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The Welsh Bookworm

The Welsh Bookworm is a librarian living and working in rural Minnesota. She is a past-president of the St. David’s Society of Minnesota, leads the Welsh folk-dance group Traed Y Ddraig, and teaches Welsh language classes. Her Welsh Bookworm column was featured occasionally in the newspaper Y Drych, now part of Ninnau. Laurel works for the Carver County Public Libraries in Waconia and Norwood Young America, loves reading, music, dance, languages, genealogy, gardening, and bird watching. Laurel reads historical fiction, mysteries, sci fi/fantasy, medieval and British history, Arthurian fiction, classics, and of course, anything connected to Wales. Follow my blog at http://welshbookworm.wordpress.com

Currently reading

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train
William Kuhn
The Boleyn Deceit
Laura Andersen
Ascension - Kara Dalkey This was just what the doctor ordered to provide a lighter diversion alongside Wolf Hall. I am not regretting spending actual money on the ebook. The intended audience is probably preteen - I would say ages 10-13. But I'm an adult and enjoyed it. The author has created a (mostly) believable underwater world (Atlantis, after it sank). The mermyds are very humanlike - some, like Nia, even have legs instead of tails - and they can breathe out of water. Nia is a spunky, likeable heroine. Some reviewers have criticized all the details about the city and its history, but that is what is bringing it alive for me. I like lots of details, and I think children do too - it's what puts you into the story. I also like the sci fi elements (the squidlike Farworlders who exist in a sort of symbiotic relationship to the mermyds). Nothing overtly Arthurian in this first book of the trilogy - this is a teenaged Niniane long before she becomes the "Lady of the Lake." I am looking forward to finding out how she gets there....

From Publishers Weekly
This imaginative debut book in the Water fantasy series stars an appealing, strong-willed 16-year-old who dreams of ascending to the Low Council that, conjointly with the High Council, rules Atlantis. Nia aspires to become an Avatar like her grandfather, one of 10 mermyds who pair off with a highly intelligent alien Farworlder to govern their underwater city. But Nia's Bluefin clan chooses Garun, her "hardly noticeable" cousin to represent them in the Trials, the contest to select a new council member. And Nia soon learns that her underwater city "is not quite the perfect and open place it seems." First, Nia discovers a secret prison holding an Avatar and his Farworlder, then she realizes that her grandfather is manipulating the trials in Garun's favor. Dalkey's intriguing marine world brims with descriptions of Atlantis and mermyd life, including details of the Trials and the ceremony joining Avatar and Farworlder not to mention the mystery surrounding Garun's likely ascension to the council. Some of the plotting, however, seems truncated next to all this exposition: for example, the alliance between Nia's boyfriend, Cephan, and the imprisoned Avatar could have been more clearly drawn, and readers never learn why Nia's family opposes her entering the Trials. Perhaps more will be revealed in the next installment, Reunion (due in April), but even given these vagaries, readers will relate to the heroine, from her jealousy of Garun to her excitement at seeing Cephan. There is enough intrigue right to the finish to keep this story afloat. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Series info:
Water series
01. Ascension - read
02. Reunion
03. Transformation