If I had not been part of a book club, I probably would have missed Marysvale by Jared Southwick. Admittedly, it wasn’t even remotely on my radar – it’s hard with all of the wonderful books being penned by so many great authors. Here’s what the synopsis from Amazon has to say –
John Casey was ten years old when his mother was murdered…and ten when his father hid the truth from him. Without that knowledge, he has no idea of the enemies that lie in wait.
Now grown up, John lives a solitary life, in a world enslaved by ignorance and superstition, when anyone unusual is treated with distrust and even killed…and John has some very unusual gifts. When he is accused of witchcraft, John does the only thing he’s ever done—Run! That is, until he meets Jane, who lives in the bleak, imprisoned town of Marysvale. Life outside the safety of the town walls means certain death from the brutal monsters that hunt there. However, life inside, under the rule of a tyrannical leader, means no life at all.
As the love between John and Jane grows, the dangers of Marysvale unfold; and for the first time in his life, John discovers that there is something worth dying for.
Now I have to admit that I didn’t read the synopsis before delving into the book, so I was expecting something entirely different. In the end I was pleasantly surprised to find a very well-crafted story full of vivid and magnificent imagery. There were times that I found myself losing time within the story being woven around me.
John Casey is certainly an enigma and that’s really all that I can say without giving too much away. I found his mysteriousness to be somewhat refreshing in that, I wanted desperately to know more than what the author was telling me, but knew that it would all be revealed in good time. The remaining cast of characters were all supportive in the ways that they needed to be and without taking away from the story unfolding around even them.
When Southwick introduces the Brean, there is a moment where you pause, wondering what heck is really going on in the book (to those of you that read the synopsis, I suppose that you were expecting them…). As the crux of the plot is revealed, you learn that they are nefariously hulking beasts that hunt to kill and have terrorized most of the inhabitants of the countryside to the point that they have no other choice but to live behind fortified walls.
The mystery of Marysvale is revealed and you cannot help but pushing the limits of time to rush to the conclusion. Jared Southwick has a gem in Marysvale and I cannot wait to read the conclusion of the tale in Alyth.
If you’re interested in picking up a copy of Marysvale, you can find it on Amazon. Incidentally, it’s free right now!
4 out of 5 stars!