Morrighan (The Remnant Chronicles 0.5) by Mary E Pearson #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #PostApocalyptic

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive. 

Although this is a prequel it can be read as a standalone novella. I haven’t yet read any of the Remnant Chronicles so I’m not sure of the connection to the series. From what I can gather the characters in this don’t feature in the main storyline and are, perhaps, ancestors. 

Morrighan and her family are Remnants who survive in a post  apocalyptic world. They are nomads, constantly on the move in search of food and safety. Morrighan was eight years old when she first saw young Jafir de Aldrid. It was also the first time Morrighan had been by herself and so close to one of the Scavenger clan who steal whatever, and from whoever, they can. As she heard more of the Scavengers approach on horseback she feared for her life. Inexplicably, Jafir didn’t give her away and the hunting party left, unaware of her presence.

Over the next few years Morrighan and Jafir encounter one another several times and form a friendship of sorts unbeknownst to either of their tribes. Life is harsh and uncertain, initially all Morrighan and Jafir have in common is hunger. As the years pass things begin to become clearer to Morrighan as she develops the ‘knowing’ that is specific to her people, and even though her life and Jafir’s are so very different they must decide if their future is worth fighting for.

“Stories must begin somewhere, Jafir,” I said gently. “Maybe they can begin with you?”

I enjoyed the story very much, but for me it could have been fleshed out quite a bit. There was an awful lot going on giving so much potential for a full length, or even just slightly longer, book. I could feel that way because of lack of knowledge about the rest of the story, of course, and it may not need expanding in view of that. The writing is expressive and vivid, with alternating points of view from Morrighan and Jafir. The world building and strong, believable characterisations are extremely well done. 

The ending was a bit of a let down though – it seemed a little too neatly and quickly wrapped up. One aspect of the storyline was resolved too easily with minimum fuss after what was an ongoing issue in the narrative. But it has given me the incentive to try the first book of the series.

On its heels came a whispered name that was always just beyond my reach, not yet mine to hear, but I knew that one day my children’s children or the ones who came after would hear it.

One day hope would have a name.

The narration was excellent. Julia Whelan and MacLeod Andrews can always be relied upon to give a great performance and bring any story to life.

Morrighan only seems to be available in audiobook format in the UK, but is available as an ebook in the US.

About the author

123463I suppose I have always been enamored with story and character. My mother tells me I could be the most annoying little kid, waking up each day as a new character. Every morning she would have to ask me “who” I was for that day, because unless properly addressed I refused to answer anyone. 

One time when I was about four years old, my parents were out shopping at Sears. They each thought the other had me by the hand when in fact I was exploring my own aisle (translation: I was lost!) Two salesladies found me and sat me on the counter, asking me my name so they could page my parents. I remember their consternation when I would only answer “Little Red Riding Hood.” They couldn’t shake my real name out of me no how, no way. I knew the value of persistence even then. My parents say they nearly fell over, when over the loud speaker they heard, “Would the parents of Little Red Riding Hood please come claim their child?” They knew exactly “who” was lost. These days I mostly wake up as myself, though I do seem to hang out with a lot of “characters” during the day.

Usually when people mention their education in their bios they only mention their college degrees, but to me, it is just as important what happened way before that. Wow–second grade! I will never forget Mrs. Alsenz. Boy, could she tell a great story! She would make them up and pretty soon have a classroom of wiggly kids exuberantly telling stories right along with her. And then there was Mrs. Bonsey in fourth grade. She always praised my writing and made a shy little girl feel like she might actually excel at something. And finally in twelfth grade came Mr. Kirk, crusty on the outside with a heart of gold on the inside, who loved the English language and taught his students to do the same. (Hey, Mr. Kirk, do you see me waving at ya?)

Later I went on to get a BFA from Long Beach State University in art. I worked for a time as an artist then started the most challenging job of my life–motherhood. Holy smokes, no one told me there would be no coffee breaks. But it is the most rewarding job I have ever had (watch out–I’ll start dragging out the pictures) 

Still later, I went to San Diego State University where I received my teaching credential. I went on to teach many different grades but it was my second grade students who pushed me back into writing. During Writing Workshop I would sit with them and write, loving the process, loving the stories, and lo and behold deciding I would love to return to my first love. That’s a whole lot of lovin’ going on and luckily for me I was able to do just that. Not that writing is easy. I have a huge stack of rejections to prove it, but I still have enough of that Little Red Riding Hood persistence in me to keep on going.

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