A Turn of Light

DAW, dist. by Penguin. (Marrowdell, Bk. 1). Mar. 2013. 864p. ISBN 9780756407070. pap. $20. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarJenn Nalynn, the miller's daughter, lives a charmed life in the tiny, secluded village of Marrowdell. She spends her days in the meadow near the forbidden place called Night's Edge, passing her time with her invisible companion, Wisp, her best and truest friend. But as she grows to adulthood, she longs to visit places outside the village, which has grown too small for her ambitious and hungry mind. Only then does she discover that Marrowdell sits on the edge of the Verge, a magical chasm that divides the world of mortals from a dangerous world of dragons and stranger creatures, and that she has the power to create chaos between the two worlds if she sets foot outside the village. The appearance of two strangers, former soldiers, in the village signals the beginning of tumultuous events that bring Jenn's safe world and her dreams of travel crashing down around her.
VERDICT Known for her powerful and insightful sf novels (In the Company of Others), Czerneda brings the same exacting sensibility to her brilliant fantasy debut. Her characters are both charming and believable, and Jenn, her friend Wisp, and the soldier Bannan stand out as memorable and utterly real. While this can be read as a stand-alone, there are plenty of possibilities for more stories in the world outside Marrowdell. Fans of L.E. Modesitt Jr. and Charles de Lint will love this fantastic and magical fable.
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