(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Selah Kilbrid, descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, has been ordered to remain in London and leave any dangers in Ireland to her goddess-born family. They fear she’s no match for Death’s most powerful daughter and—if the legend holds true—the witch who once nearly destroyed the Irish people. But Selah has never been good at following orders, and nothing will stop her from setting out to find the two people she loves most—her dearest friend, Nora Goodwin, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan.
Hiding from kin, traveling uneasily beside companions with secrets of their own, Selah is forced on an unexpected path by those who would steal her gift of healing. With precious time ticking away, she turns to a mortal enemy for help, heedless of the cost.
Selah would pass though hell to rescue Nora and Henry, but what if it means unleashing a greater evil on the human world? Her only chance is to claim the fullest extent of her birthright—at the risk of being forever separated from the man she longs to marry.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
It took me much longer than expected to finally get to An Immortal Descent, the last book in the Goddess Born trilogy, but I finally did. And I’m very, very glad I did.
The second book ended on a cliffhanger with Selah’s friend Nora being kidnapped by Deri, the daughter of Cailleach who can kill people just by touching them. So Selah has to travel to Ireland, where Deri has taken her friend for a possible ritual sacrifice. Of course the journey doesn’t go very smoothly as we discover that Cailleach has more than just one child on the loose and that perhaps not all of Brigid’s children use their gifts for good as Selah does. There are plenty of twists and turns on Selah’s journey with a surprising yet satisfying ending. Even better, the plot is relatively fast-paced considering just how much information and character development Kari Edgren puts into her novel.
What I really loved about An Immortal Descent was the expanded mythology of the goddess born. As we learn, Cailleach and Brigid certainly aren’t the only ones to have descendants in the human world, even if they do seem to be the most prolific. There are others like Nuada, Balor and Lugh whose descendants have motivations of their own and unique powers. And unlike with descendants of Brigid and Cailleach, their powers aren’t always immediately apparent. It certainly makes for a few surprises throughout the novel.
Another satisfying bit was the character development of Selah. She’s come a long way from the first book but it’s only really now that she’s truly learning to trust her instincts when it comes to her healing powers. Selah tries to do things she never would have in terms of healing in the first book (like reattaching a certain idiot’s hand). And she’s becoming more self-possessed, more willing to challenge Henry on his seemingly increasing penchant for violence. She stands up to people like Julian, James and Cate more than she did in the last book and finally takes fate into her own hands. It’s a wonderful transformation from the generally shy yet still feisty woman we met in the first book.
Although Henry doesn’t play as big of a role in this book as he did in previous ones, he’s still present and he’s definitely a changed man. Despite his penchant for violence and his hot temper, he listens to Selah and values her opinion. Even when he completely disagrees with her, he at least listens before taking action. And now Henry isn’t as blind to the motivations of those around him. He realizes that James completely mistreated Selah and that Julian is a growing danger (not just a romantic rival), despite ostensibly being on the side of the other goddess born like Tom and Cate. When he and Selah are together, they make a very well balanced couple and they’re one of my favourite book couples of all time.
If you enjoyed the previous two books, Goddess Born and A Grave Inheritance, you’ll love An Immortal Descent. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy. I can’t wait to see more from Kari Edgren in the coming years.
I give this book 5/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.
A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.
When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope–that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.
But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice–forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]
From the blurb, I had pretty high expectations about Goddess Born. Not only that, it came highly recommended to me from a friend/colleague! So you could say Kari Edgren’s book had a lot to live up to. As it turns out, Goddess Born would far exceed my high expectations. The characters were excellent, the world-building was fantastic and Kari Edgren brought the early Colonies to life.
First off, the characters were excellent. Selah in reality, had a horrible decision to make when she learned of her cousin’s death. Her father is dead so there’s no man to protect her from the law and Nathan’s wrath. Her only hope is to marry her cousin, who’s dead. But nobody in Hopewell knows that, do they? So she embarks on a long, arduous and sometimes funny journey when she marries Henry, an indentured servant set to play the role of her cousin. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that yes, of course Henry and Selah are going to develop feelings for each other, but I also have to say that those feelings were far from Insta-Love. In fact, it was almost Insta-Hate for a while there.
Both Selah and Henry stand out for me as characters. They both have complicated histories behind the circumstances that found them married and neither one is really keen to divulge their past to the other. At the same time, it’s obvious that both of them feel for the other’s plight. Selah doesn’t like forcing Henry into a marriage just to save her own skin and Henry doesn’t like the fact that he’s the only one standing between Selah and Nathan’s considerable wrath. He feels for Selah and she for him, but of course things are always more complicated than that.
As for the magic of Selah’s line, I think it was pretty well thought out. It comes from the Celtic goddess Brigid and puts a lot of strain on its possessors. They have the power of life and death over medical matters, so you really have to appreciate the fact that Selah is a good person who would never hurt anyone, even her own worst enemy. Power like that can become heady and change people, but Selah is the sweet and level-headed young woman that she always has been. What I really liked about the fact of Selah’s power is that she does run out and she does have to do a complicated ritual to renew it by going to the Otherworld. Maintaining her power is not easy and adds another layer of conflict, rather than like in most stories where the power is never-ending and/or naturally replenishes itself.
I have to say that I also loved both the descriptions of the time as well as the pacing of the plot. Kari Edgren really made me feel like I was in Pennsylvania in 1730, even though obviously I haven’t and I’ve never even studied that period of history. I can’t vouch for authenticity in her descriptions but I do know that her writing really makes you feel like you’re in the period. Sometimes that’s almost better than being accurate and boring. The pacing, however, doesn’t allow for boredom. It starts out a little slow at first, but quickly we have Selah’s life spiraling out of control as Nathan makes his ultimatum, her father dies, she learns her cousin dies and she marries an indentured servant to pose as him. There is no such thing as a boring moment in Goddess Born.
So, at the end of all this, I don’t have anything but praise for this book. It came highly recommended and exceeded my expectations. It was fast-paced, felt historically authentic and the characters were amazing. I can’t recommend it enough and even if you’re not necessarily a big reader of historical fiction, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.
I give this book 5/5 stars.