Publisher: Pennydragon Press
Author: Zoe Blessing
Release: April 2nd 2017
I received a copy of Siena from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Like many of the books I’ve been reading lately, the cover for Siena is what originally caught my attention, but it really was the description that made me decide to give it a try. Siena is the first novel by Zoe Blessing, but clearly it’s already caught some attention, since the second novel (Sember) is due out in November.
I’m always a fan of stories that focus on healers. I suppose every fan of fantasy series and the concept of superpowers have a favorite power (or two) that they really love the concept of (my second one is the ability to talk to animals; like that’s any surprise). Upon learning that Siena is a healer in a world that considers people with abilities to be abominations, I was immediately intrigued about the plot and the potential of the series.
I didn’t know much about this novel going into it, other than that the main character (Siena) was a healer in a place that isn’t typically accepting of that nature. Otherwise I didn’t have many expectations or ideas of what I was going to get. And yet I was still surprised by what Zoe Blessing delivered. Siena is more than the story of a young healer – it’s the story of a young girl trying to find herself in a world that can at times be quite frightening.
Siena lives in a world where different tribes travel the world. Each tribe appears to have their own way of life, as well as their own belief system and in some ways social structures (though those are the most similar, at least by appearance). She grew up in a Plainsman tribe (but she is not actually one of them – her mother being captured while pregnant with Siena); this tribe starts wars for the slightest reasons, captures those they feel like (and treat them just as awfully as you’d expect), and they hate people with abilities (they call them abominations) – unlike many other tribes with this opinion Siena’s tribe chooses to kept the useful ‘abominations’ as prisoners (for a culture that loves to war I can see why they’d find a healer helpful).
Thankfully that isn’t the only life Siena will ever know, as she eventually joins a group of people known as the Forest Folk. It seems like this group of people has more than their fair share of gifted people (probably people like Siena fleeing for their freedom or lives) and they are exceedingly accepting of their kind. I imagine the sudden reversal on that opinion was pretty jarring to Siena, so I don’t blame her in the slightest for any hesitation or fear she felt while settling in.
Siena is a novel so full of emotions that it can be overwhelming at times. It’s a beautiful tale, but that doesn’t mean the author shied away from the darkness; she included those parts as needed to create real impact in the story.
I’m happy to see that there’s already a sequel planned (Sember), and after having read Siena I think I have an idea of where the next one is going to lead. Regardless, I can’t wait to read that one too. I’m already impressed with Zoe Blessing’s work, and I can’t wait to see how her world develops over the course of several novels.