I picked this book up at local Roanoke bookstore Book No Further on a foray into downtown a few weekends ago. I didn’t know much about the book and chose it from a shelf full of local authors pretty much because it’s in one of my favorite genres and the author, Amanda J. McGee, had been friendly and personable on Instagram. (This is one place where social networking and marketing pays off — when readers are faced with choices at the shelf and your name resonates positively with them.)
I really enjoyed Mother of Creation, in part because it surprised me. When you read extensively in a genre your entire life, it becomes harder to find that level of surprise when reading. But every time I thought I knew what type of book this was or where it was going, the tables shifted. And they did so in a well-written, well-plotted way that made sense — McGee foreshadowed cleverly, so while the reader is surprised, they are rarely disjointed.
Mother of Creation is an epic fantasy with multiple points of view, including Liana and Liander, royal twins facing the aftermath of betrayal; Jei, warrior and son of a goddess; Nicola, a seer; and Bertrun, an honest guard captain thrown suddenly into a world of intrigue. McGee does a good job with chapter titles to indicate which POV is up to bat, and I didn’t find the transitions confusing at all. I enjoyed seeing the larger story play out across people of such diverse backgrounds, motivations and societal levels. I also enjoyed the way McGee balanced light and darkness, cruelty and hope, throughout the story.
I was sick with the flu when I started reading Mother of Creation, and that coupled with the multiple third-person limited POV made this a book I savored slowly over the course of about 1.5 weeks. And I enjoyed it the entire time. The pacing was nice, with a fast burst to hook you in the beginning, some enjoyable slower pacing in the middle, and quickened pacing toward the end.
Who would I recommend this book to? Readers who enjoy epic fantasy would likely enjoy this book. I’d personally recommend it to older teens and adults. If you’re looking for something with new takes on familiar fantasy tropes or a story that digs deep and isn’t afraid to peer into dark places, Mother of Creation may be for you. One recommendation I would make for those who can’t read smaller font: go with a digital version. I found the small print in the paperback a bit distracting in a few parts.
This is the first book in a series, and it does end on a cliffhanger. Almost literally so. I’m looking forward to reading the second, which I hope I’m able to pick up from McGee directly at Roanoke Author Invasion.
You can discover more about Amanda J. McGee and find links to her books on her website.