Spirit Sight is an epic fantasy novel in the series Last of the Gifted that was released in 2020 set in the medieval era in the heart of Wales in Britain. The author, Marie Powell, is a knowledgeable and passionate author, specialising in phonics books for children in early years and middle-grade. So the leap to Young Adult writing with such rich history is amazing, as she has done mountains of research for the story, surrounding how Wales might have been like at that time.
I was given a free copy of the audiobook, so I am providing an unbiased review for this novel. At first glance, the book is attractive on the cover and the choice of narrator is someone who is proficient at pronouncing Welsh names and words fluently. I did notice that the quality of the recording tended to cut out occasionally, and there were parts in every chapter where a piece of audio would play over the actual transcript and the narrator’s flow tended to falter occasionally. I did let the author’s publicist know so it could be rectified, but the quality did interrupt the flow of the reading if I am honest. Otherwise, I really enjoyed listening to this book and felt like I understood the language well, I would definitely advise people to read the book if they are able to
Powell has built a fantastical world surrounding historical points surrounding Kings and Princes and it felt very much like romantic fantasy, the type of story that you could fall in love with the types of characters used about knights, war, honour and love. What’s not to love here?
The bond between the characters Hyw and Cat is heart-warming and so endearing, they have an incredibly strong bond and you get to see their story as we run through the book as well as following the storyline of the fight of the Welsh against the English King. I love a story that is loosely based on real history and was excited when I realised that Spirit Sight is set when the English took control over Wales with King Edward I, marking the end of the Welsh independence. The amount of bravery it takes to write a story around a country’s piece of history that could potentially be controversial is astounding – more so when it is executed as well as Spriti Sight.
Powell keeps the story flowing, adds tension in perfect places as well as fast-paced scenes to keep the listener on their toes, it works really well! Initially, I thought that comprehension might not translate well in the audiobook, as occasionally when there is a lot of background information to listen to one might become bored quickly but there was a quality in the plot that kept me tuned in.
I would recommend this book as a read, not to be listened to if you’re able to read it due to the poorer quality of the audiobook, the reviews for the physical copy of the book are outstanding and seems like the better option. The book felt marketed towards young adults aged 16+ as their comprehension is much more suited as well as occasional mention of death and mild gore. Adults would get a lot of enjoyment from this book for epic fantasy fans.
Spirit Sight Summary
Theme: this is an epic fantasy novel, set in the 13th century around King Edward I’s conquest of Wales.
Description: Suitable for all ages of people with good reading comprehension. Some mild mention of violence and death. A fantastic addition to epic fantasy nerds!
Narration: This is written in a third-person view and the narrator for the audiobook was a native to Wales. The pronunciation of the Welsh language and names was perfect, something that wouldn’t have been achieved with an English-only speaker.
Marie Powell’s adventures in castle-hopping and exploring her family roots resulted in her historical fantasy novels, Spirit Sight and Water Sight (Last of the Gifted).
These are just two of Marie’s 40-plus children’s and young adult books with such traditional publishers as Amicus Publishing, Scholastic Education, Lerner/Lightning Bolt, Crabtree and more. Her short fiction and poetry can be found in subTerrain, Room, Transition, and other literary magazines. She is also a professional writer, editor, journalist, and photographer with work published in a variety of formats.
Marie’s children’s books include early readers, middle-grade nonfiction, and science books for young readers. Her young adult novels include fantasy and historical fantasy books. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, online and international markets. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. As well, she provides research and editing services and loves to do readings and workshops for all ages.
She loves travelling. On recent trips to Wales, she immersed herself in the culture and landscape of her heritage. At the same time, she discovered valuable research for her YA fantasy series, Last of the Gifted.
Conquest of Wales by Edward I – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquest_of_Wales_by_Edward_I