This book strikes straight out of the heart of traditional fantasy, carefully combining many elements from ancient culture and modern fairy-tales. Broadwell's sources are a well-crafted mix of Celtic mythologies, Gaelic rooted language, life observations, and fantasy themes. We are set at first in a recently past Scotland, and follow a path from there into an Otherworld of mysticism, sorcery, and the swirling mists of our childhood dreams and adult mares.
The journey which the heroines take has an undeniably real feeling start to it. We travel from a present Highlands into landscapes from Scotland's past, lands of vast oak forests, wolves, and hard, rural, centuries old life. This is only a step away from the heather and boggy grasslands, from the modern stands of spruce and pine, from the tarmac torn wilderness; an easy step for fantasy readers. We are with an ordinary girl from a modern, broken family-life, torn away from the familiar mix of love and abuse common to so many backgrounds. This pregnant, already married and separated, heroine is drawn away. The pull provided by an, until the moment, long absent promiscuous "new age" mother. They travel into another world, of hallucinogenic spells, ancient beliefs, Celtic gods, magical herbs, fantastical apparitions, and immemorial struggles. It is an intoxicating idea that somewhere between the familiar and the deep cold ground that awaits all but the most innocent and pious, is another world. Such is the bedrock of fantasy. Broadwell's well-painted fantasy is far better than most, even more rational, (if that isn't a contradiction,) and worth every easy moment it takes to read.
The Moonstone is a beautifully crafted book, driving a compelling narrative that has many adventurous surprises, highs and lows. No theme in the book is totally original, or even unpredictable, but it is all magically put together, with enough description to enchant without overwhelming our vivid, private imaginations. The path in the moonstone is as compelling as that route to any golden-fleece, or promised chalice. It is a path worth taking, an exciting one.
The weave of this story has enchanted me into needing more, to see further into the flawed mystical world created by Broadwell's deep well of imagination. I will consume the rest of the trilogy without the slightest effort. The plot is often predictable, as is most adventure, but it's play of character, its mix of ideas and psychology isn't. Enjoy all, the craft in Broadwell's writing, the mix of myth and mythology, of ancient art and modern thought, the frustrating predictability of flawed character, and the sometimes unforeseen, all the elements that make this a great story. Amazon Link