BreakingModern — “The rain was without beginning and without end. It pattered on incessantly, a drumming of impatient fingers. The creature knew only the sound of the rain and the rasp of its own breathing. It had no concept of its own identity, no memory of how it had come to this place. Inchoate purpose drove it upward, in darkness. Over levels of harsh stone it crawled and through dripping claws of vegetation. Sometimes it slept momentarily or perhaps lost consciousness.”
Looking for an epic trilogy? Want one that’s already finished, so you don’t wait endlessly for more?
The Bitterbynde Trilogy by Cecilia Dart-Thornton was first conceived over a decade ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I stumbled across the fantasy series in a used bookstore in Australia. I snatched it up and soon discovered what I was missing. Nestled in a corner shop on the edge of a bustling beach, I thanked my luck I was able to find all three novels side-by-side. Needless to say, much of the next two days was spent with my nose pressed into the yellowed pages (when I wasn’t out snorkeling or hiking the beautiful shores of Airlie Beach).
The trilogy is a wonderfully concocted fantasy that brings folklore, magic and heroism to life. It all begins with a scarred, despised and mute foundling surrounded by superstitious servants and pompous lords. As the mute seeks the help of a wise woman in the outside world, it runs into trouble and is eventually saved by an adventurer who gives it the gift of communication through hand-speak and, most importantly, a name. Imrhien then sets off into a journey where she meets new friends, unkind foes, crazy wights, frightening monsters and ultimately falls in love.
At this point it becomes difficult to describe the trilogy without major spoilers. Nevertheless, amongst other rave reviews, and I’m prone to agree, this trilogy has been listed amongst the likes of Tolkien’s own legendary The Lord of the Rings.
Heavy on Celtic Lore
Each of the character’s journeys intermingles with and draws similarities to Celtic lore. That said, there are parts of each novel that suddenly drag — in short, it isn’t for everyone. Though the descriptions are vivid and colorful, when Dart-Thornton inserts a rendition of a Celtic tale randomly into rapt dialogue, it can break the pace of the story. But if you like that genre, and have never heard of older Celtic folklore origins, it’s a great introductory to new fables, such as the Pied Piper of Hamlin.
The trilogy starts with The Ill-made Mute, continues in The Lady of Sorrows and concludes with The Battle of Evernight. If you’re interested in traditional Celtic folk tales with a twist of fantasy and heroic characters, this is the trilogy for you!
First/Featured image: Cassandra Chin