I have long been curious about Walpurgisnacht, the eve of May Day (Maitag in German) but there is little information available about it. It is much liI have long been curious about Walpurgisnacht, the eve of May Day (Maitag in German) but there is little information available about it. It is much like Halloween if it was celebrated in spring. I was impressed, this book was surprisingly well researched for a New Age press book. The first portion gives us the history and origins of Walpurgisnacht, discusses witches in German folklore and holiday customs. The second part of the book has recipes, crafts and activities for the occasion. Many of them are simple & easy, including the materials needed, so it is quite family-friendly, as well as fun for adults who enjoy whimsy. All in all, Night of the Witches was fun & interesting, striking a good balance between background information & ideas for celebrating. ...more
There are not many good fantasy novels about unicorns, perhaps they are seen as too silly compared to dragons- or even fairies? But Pierce manages toThere are not many good fantasy novels about unicorns, perhaps they are seen as too silly compared to dragons- or even fairies? But Pierce manages to create a fascinating unicorn culture, and the beautiful yet harsh world they share with gryphons, wyverns and pans (satyrs). Jan is the rebellious son of Korr, prince of his clan. In spite of all his disobedience he is allowed to go on a dangerous pilgrimage to a sacred pool to be initiated into adulthood- and seek his destiny.
I really enjoyed this book, especially the world-building, and the characters were pretty good too. Some aspects of the plot were predictable, though- like the identity of the Firebringer. There is a lot of back-story, but it was relevant and not excessive. I was also somewhat reminded of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' Kiesha'ra series (Hawksong etc) so fans of her may enjoy this trilogy as well....more
Note: this is the 7th in the Young Wizards series Nita, Kit and Dairine are hoping for a break from the craziness of their lives. Dairine signs up forNote: this is the 7th in the Young Wizards series Nita, Kit and Dairine are hoping for a break from the craziness of their lives. Dairine signs up for a wizardly intergalactic exchange program- Kit & Nita head for the planet Alaalu, while 3 wizards come to stay at with Dairine & her father. But this turns out to not be as much of a vacation as they'd hoped. Nita & Kit relax on the peaceful planet, getting to know the friendly family they stay with. But they slowly begin to realize that this is too good to be true. Meanwhile, Dairine contends with various cultural clashes, including with an arrogant prince. But he may hold the key to saving Earth from disaster...
As usual with the Young Wizards books, this is a fun and fast-paced adventure, amusing as well as thoughtful about philosophy & ethics. I found some of the ideas & technical concepts in it hard to understand, but you don't need to understand all the details to follow and enjoy the story.
One criticism I do have, is that I think it would be more interesting if the wizards had an enemy other than the Lone Power (roughly equivalent to Lucifer/Satan in their universe) S/he suffers from the "Sauron/Voldemort" problem- too abstract & distant to be a really interesting villain. Human-like enemy(ies) would be better, a great antagonist that the reader loves to hate....more