Silevethiel The Vaelinel Trilogy (Book One) is Announced
Irewen Donríel, Princess of Dargon, survives the murder of her father who was stabbed to death in his own bedchamber. The first person to console the princess is her cousin, Elthad, who warns her, "Until the murderer is discovered and we are able to establish his motives, your life is in danger. It is no longer safe for you to remain in Dürgeld or anywhere else in Dargon. You must leave. Travel north into Mistwood. Seek refuge with the Wood Elves."
Thus begins Irewen's adventures which author Andi O'Connor chronicles in a three-part fantasy book series called "The Vaelinel Trilogy." In Book One, Silevethiel, Princess Irewen finds herself unexpectedly surrounded by formidable enemies who are trying - nearly successfully - to take her life the way they took her father's.
Princess Irewen, fortunately, has been granted the full protection of the elves. Once she is well enough to travel, she will be welcome to stay in Silverden for as long as she needs to be there, and she will likely need the respite for the foreseeable future; whatever is motivating her enemies to commit violence acts against her family, the princess clearly cannot go home again.
During her adventure, Irewen discovers the truth about the mother she never knew, and learns that she may have inherited supernatural gifts from the elves. As she tries to keep ahead of her father's assassins, Irewen learns about friendship, love, loyalty, and generosity from Silevethiel the lion, and Laegon the Protector, who are both willing to give their lives for her.
In the tradition of Lord of the Rings trilogy, O'Connor's deals with such universal themes such as betrayal and fear. She also establishes other themes that involve family secrets and racial prejudice, and she examines a culture of elves where all citizens are equal, their contributions are appreciated, money is beside the point, and magic is commonplace. Moreover, in O'Connor's vision, elves can fall in love with humans and create children with them who combine the best traits of both worlds.
Kirkus Indie, in a starred review, notes that "O'Connor creates a complex heroine who not only defies common tropes of female fantasy characters, but willfully overcomes them. The bonds between Guardians and Protectors offer a refreshing break from the romances (and bromances) which typically populate fantasy novels." O'Connor agrees that Princess Irewen rises above the stereotypical female role she was raised to be and emerges as a strong female heroine. That was by design, O'Connor points out. "I'm all about the empowerment of women! As a huge proponent of female equality, I have always been bothered by the assumption that a woman is incapable of doing something simply because she is a woman."
She laments, "A majority of our children grow up in homes and social environments where they aren't able to see women treated as equals. They don't see anything outside the stereotypical idea of a woman's purpose." To counter this, O'Connor includes empowered female characters in almost all of her writing. "I hope to show my readers, no matter their age or gender, that it is OK to rise above the stereotypes inflicted upon them. With enough determination and hard work, anyone can accomplish anything. It is everyone's right, and obligation, to at least try."
O'Connor also believes our society has a lot to learn from her fictional elves about fairness, sharing, and acceptance. "My elven society is not perfect. It has faults similar to our own. Humans are not alone in their need to embrace both tolerance and respect for those who are different," O'Connor concludes.
The Vaelinel Trilogy (Book One)
By Andi O'Connor
Purple Sun Press
September 2013 - eBook
November 2013 - Hardback
Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013