Summerbird Rises is my favorite book. No, that’s an understatement. I LOVE this book of mine–the characters, the tale, their struggles, and even the way telling the tale took me into a sequel. And of course, there’s a reason why. I came up with the name “Summerbird” when I was 11. During that summer, I created the world where she lived, and started writing, in longhand, her story. During the following years, through my father going to Viet Nam, me spending 8th grade at three different schools, separated from my siblings, my parent’s divorce, and then my father’s remarriage to a terrible bully of a harridan when I was 13, life went on. I wrote and wrote. It was my world, my escape mechanism, and kept me from acting out, I believe. Of course, at 11, I couldn’t create what adults would want to read, but it still surprises me how much of my original world remains in what became the book.
For those who haven’t read the book, Summerbird Asii is 24 when her tale begins. She’s attractive, petite, with long, blond hair and big green eyes, and fiercely hides her intelligence. She’s grumpy, even bitter, about her lot in life, because she’s in an unfortunate position–she’s trapped in a mundane (nonmagical) realm called Isterr, where she lives in a small cottage with her little black cat, and scarcely makes a living as a seer. She’s aware, and resentful of the fact, that she was born in another realm, magical Emythor, where the Fey live, and has no idea why she was left in Isterr by her grandfather. She does occasionally see the truth in her crystal ball but can’t reveal it, or she could face some draconian punishment. Magic is so prohibited, one can be imprisoned just because a neighbor thinks they heard you doing magic, as Summerbird discovers. And be executed if the Elders decide she is magical. So, when a tiny griffin visits her, she panics. What’s she supposed to do with a griffin in her home? And it gets no better when the griffin reveals that he wants to take her back to Emythor, where she must perform a task for him. Free several highborn lords who were trapped in Isterr by an evil sorcerer. Before she throws him out–what have the magical Fey ever done for her??–she thinks it over. She tells the griffin she’ll do it, but only if the Fey let her and her cat live in Emythor.
Miffin Griffin is happy she isn’t laughing about his name and outraged that she has a demand before she’ll perform the rescue for him. Miffin is also grumpy and gruff, but that’s him naturally, all the time. One also should pick up quickly that he’s lying to Summerbird, though about what, exactly, he doesn’t reveal right away. The griffin is a consistent character throughout the book; he’s not at all what he seems to be, as are several of those she encounters.
But Summerbird also meets Treaty. Treaty, one will eventually figure out (I hope) is an alien that came to the planet quite a while back and learned there were two native there–the humankind and the Elementals. Within the humankind those with magic, whom Treaty names the Fey, and those who without, who don’t get their own designation, and who hate the Fey. Treaty obviously prefers the Fey, for they’re more like him. He unbelievably powerful, a golden, non-corporeal being who is kind, altruistic, and loves the humankind and the Elementals. All he wants is for everyone to be happy, for him to at last have found a home where he can help the natives improve themselves. But of course, nothing is ever that easy. The evil thing that threatens Treaty and the Fey has one objective–to consume all the magic he can get his nasty hands on and enslave the world. And she meets the Otter, who is one beautiful, mysterious hunk of a magical man. He might step in and out of her life so often it makes her crazy, but her magic knows her mate when it meets him. If only she could get him to stay put.
Basically, Summerbird Rises is a tale of a young woman learning what she’s capable of, gradually discovering who she can trust (hint–it’s not many), and that whatever she wants out of life, she’s going to have to fight for. And that’s another reason I love it. It’s so much like my own life–learning the hard way who to trust and not, figuring out what I wanted from life and going for it, and learning there are a lot of people in life who can get whatever they want with a minimum of effort, but I’m not one of them! And neither is Summerbird. She wants a man, yep, the Otter is going to be hers. Wants to fight the bad guy, no one is going to stop her. Wants to figure out why everyone is withholding information or outright lying to her–well, perhaps she should have left that one alone.
I’ve started the final edit of Summerbird’s Quest, which will not only answer many of her questions, but will set Summerbird on the path of her destiny. And it’s so much more than she could ever have thought it might be. Summerbird Rises is on sale for .99 at these online retailers: