Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Sub-Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Myths, Legends, Gods, Post-Apocalyptic
Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.
Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.
Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.
The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day.
One of the things I love about J Scott Coatsworth’s writing is his world building. The Great North didn’t disappoint. Set in the future after an apocalypse, I enjoyed the attention to detail such as subtle language changes and how individuals had warped religion for their own purposes. Sadly the latter shows that despite what has happened in the past, the human race repeats its mistakes, something SF stories have long reminded us of. The societies of those in the Circle Lake community and the group from up north showed very well the different ways in which beliefs, and what is necessary for survival, can be used for good or to further an agenda. I loved the way Mael’s explanation to Dwyn about balancing the need to procreate with following one’s heart—so be with the one you want and the one you need.
I became invested in the characters very quickly. Both Dwyn and Mael are likeable characters, and I liked how the author developed the supporting cast. It would have been very easy to have some of them follow a stereotypical path, but instead the author took another direction with a lovely curve ball I wasn’t expecting. I love MM fiction with strong women characters.
I found the link to an earlier folktale intriguing, and enjoyed the way the author used it. My only complaint with this story is that I would have loved it to continue. A bargain is made, but the price of it isn’t really explored in depth. Hopefully the author is planning a sequel as I’d enjoy catching up with these characters again and learning more about their world.
I’d recommend The Great North to readers who enjoy post dystopian stories with hope for the future, and likeable characters who work together to move forward, both as individuals and part of a community. 4.5 stars out of 5.