I’ve just finished “Solstice at Stonewylde” by Kit Berry and I really liked it! It’s the third book in the Stonewylde series, the finale of the original trilogy. This was a reread as the first and second book were, as well. I don’t think I necessarily had as much fun as I did reading the previous two books because I didn’t think quite as much happened in it. Reading is subjective, though, so we all experience different thoughts and feelings as we read. That’s part of what I love about it. Anyway, there are 5 books in the Stonewylde series in total. The last 2 focus on a different storyline to the others, however, with the lead characters from the first three books as adults.
In “Solstice at Stonewylde” we’re still following Yul and Sylvie and their relationship where they’re trying to be together no matter what. Living in a society run by a tyrannical leader makes that hard, however. Magus, the leader of Stonewylde won’t let Yul and Sylvie be together and he’s prepeared to do whatever it takes to stop that from happening. The basic plot of “Solstice at Stonewylde” cumulates in a battle at Winter Solstice. Who will win? You’ll have to read to find out...
I read “Solstice at Stonewylde” for a few readathons again.
• For Reading Rivalry, I read it for a book with an adventure book, as the characters go on an adventure to try and save Stonewylde.
• For the Facebook Book Bingo for July I read it for a book by an English author, as Kit Berry is English.
For the Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge, I read it for “a book involving a heist” because Yul steals something of importance to one of the characters.
There are a lot of abusive elements as well as some more mature themes in “Moondance Of Stonewylde” but if you can handle abuse in books I highly suggest picking it up, as it’s a magical, brilliant story.
“Rubbish,” said magus firmly. “Remember that I know best in these matters. I’ve warned you that Sylvie is prone to malingering and attention seeking. It’s Samhain tomorrow and she should be preparing for the festival along with everyone else. This is all for show - she’s absolutely fine. Leave us, Miranda. I want to speak with her alone.”
This is right at the beginning of “Solstice at Stonewylde”, where Magus is being obsessively controlling, only looking out for his own interests. He doesn’t care about Sylvie or Miranda, a daughter and mother who came to Stonewylde in book 1, “Magus Of Stonewylde” for the health benefits for Sylvie. All Magus cares about is using Sylvie for her Moon Magic, as he gets her to charge up eggs with her energy. This causes Sylvie pain that Magus doesn’t care about. He’s only in for what he can get. In the above quote he’s telling Miranda not to fuss over Sylvie and that she’s is lying about being in pain and attention seeking. Of course we know that she isn’t. It’s Magus that is, but as he’s the leader of Stonewylde, he gets believed over everyone else in all matters.
“You’ll go to Mooncliffe every month for long as I want you to.”
This is again Magus ordering Sylvie around, telling her that she’ll continue to go to Mooncliffe, the place where she charges the eggs for as long as he demands her to go. She started going to Mooncliffe in book 2 “Moondance of Stonewylde”. Magus kind of gives me the vibes of a historical king, as they were very demanding with their subjects, too.
“Sylvie wanted very much to cling to Miranda, who stood nearby, by that was out of the question given Miranda’s earlier remarks. Her mother had made it very clear where her priorities now lay. Sylvie felt abandoned - and very vulnerable.”
Sylvie feels betrayed by those who so say love her for most of the novel. Miranda is pregnant with Magus’s baby so she doesn’t want to jeopardise her or her baby’s relationship with him. I understood this but at the same time I was literally screaming at Miranda to just open her eyes and see what a pig Magus was to everyone, including her and Sylvie. Just because he’s the ruler doesn’t mean he has to be abusive.
“She’d fight to the very end. And she’d rather die here than live under his dominion.” This is significant because it tells us that Sylvie won’t give up the fight against Magus, no matter what. It also let’s us know how brave she is, being that she’s only a teenager. Sylvie wants to see the end of Magus’s rule. Will she, though? You’ll need to read to find out. This is what the novel centres around...the fight for Stonewylde...
“It’s the new year tomorrow. Can we start again as friends? And that which I forced you to give, can you think about giving freely? I need your moon magic, Sylvie, I need it so desperately. If I’m going to run Stonewylde as it should be run, I need the energy only you can give me. I can get Clip to use his hypnosis to help alleviate the discomfort for you.”
Magus is politely asking Sylvie to give her power freely or willingly to him. He’s using Stonewylde as a ruse to get Sylvie to give it to him. All he really wants is to be stronger than anyone else. He doesn’t care about a friendship with her and later in the book, when he can’t get Clip, his brother to use hypnosis he demands that she gives him her power rudely and goes so far as to abuse her.
“Worst of all, I think he enjoys watching me suffer,” is what Sylvie says to Clip when he comes to see Magus later in “Solstice at Stonewylde” and finds Sylvie is being held as a prisoner in Magus’s rooms. Sylvie is scared of just what he’ll do next but she needs to keep him happy so that Mother Heggy’s prophecy can go ahead. Mother Heggy, the old crone prophesied that there will be five deaths, at Winter Solstice. She couldn’t see who, just that there would be five of them. Is one Magus? Is one Yul? Is one Sylvie? You’ll need to read to find out.
We also find out who Sylvie’s father is in “Solstice at Stonewylde”. I won’t to spoil it but I thought that Miranda just forgave the man, rather too easily. I mean, he as good as abused her that night in the forest. It seems that that was just glossed over to make room for other events in the book. I would have liked to have seen a bit more resistance from Miranda, instead of her just accepting that’s the way things are. Sylvie, it seems is the only one who’s shocked by the news.
There are many more elements to this story. I’m really just focusing on the ones that I think stand out most.
What did I like about “Solstice at Stonewylde”?
I liked how we got to see more of Sylvie’s budding yet forbidden relationship. I love it when there’s an intense but forbidden romance. It makes any book more exciting for me to read.
I liked how Magus carried on being a controlling, dominant figure. If he hadn’t been so present in the story it wouldn’t have been so good, I don’t think.
I liked how our side characters were more included. It felt as if in the previous books the story was more focused around Sylvie and Yul, when in “Solstice at Stonewylde” there were other important characters, too.
What didn’t I like about “Solstice at Stonewylde”?
“Solstice at Stonewylde” seemed to suffer from like a second book syndrome for me, even though, yes, it’s the third book instead of the second. I think this was because the main characters didn’t really do anything surprising, apart from a few moments (none of which I’m going to spoil). The things that happened were kind of predictable at this point.
I didn’t so much like how the plot seemed to focus only on Magus imprisoning Sylvie for a good proportion of the book. Yes, this is important but I wish it had been cut down. It didn’t feel as if we had as much of Yul in “Solstice at Stonewylde” because of this.
There weren’t as many Sylvie and Yul moments because of the second point made, also. This was disappointing as I would have liked to have seen a few more romantic moments between the two.
The final battle was over in a few pages at the end of “Solstice at Stonewylde”. I wanted to see more of a fight between the two opposing sides (I don’t want to spoil ANY of this because it’s so short)!
It seemed like a little bit of a let down as this is the last book in original the Stonewylde trilogy, which chronicles Yul and Sylvie’s life as teenagers at Stonewylde.
Overall, it doesn’t sound like I really liked “Solstice at Stonewylde”, even though I did! There were just bits that I would have cut down to make it flow better. I also definitely would have added in more scenes of Yul worrying for Sylvie. I thought there were really only two or three instances of this. I would have liked to have seen more. As I said, this sounds like a really negative review but it isn’r. Please still read the Stonewylde series if it sounds interesting to you. I think in its entirety it’s my 3rd favourite series EVER!
Stand by for my next review, coming soon...