| Article by Daniel Eskridge |
Like the main characters in many YA novels, Ingledove and her brother Langare orphans. They live with their late mother's employer, a rich industrialistin 1940's Asheville, North Carolina. When they were younger, their family livedin a town called Hazel Creek, but that town was destroyed when it was flooded bythe government to build a hydroelectric power system. The siblings are cared forby a mysterious old woman named Danagasta who seems to have some connection totheir mother. Danagasta sends them to visit their mother's grave which lies nearthe sunken town of Hazel Creek at the edge of Adantis, a sort of hidden land ofmagic within the valleys of the Appalachians, inhabited by people who are thedescendents of Cherokees and Scotch-Irish settlers.
Once there, Lang is lured by mysterious singing deeper into the land of Adantis.Reluctantly, Ingledove accompanies him. They stay for a few days with a strangeold woman and her even stranger child in a cabin. Lang eventually finds the sourceof the mysterious singing, a beautiful woman dressed in white named Malia. Maliahowever turns out to be a monstrous snake that bites and poisons him. So, it is upto Ingledove to save him by journeying deeper into Adantis to bring him to the Masterof Witchmasters who turns out to be surprisingly different than what the readermay be expecting.
I liked this book a great deal. Marly Youman's style is pleasantly dream like,relating the experiences of Ingledove through her immediate senses without wastingtime on lengthy interpretations. Having grown up myself in the foothills of theAppalachians, I found it easy to imagine the land of Adantis. In fact, quite abit of the book is devoted to describing the wonders of Youman's fantasy world.To a degree, the book seems more to be about Adantis rather than the title character, but since it is such an interesting land, this enhances the story rather than hindering it. The protagonists are well developed and easy to relate to, though I would have liked to have seen the villain Malia fleshed out a bit more with some more dialog time. Ingledove is the second in a series, but it stands alone well, and the first, The Curse of the Raven Mocker, is certainly not a prerequisite. All in all, I heartily recommend it.