Hardcover, 320 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Expected publication: March 17th 2011 by Dial
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.
Almost immediately, I fell in love with this book. Even though it's meant for Young Adults, it's written in such a way that feels older and more mature. The language is beautiful and the words are placed in such a way that you can vividly imagine this entire new world around you. One full of swamp creatures, witches, and things that go bump in the night.
In the story, Briony is a young girl who has been constantly told that being a witch is not only something that will get her killed, but something that she should hate herself for. She believes it for so long, that she stops herself from being happy and even convinces herself that she can no longer love anyone, ever. Until...of course...along comes the man of her dreams, Eldric. And I think what I love the most about their relationship is that they become great friends first. They don't just see each other and instantly fall in love...in a way, because it takes a while, we actually fall in love with them at the same time and pace that they do with each other.
I honestly don't have anything bad to say about this novel. I think it had a perfect beginning, middle and end. And it's one of those books that leaves you satisfied at the end - it even made me feel inspired.
5 out of 5 stars :)