Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox

The Tower of Sephalon Book 3

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
425 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox is a work of fiction penned by author Charles Brass in the coming-of-age, dark fantasy, and adventure subgenres, and is the third novel of The Tower of Sephalon series. The work is intended for young adult readers. In this engaging tale, life at the Tower is both exhilarating and unforgiving. Eight-year-old Bevenlee, a peasant girl, is drawn to the aura of Princess Ukee and soon finds herself en route to the Tower, where Sisters attend the Mothers who birth the gods of the land. As Bevenlee becomes a Sister, she faces torment and injuries from both Sisters and gods. When a terrifying pestilence threatens the Scattered Kingdoms and tensions rise within the Tower, Bevenlee must confront suspicions about a mysterious child linked to the deadly pox, risking her sanity to save her loved ones.

Author Charles Brass has crafted a novel packed with imaginative storytelling and vivid descriptions. Gorgeous lexical choices bring the Tower and its inhabitants to life, captivating readers from the first page to the last and offering new layers of discovery the deeper one dives into this excellent series. The character of Bevenlee, with her courage and determination in the face of adversity, is drawn well with a close narrative focus and some excellent speech and thought presentation that allows readers to see her grow with every challenge. The excellent pacing and surprise twists kept me eagerly turning the pages, and I appreciated how the novel can be enjoyed as a standalone story while still offering depth and richness to the larger series. Overall, Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox is a highly recommended read for YA fantasy fans everywhere that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Alma Boucher

In Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox: The Tower of Sephalon Book 3 by Charles Brass, when the royal family entered the honor hall, Bevenlee and her family were seated there. She noticed Princess Ukee had an odd, weak yellowish glow about her that suggested Ukee was expecting. Four sisters were sent with a large carriage to bring Bevenlee and Princess Ukee to the Tower, and Bevenlee and Ukee became good friends on the way. Bevenlee gained experience as a sister by helping the mothers and tending to Ukee, who was unresponsive after giving birth. Bevenlee had to figure out a way to save herself, Mother Ukee, and everyone they loved and cared for when the sisters began passing away from the pox. Bevenlee suspected that Ukee's child might be the cause.

Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox by Charles Brass has an intriguing and complex fantasy plot. I was hooked from the start and could not put it down. I had to know what would happen next, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat, turning the pages. Everything was described in detail, and the story was easy to read. The characters were authentic and realistic and could be anyone I knew. My favorite was the eight-year-old Bevenlee who had to deal with being taken from her home and family and told she would never see them again. She was loved and enjoyed her life as a sister in the Tower, although she missed her family back home. The story is beautifully written and had me guessing wildly until the end.

Jamie Michele

In Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox by Charles Brass, a young girl named Bevenlee finds herself swept away in a carriage after a celebration, learning about her destiny tied to a tower. At the Tower, Bevenlee adapts to her new life as a "Sister,” assisting with chores and learning, but also witnessing Sisters afflicted with mindpox and the limitations of godswater. Bevenlee finds solace in camaraderie with her Sisters, but then she has a tragic fall that causes memory loss, and the loss of teeth and an eye. Bevenlee's strength gradually returns, and she receives support from her community while coming to terms with her destiny. She struggles with visions and whispers from the Beyond but, despite her physical and emotional journey, Bevenlee gradually accepts her new reality. However, when Bevenlee retells her encounter with the entity responsible for her injuries, suspicions about the Tower's construction raise questions about its true nature and purpose.

Charles Brass delivers a heartening story in Sister Bevenlee and Mother of Pox, allowing for a look into the deeply emotional bond between Sister Bevenlee and Mother Ukee. It is not the main plot, but as a mother myself, Brass's portrayal of this relationship infused the characters with authenticity and relatability. I also really respect Brass's unflinching exploration of pressing social issues—abuse, societal expectations, and the plight of women—within the fantastical realm he has crafted. We immediately learn of a father's abuse and the crushing expectations of society that reflect on real-world injustices within the framework of a fantasy narrative. This is still a fantasy though, and the elements are all there, from Bevenlee's ailment, Builder and godswater, Ukee's memory loss and her child's mysterious journey, and the hum that causes falls down the stairs. The Tower of Sephalon series, including this third book, shows Brass's unparalleled talent for breathing life into unseen worlds and characters and is a pleasure to read.