The Stonewylde Series
The Stonewylde Series by Kit Berry were a self-publishing phenomenon which became so popular; selling online direct from the author that in 2010 Kit was able to secure a publishing deal with Orion who agreed to publish all five books in the series. The first three books are available in paperback and the fourth currently available in hardback will be published in paperback in July with the final book appearing in October 2012. (All the books are or will be also available in e-book format). Although the books appear under the Gollancz imprint who specialise in fantasy and science fiction, they are also marketed to teens and are generally considered to be crossover novels. Essentially the books don’t fit comfortably into any one genre. There are elements of fantasy and magic in the story but there is also romance, drama and page turning thrills. Some of the main characters are young adults but there are also mothers, fathers, older people and the various dynamics of relationships within families and the community.
The story focuses on a small community hidden away in the Dorset countryside. A young girl; Sylvie who is gravely ill, her body contaminated by the poison and toxins of city life such as over-processed food and unhealthy air is invited along with her mother Miranda to come and live at Stonewylde. The community works together; growing and making what they need and following the traditional cycles of the earth. At the heart of the community is a circle of standing stones and here the eight Pagan festivals are celebrated. The leader of the community is the charismatic and charming Magus. Gradually as the story unfolds we meet other characters the downtrodden young man Yul, the strange shaman Clip and many others.
However the darker side of this seemingly idyllic place is slowly revealed. As Sylvie and Yul become friends it becomes clear that Stonewylde is not an equal place with the fair haired hall folk having all the privileges of life while the village folk do all the work. The writing quality is superb and the characterisations are incredibly believable. Kit Berry is an undeniable talent. Whether you are a teenager seeking a series as thrilling as Harry Potter or a little older and you want a book that grips from beginning to end then give this series a try. You can also learn more about the series at www.stonewylde.com.