When I was working in a local coffee bar I met a number of wonderful people, Suzie is one of these people and The Book of Bera is her debut novel. I have received a copy early, its not actually due out until 23rd March, and it is truly fantastic. The Book of Bera is a Viking saga; Bera being a young girl, with a spiritual/magical power named sight, who is married off by her family and grows into a leader and respected member of a her new society. If you like a bit of adventure, fantasy and imagination you will truly enjoy this book. Suzie has crafted an excellent story with well written characters and relationships.
The prologue shows us the death of Bera’s mother and the handing over of a necklace that seems to be connected to the power that both these women hold. Bera has inherited her sight from her mother, both of them being known as ‘Valla’, throughout the novel she tries to emulate her mother, but is that how she should be using her own gifts? As she grows Bera learns how to be a wife, a mother and a leader; taking on these challenges with very little support before eventually learning how to use her gifts in her own manner.
Death is an important part of this novel, Bera’s childhood friend is murdered by someone from Seabost. Later when Bera is married to a Seabost man, this creates a tension within the household that stays for the majority of the novel. Bera swears revenge, something that is never truly realised, but this need for a further death informs many of her later decisions. Death both takes people away and brings them together.
As Bera learns how to use her sight, she begins to assert herself and manages to save the people of Seabost from disaster. Having previously had her superstitions ignored and ridiculed by these people Bera manages to persuade them that her visions are correct and gives them a means to live on. This is the first in a trilogy and I’m intrigued to see how the saga continues and how Bera grows.
Published by Unbound:
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