Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.
Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.
Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.
In The Great North author J. Scott Coatsworth combines mythology, science fiction and romance and comes up with something quite wonderful. Coatsworth, in an almost stunningly compact story for something of this scope, provides us with detailed, and vivid world building. With scenes past, present and future spread here in the story, we get glimpses into this post-apocalyptic world at differing stages. From the use of small details throughout, we get accurate idea or pictures of where the characters are, filling things in with our own imaginations…none of it pretty of what might have happened to our world.
I really loved the characters down to their descriptions. It showed how quickly civilization had broken down so that even physical characteristics once again had become isolated into “islands” as had earlier gene types. The types of global disaster also drove the leftover population into self isolation with minimum communication with each other. Coatsworth also worked the rationale for Dwyn village’s religion rejection of “same sex love” into a cautionary tale of birth rates and survival. So many elements here that are woven into the story that capture the reader’s attention and imagination.
The romance between Mael and Dwyn is caught up is something huge, the mythology building here is as beautifully done as it the scientific groundwork the author laid down. In fact the imagery and beauty of the cold is striking as it is fearsome, easy to see it both cutting and awe inspiring. Just as it should be. I don’t really want to go into further details here other than I wish there was more to this part of the story. However, this is only the beginning of the series. I hope to find out more about what’s coming, what’s in store of the people there.
I love The Great North. This whole series holds great promise. I can’t wait to see where it goes. But for now I leave you with how it all starts, a story I highly recommend.
“We celebrate Dwyn’s Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It’s a remembrance of the way things were and the way they’ve come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love.”
—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay does a good job with the character.