One of the things I have enjoyed about my leap into writing has been meeting other new writers. I was recently privileged to meet Sunni Morris and read her latest novel, The Medallion. I try to stick to historical fiction, time travel, and Scotland: Sunni’s novel falls in the world of fantasy, but in a medieval style setting in Britain.
The Medallion has a fairytale quality, a story within a story in the style of Second Hand Lions, the Princess Bride, or Inkheart. Like The Princess Bride, it is set in a semi-fantasy, semi-Medieval world; this particular world is teeming with bandits, a mysterious medallion, a mischievous fairy trying hard to be less so, an enigmatic Lady, and wizards, moving in and out among the ordinary peasantry just trying to survive and make sense of the hardships of life. The story, as told by a mysterious old man, centers on two sisters torn apart by bandits in their youth. One sister finds a semblance of happiness and, eventually, a mysterious and great destiny waiting for her, while the other suffers greatly, but never gives up her dream of finding her sister.
The story opens with a narration in an almost fairy-tale style that promises something magical and mysterious to come, and sets the stage. The language is beautiful, with a rhythm and poetry that echoes the mysterious, dreamlike, fairy-tale beauty of the story itself. I found myself wanting to read slowly and savor every word and lush image, even as I wanted to race ahead and find out what happens.
What attracted me most to The Medallion was the lyric and poetic writing style. The book is worth reading for that alone, with descriptions as lush and beautiful as the Lady’s island. You can see the dew drops on each leaf, and feel the grass under your feet. But lovers of fantasy and medieval times will also love the setting, and the elements of adventure and romance, as Anwen and her sister Alana, separated years ago by an attack of bandits, spend years hoping to find one another even as their lives unwind.
The book ends with one mission accomplished, but the good feeling that there is plenty of story left in these characters, and plenty more adventures waiting for them and for their readers. I look forward to the sequel.