Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dethalissicus by Chelsea Brooke

Title: "Dethalissicus: The Parting of the Worlds"
Author: Chelsea Brooke
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition)

Author's description:

Dethas, an orphan living in early Engla', is captured by pirates and taken to Eire. Among a series of harrowing adventures, Dethas learns who she is, where the Tuatha Dé Danaan have disappeared to and becomes involved in the Great War between the sons of Cruithne of the Picts and Lord Vortigern of Engla'. 
"The story I remembered about my mother was always short and full of holes. She never had a wedding gown, but she was beautiful. Her eyes were like pieces of the sea, if the sea could become a rock and turn into stones. She could make a thief or a traitor confess what he had done and throw himself off a cliff, into those sea-eyes. Her lips were like flowers and like blood, virginal and terrible. She wore white, even when she traveled across the country on foot to find her people, even in the dark woods where she stood out like a skull shining in the moon. Her dress, like her, never seemed to wear from the traveling, as if she walked just barely above the loam, a small moth with feathery feet. And maybe she did, for she was one of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, one of the lost people, one of the people with strange powers and long lives."

My official review:

Title & Genre

I would place this book in the historical fiction genre, with elements of fantasy and mythology. Its title, “Dethalissicus”, is the name of the main character – which the author does not give away easily – an intricate name with symbolic references, maybe referring to “death”.  Unlike the other names in the book, the main character’s name is not explained in the Glossary, the author leaving it surrounded by mystery.

Point of view

The story is written in first person. I liked that the point of view shifts at the end from the main character, Dethas, to Succat, but the author keeps the first-person narrative.


The novel has a multitude of characters, most of them only sketched. Chelsea Brooke lets her characters develop by themselves in front of your eyes, through their actions and sometimes dialogue, not influencing you by giving clues. She describes only their physical traits. My favorite character was Amien, in my opinion, the most complex character in the novel, with his ever-changing behavior and temper, and with the many secrets that he keeps.

Theme & Plot

The storyline holds a multitude of plots and sub-plots that develop and resolve through the story. It is an open-end book, with the background plot (the parting of the worlds) being left unresolved, the author leaving the possibility for a sequel, or just for our minds to wonder about. We are introduced to the main theme - the battle between good and evil - from the beginning of the narration, and we find the same theme in all the sub-plots. Elements of mystery and suspense are present throughout the story, and accident plays an important role, turning the storyline in a different direction from what you expected.


No matter how intricate and complex the plotting of the novel is, I found it secondary to the setting. The action is set in 5th-6th century post-Roman Britain, during a time of internal wars between tribes. The author tries to imitate the language and vocabulary of those times, making the book a laborious reading, at least for the first chapters, until you get used to it. From a point of view of scenic effects, I consider this book a descriptive novel. The illustration of the hills, plains and forests of old Britain is majestic, full of details and imagery; it is easy to get stolen away from what is happening in the story. I also felt that there is a strong relationship between the events and the scenery: rain starts pouring when the main character is facing some hardship, winter becomes a time of transition, and spring is the time for hope and new adventures.


The only critical comment I have refers to the use of dialogue – it is reduced, and I would have liked to see more of it. 


I recommend this novel to readers of historical fiction and fantasy, and especially to lovers of descriptive writing. It seems to be the author’s true calling.

My Twist:

Favorite character: Amienus Muiretaamas, going by the name of Amien - in my opinion, it is the most complex character in the novel; he is now a cruel pirate, burning houses and taking slaves, then he is the nicest pirate on the sea, then he mysteriously disappears and reappears when you least expect him, then he is... but I'll let you discover that for yourselves, as I allow no spoilers in my reviews.
Favorite quotes (trust me, it was difficult to choose only two): 
                            "It started raining and the fires began to hiss in protest."
                            "The men [were] talking so loudly that I felt the birds had stopped singing, not in fright, but because they had gone deaf and could not hear themselves."

Favorite name: Rhain - it just feels soft on your tongue, and sounds like warm soft rain.

Least favorite characters: Cillian - a snake
                                 Ailbhe - why do I dislike him? Just take a look at my "least favorite quote"

Least favorite quote: "He was the one who stole Fenella's cat and strung it by its tail until it was heard screaming from the barn and was rescued." - I am an animal lover and a cat person. It's a good thing that that poor cat was saved, otherwise I would have stopped my reading here! I say NO to animal cruelty, even if it's imaginary!
Least favorite name: Giwahanen - why don't I like it? Well, just try to pronounce it... and if only it was the only name like that...

Aspirin of the book:

If you find that you endure pain, hunger, thirst and other hardships better than anybody else, if you find yourself kissing a relative or being kidnapped, don't worry, it might mean that you are a magical creature.

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