depicted in “The Tower”. A earth-changing Convocation of Gods and man is being prepared for and the Darkhanan Witch Priests are traveling around looking for appropriate representatives. Grove Priestess Saleria has been overwhelmed by the mutations in the territory that she is responsible for but she has never met anyone like Aradin Teral, a being who is a combination of a Host and a Guide. Together they must find a way to tame her out of control Grove and she has to find a way to represent her deities, Kata and Jinga in a manner that they would most desire.
THE NEW GUARDIANS OF DESTINY NOVEL
Calm the magics caught in thrall:
Put your faith in strangers’ pleas,
Watcher, Witch, and treasure trove;
Ride the wave to calm the trees,
Servant saves the sacred grove.
At the behest of their leader, the Witches of Darkhana are mobilized. Their mission: gather the most honest, true servants of each deity so that they may respectfully represent their land at the reopening of the Convocation of Gods and Man. For Witch-Priest Aradin Teral, his part in the quest has taken him across the length and breadth of Katan, searching for the best possible representative of an empire bent on preventing that very task.
Ever since the destruction of the last Convocation, the magics of the Grove have been warped, endangering pilgrims and residents alike and requiring the guardianship of the strongest mage the priesthood can spare. Priestess Saleria is now the Keeper of the Grove, and Guardian of the Divine Garden. The arrival of a black-robed stranger bearing the faces of two men brings the promise of change, even peace, to the isolated valley. But it also ushers in an irresistible passion and a threat to Saleria’s control of the wildest magics in the woods