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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Cradle of the Gods by Thomas Quinn Miller is a YA fantasy novel. Young Ghile, who lives in the Cradle, is of age to take part in a traditional celebration that means the start of manhood. But will he suffer the same fate as his older brother and be culled by the vicious dwarves? This is not all Ghile has to contend with. When he stumbles upon a strange statue inside the forbidden ruins, he becomes a “stonechosen” and finds he has some extraordinary abilities. Ghile’s people, the surviving humans, live simply and obediently in order to survive the power games or struggles of the dwarves, elves, sorcerers and gods. But things are changing – it’s the time of the “stonechosen” and Ghile finds himself caught up in an exciting but perilous mission.
Cradle of the Gods has a wonderfully well-crafted plot that moves at a good pace and takes the reader on a gripping journey of fantasy, magic, discovery and peril. I like the way the world of the characters is revealed gradually as the story unfolds – we discover the background and intricacies of Ghile’s world as he encounters events himself. I found myself sharing in his bewilderment, fears and determination, and rooting for him to survive and succeed in his mission. The many characters are wonderfully varied with strong, well-defined personalities and motivations. I especially liked Gaidel, druid daughter of the All Mother who connects through song to nature and life and her words: “Life was…an eternal song one had to join to find harmony”. Her philosophy adds to the book’s extra message about life and meaning.
Thomas Quinn Miller’s brilliant imagination has created an array of captivating, powerful and believable beings and species that interact and attempt to wield their influence and powers over one another. I was reminded at times of the conflicts and challenges characters faced in the world of Lord of the Rings. The story kept my interest throughout and ends with the indication of further missions and challenges for young Ghile and his friends – enticing the reader into future sequels of the book. Excellent vivid writing, great story and characters, and all the ingredients of an imaginatively entertaining, thought-provoking and action packed fantasy. Recommended.