Marella by Morgan Sheppard
Morgan Sheppard’s Wraidd Elfennol series has an intriguing beginning, found within the pages of Marella. Though it took me a long time to finish, it was worth it. Because stories have so many elements to them, I feel it’s only fair to break down my review into four categories: Plot, Prose, Character Development, and Originality. Overall, Marella has earned 4 out of 5 stars.
Marella’s plot is a slow build, taking you through her world. Her joys, hopes, and concerns, regarding her future. It begins on the night before young Marella’s test, where she will learn which of the four elements is her strength, and which is her secondary element. She wishes for it to be water. Desperately, she desires to be a Water Weaver. But will it happen? Marella tries her best to be content with the idea that water may not be her strength. It may not even be her secondary. Sheppard has beautifully captured the bliss and anxiety of a thirteen-year-old girl, who’s waiting for the next chapter of her life to begin.
By the end of Marella, I knew this series is a keeper. Mysterious things happen, after Marella’s test. Things don’t go how anyone imagined, not even how Marella imagined.
Sheppard lets things settle, then another interesting bit of information slips out, teasing this reader to keep going. To finish the book. Though the first in the series is a short, light read, I feel the story is just starting. That Sheppard is gearing up for an epic story.
Prose/Style & Grammar 4/5
Morgan Sheppard’s style is different from what I’m used to. I had to get accustomed to the English (not American-English) spellings for words being used i.e. colour instead of color, etc. It wasn’t a big deal. Nor the fact that she has multiple viewpoint characters, within the same scene. While it might normally be distracting, I found that the transitions were smooth. Not jarring at all. It also added depth to the story, since Marella is young and unaware of many things. Her parents, Edlin and Riva, were the secondary viewpoint characters, with a few others adding their own tidbits here and there.
There are some typos in the paperback I bought, but not many. Only one or two places confused me enough that I had to re-read the whole phrase. I imagine some of the phrasing that I found confusing has to do with the book being written in a different dialect of English than what I’m accustomed to reading. This type of difference would never stop me from finishing a good book, though. I like seeing each author’s unique voice. :)
Character Development 3/5
The main character, Marella, is written very strong. She came to life, on the pages. I clearly felt what she was experiencing. She gets 5 out of 5 for development. It’s the supporting cast that didn’t quite leap off the pages for me. I wanted to know so much more about them. Sheppard has taken the time to include them in the story. Therefore, I wanted to know more about their past. What has transpired between them and Marella, or Marella’s parents, that led to their fierce love for her? Sometimes, too much was left for the reader to imagine. It only makes me look forward to getting to know these supporting characters in the books to come.
I especially love the Partners aspect of the story. They are given to each young teenager, after their test. This Partner is always an animal with a connection to the elements that the teens possess strength in, whether it’s their primary or secondary element. I foresee a lot of story-depth transpiring from these Partners. They’re fun, yet possess an unexplained wisdom. It’s very intriguing.
Marella is unique, but I always look for what other stories the books I read remind me of. I had to do some memory searching to nail down why Marella feels so familiar. She reminds me of a girl version of Link, from The Legends of Zelda. The book very much has the feel of the start of Skyward Sword, before Link was ever a hero. Before he discovered that he has an epic destiny to fulfill. It’s something about the reactions of the characters and the type of portrayed humor, while a mystery brews beneath the surface of the story, that’s so reminiscent for me. Although there are elements similar to other stories, too much is different about Marella to make a comparison. Overall, I’m excited to see it play out.
Thanks for reading my review to the end. I recommend that you give Marella a chance. Let yourself escape to her world. It promises of a good journey for the Wraidd Elfennol series.
I joined Reedsy Discovery, sometime late in 2019. In a roundabout way, this is how I discovered Morgan Sheppard's book, Marella. Consider joining, to get access to some real gems. Fyi, if you join with the link on this page, I'll receive a small amount of compensation if/when you publish your first review on there.