The Gifts – Book Review

It’s a really scary thing to write a book, especially a fictional book. It’s like opening a door in your mind and letting everyone see inside! So I am full of admiration for my friend Cathy Hemsley who has published this story, which you can buy here

It’s a fantasy type story in that it takes place in a world other than our own and that it has characters with magical aspects but as a fantasy story I found it still very rooted in the themes and concerns of our own world and the characters were utterly believable.

I say this because fantasy is not a genre I would normally pick up. But even though the dominant race in the story are people who are literally very brightly coloured and gifted in highly unusual ways, the whole concept didn’t seem too alien.

I think this is because it was a very interesting exploration of themes such as justice, equality, race which do all feel very close to home. These themes made it much more than a trivial story. The characters were not neatly either all bad or all good, although some clearly leaned in one direction or another. Some of the bad ones became more nuanced as we began to know them and some of the good ones reveal their inner flaws and insecurities.

Its quite a saga of a story set over a long period of time, so you need to be patient with that but I think the ending is all the better because the story has built up to it slowly. This is not a simple crisis that is resolved, there has been deep pain and a huge price to pay for those characters seeking to transform their world.

Cathy researched all the details very carefully. I especially enjoyed the many descriptive passages which were so vivid I could picture how the story might be turned into a film. Some of the darker passages were so detailed, I winced and wanted to turn the page, which must surely be a good indication that Cathy had created characters with whom I deeply engaged, I cared about them.

The story was absorbing, it drew me in and drew me along. It gave me the sense that I was listening to a storyteller who was enjoying telling the story and a confidence that I wasn’t going to be left with sparse information, loose ends or an unsatisfying ending. I was not disappointed.

I recommend it to you, particularly if you are also brewing a fictional story that you may one day launch on the world.

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