Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Liberty is a magical land concealed within the woods of Wittern, a small village Grace Darling thinks she knows everything about – that is until she discovers an ancient gate hidden behind a huge holly bush. This hidden place is called Liberty and a great evil is brewing within Liberty. The Nomeds feed on the good and become stronger, but Zavier, the Berthold of Maytime Meadow has to gather the rest of the realm’s Berthold, their leaders who must come to the Great Prophet who thinks he has seen a way to defeat the Nomeds.
The book is eye-catching with its emerald green cover and gold lettering. An owl in flight swoops, ready to land. However when you read the back cover blurb you might get to thinking it is a reworking of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis even down to a character named Caspian. As in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy there is even a language different from the English we know used by Zavier. The basic idea of this novel is that twisted and maligned humanoids called Nomeds are hunting the fairy creatures in the Liberty Realm; it could almost be a social comment on how the beauty of the natural world has been tainted and blighted by humanity’s greed. There are sinister goings on in the realm which makes this more than just a fantasy story. It is one with an element of horror in it that can have quite a lot of bite.
Grace is a girl who lives on the other side of Liberty, a human realm where they have no idea what goes on there. She has an interest in photography, animals, especially birds so she is perfect to be a crusader for Zavier’s cause. Somehow she finds the hidden realm, but she is not supposed to as humans aren’t allowed to know magic exists, let alone discover Liberty itself. There are other clues to the many influences in this story, but if you can look beyond them, this is a story that will entertain and interest both young and older children.