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Blog Tour Review - To Cage A God by Elizabeth May

 Blog Tour Review - To Cage A God by Elizabeth May To cage a god is divine. To be divine is to rule. To rule is to destroy. Using ancient secrets, Galina and Sera’s mother grafted gods into their bones. Bound to brutal deities and granted forbidden power no commoner has held in a millennia, the sisters have grown up to become living weapons. Raised to overthrow an empire―no matter the cost. With their mother gone and their country on the brink of war, it falls to the sisters to take the helm of the rebellion and end the cruel reign of a royal family possessed by destructive gods. Because when the ruling alurea invade, they conquer with fire and blood. And when they clash, common folk burn. While Sera reunites with her estranged lover turned violent rebel leader, Galina infiltrates the palace. In this world of deception and danger, her only refuge is an isolated princess, whose whip-smart tongue and sharp gaze threaten to uncover Galina’s secret. Torn between desire and duty, Galina mus

Review - The Sleeping Stones by Beatrice Wallbank

Review - The Sleeping Stones by Beatrice Wallbank

Gruff and his new friend Matylda live on a small island off the Welsh coast, where legends are beginning to stir...

Islanders find themselves irresistibly drawn to the Sleeping Stones, a line of rocks like natural stepping stones out to sea. Gruff and Mat soon realise they must risk everything to save each other and their community from a terrifying storm driven by an ancient, magic anger.

I think this cover looks gorgeous, but how is anyone meant to jump those rocks?

A magical story steeped in Welsh folklore and farming.

I loved The Sleeping Stones. The first half is a really intriguing mystery, replete with prophecy in the form of old stories, strange standing stones, and unexplained feelings, as powerful magics begin to unwind across an isolated Welsh island. The second half is pure magical fantasy action adventure as Celtic gods unleash their power and draw on their influence (though none of them are actually named as gods, just as strange beings, either ghost like or mysterious sea-beings). 

It's so richly steeped in Welsh mythology and folklore, a delicious mix of old songs and stories and mythological creatures of great power and fury. It speaks to every child who believed in the old tales about the standing stones and the old warnings about meddling with things beyond their ken. It's also rich with Welsh culture and language, with much of the dialogue presented in Welsh and translated into English. There's nothing that would provide an obstacle to those of us ignorant in Welsh, rather it adds another layer to an already strong sense of place. 

As well as the mythology, it also reads at times like a love letter to the farming tradition. Gruff is so at home on his farm, and his love for it and all who dwell on it is palpable. It's quite beautiful, but it also gives him so much more to lose. When the storm hits, we're so invested in the farm and the sheep that every potential loss cuts keenly. It's quite remarkable really, the way this book builds up empathy for a herd of sheep so effectively!

The friendship at the core of this book is beautiful. Gruff and Mat are both presented as such flawed people, something quite unusual in young protagonists in middle grade fiction really, that watching them bond and become friends is really lovely. I love Gruff for all of his flaws, from the anger and bitterness at being lied to, his fear of losing his home, and his frequent bouts of jealousy towards Mat, he feels like a real person and not some idealised child hero. Mat's fear of being surrounded by new people, of being the outsider, always on the move and never allowed to settle also helps to humanise her and provides a sharp contrast with Gruff that's echoed in his fears of losing his home on the island just as she's starting her new life there.

As Welsh as an incredibly Welsh thing in Wales, and as magical as a fairytale, The Sleeping Stones is a beautiful book.


The Sleeping Stones by Beatrice Wallbank is published on 2nd February 2023 by Firefly Press.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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