Megge of Bury Down: Book One in the Bury Down Chronicles

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

First off, although this book wasn’t perfect, for me, it was still very much an enjoyable read. From the beginning, I was immersed in the storyline, the characters and the setting all of which left me wanting more. From the first couple of pages, you are thrust into a world of unanswered questions and a desire to know more which was fantastic to read as it was exciting to find out whether or not you’re going to get answers.
Some parts, particularly around the last 20% of the book seemed somewhat rushed to me as we seemed to be bombarded with answers and revelations all at once, which in itself is a very exciting thing but it did seem like a lot to take in and I feel like all the information we were given could have maybe been spread out just a little bit more. Additionally, there were certain aspects of the book that just didn’t make sense to me – something major would happen (no spoilers) out of the blue and the characters would react in a way that you would not expect them too. Sometimes I felt that certain ‘big’ events weren’t given enough time in terms of the event happening and the time given for the characters to react to it.

Although this book does have its obvious flaws, one thing I did like is the setting and the characters. It is set in an old town, where everybody knows who everyone is and there’s a market every week where villagers can sell their things and I just think it’s the sweetest thing ever. The main characters consist of a full-female family who is never described as witches but it can be assumed that they are. The slight magical element we get from these characters really gives the book a little something more and I love how the magical elements are thrown in your face, it is very subtle, but still, you are very much aware of it.
Just like every book it has its good and its bad character – however, this also relates to how they were written also. The main characters such as Megge the protagonist, her mother, her aunts and her cousin were written very well with brilliant personalities with traits that defied every other villager – despite what everyone else said or events that got in their way, they always stuck together through it all and never acted in a way that anyone else expected them too – they always did what they wanted to do. However, there are other characters that weren’t written as well or as nicely – throughout you get the impression of someone being a certain way and then suddenly their character just changes completely to fit the storyline and for me, it didn’t fit well at all and I would’ve preferred them to be the flawed and imperfect character that they have been portrayed to be through the first part of the book.

Due to these reasons, it made me feel somewhat negatively towards the book as I was nearing the end despite previously really enjoying it when I first began reading it. The majority of the book is a very good read, with strong female characters and a plot that leaves you wanting more, but personally, I think the ending somewhat ruined it for me.
Although this book was by far the greatest thing I have ever read, I did overall have a very enjoyable time reading it and will most likely carry on with the series as I am wholly invested in the characters and the setting now!
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Megge of Bury Down: Book One in the Bury Down Chronicles

by Rebecca Kightlinger

Zumaya Arcane

Historical Fiction , Teens & YA

Pub Date 01 Feb 2018

I am reviewing a copy of Megge of Bury Down through Zumay Arcane and Netgalley:

In this book we will be transported back to thirteenth century Cornwall where we meet Megge who lives on a sheep farm in the shadow of Bury Down, this place had been known as the land of second site for a thousand years. The Book Of seasons is so valued that the healer would rather face the fire than to fail at the task of bringing her little daughters to protect this values book.

Megge Kong’s to look after the book like her Mother’s, Aunts, Cousins and sisters. She wants to become a woman of Bury Down but when she touches its cover it burns her fingers and the book whispers “murderer”. After this happens she fears the book will hurt those she loves, so she denies it, denying her heritage, her birthright.

Will Megge’s Mother be able to help her daughter find the courage to take that vow? Will Megge continue to run away from her destiny. Or will something change her heart sand allow her to embrace her destiny? Find out in Megge of Bury Down…

I give Megge of Bury Down five out of five stars.

Happy Reading!
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I tried to read this book and i only made it past the first 50 pages. Im not normally a fantasy reader but i thought the historical elements would be a way in for me. However, i did not enjoy it as i found the beginning of the story confusing.
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I am voluntarily submitting my honest review after receiving an ARC of this ebook via NetGalley.

In this unusual book, we meet Megge, a 6-year old girl born into a gifted family of healers with paranormal talents. Megge, frightened by powers she doesn't fully understand, has refused her place among these unusual women, unknowingly placing their future in grave danger. Megge is our narrator as we join her in her struggle to come to terms with who and what she and her family are, as well as their place in a community that both needs them and fears them. The author weaves a spell of her own as the story contains multiple subplots as we learn the family's history. Unfortunately, the pacing of the story suffers as a result, with the plot unfolding very slowly throughout the beginning and middle of the book, then rushing to a conclusion that unfolds almost too quickly. While much is revealed about the other characters, at the end of the novel, I felt that I still knew very little about Megge herself in comparison. Witchcraft is a major focus of this book, so be forewarned that suspension of belief is a must for enjoying this book. While I did not especially like this book, I think fans of fantasy and coming of age / young adult fiction would be interested in this series.
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Megge of Bury Down is a historical fantasy.  It's the first novel by Rebecca Kightlinger who writes reviews for the Historical Novel Society. The focus is on a young girl in medieval Cornwall whose mother is a healer/midwife.  Most of her mother's work involves no magic.  Megge's aunt is a seer.   Her family does do magical rituals and they are believed to have been cursed.  Beliefs about magic and witchcraft play a major role, and so do the books about healing and prophecy that have been passed down in Megge's family.  Reincarnation and messages from the spirits of ancestors could be considered the most fantastical elements for readers who prefer their books more grounded in the world of the five senses.  I chose to read this book because I like paranormal content, but if you are one of those who like your historical fiction without such elements, Megge of Bury Down probably won't be for you.

   I received a review copy from the publisher via Net Galley in return for this review.
The historical aspect of Megge of Bury Down is very well-developed.  We are constantly aware that we are in the 13th century through the vivid descriptions of Megge's experiences, and the attitudes of the villagers.  Megge is thoroughly medieval and so are her neighbors.  The fear of a witch hysteria is palpable.  It hovers over Megge's family.

In the medieval period children were expected to follow in the footsteps of their parents.  Megge's reluctance to become a healer like her mother alienates her from family and heritage.  It seemed to me that Megge sensed things that others in her family didn't sense.   She had a destiny of her own.  Over the course of the narrative, both the past and the future become clearer to Megge.  This knowledge shapes her perception of herself, and  I could finally see her as a strong protagonist.

I noticed that the lore that was handed down in Megge's family was syncretic which means that it came from a variety of cultures.  I identified Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Norse elements.  There may be others.  Since the voices of this tradition were numerous and their history reaches back a thousand years, syncretism seems more authentic to me than a culturally pure unitary transmission. Through Megge of Bury Down Rebecca Kightlinger honors multicultural diversity while still staying true to the period in which her novel was situated.
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I found Megge of Bury Down to be a slower-paced novel than I am used to reading and initially found it a bit hard going. But once you get the pace and feel of the characters, and once the storyline begins to unfold, you realise that you are reading a slow-burning epic, with the protagonist (Megge) on a journey of self-discovery, growing both in years and self-confidence as she struggles to find her place in a world in which she worries she doesn’t truly belong. 

As the pace of the story increases, secrets and truths are slowly revealed leaving Megge in no doubt of where her destiny lies. I raced through the last half of the book, completely caught up in the lives of these well-drawn characters based in Mediaeval Cornwall. This was an enjoyable and realistic historical story that leaves you wanting to know what happens next. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I must be honest this book does have a slow start, however if you are willing to stick around for a few chapters you find yourself hooked. Wondering where Megge’s destiny is going to take her. Will she finally open The Book of Seasons and become a women of Bury Down? 

This is a great twist on a coming of age story, that many can relate to today. A young girl struggle with walking the path carved for her or carving her own path. While hiding from secrets of the past she learns trades that calm her and make her happy, while angering and upsetting her mother. 

I would definitely recommend this book, it is worth the read. I look forward to reading more of Rebecca Kightlinger’s work and hope to finish Megge’s story.
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Megge of Bury Down is a very detailed read about how Megge, a 6-year-old girl born in 13th century England, discovers her mother's book of healing. Seven years pass, and she has 4 guardians Mother, Aunt Claris, Morwen, and Aleydis. Another thing she has is a constant conflict going on between her and her cousin Brighida. Right from the beginning, we are thrown straight into the action in the village and also see conflicts between villagers. 

Megge is our narrator throughout this book, in which we see the impact and power of the Book of Seasons within the community, not just on Megge, but everyone around her as she fights for self-confidence, self-acceptance and self worth in a family dominated by her cousin Brigida's status as "golden child." Her mission is to keep the Book of Seasons from evil hands, but will she achieve her goal? 

The attention to detail is fantastic and the story is so detailed and visual that it makes you focus and "get inside" the visual medieval world Rebecca Kightlinger creates. The characters are so varied, too. 

Thanks to Rebecca Kightlinger and Zumaya Arcane for my ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I also took part in the blog tour for this title.  3.5 stars.
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What an incredibly, magical novel! Megge of Bury Down is like a soft blanket on a rainy day, the scent of a lavender field on a summer morning, the sound of the wind high up in the trees. It wasn't a fast-paced book, so much as a beautiful journey. The characters were rich, deep, unique. Each had their own personality, their own space in the world, their own paths, their own wounds. There was quite a bit of mystery throughout the book, which kept me reading in my need to know the answers to the questions surrounding the plot. The author was incredible at setting the scene, painting the picture for the reader. I was able to sink into the novel, and watch as events unfolded. 

I loved every single word of this book. It's one of those that I desperately need a physical copy of. I hope the next book in the series is quick to hit the shelves.
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This book was very hard to get into. It does not grab you until you are about halfway through the book. I actually had to re-start the book three times to understand the jump in time and even then I didn't quite understand everyone's placement in the story until the very end. 

I gave this book four (4) stars because it was hard to follow. The story lines were wonderful once you got the understanding of them. You felt for the characters, but you almost need to have an understanding of old mythology and ancient civilizations to follow this story, in my opinion.

I will read the next book in the series and it is worth the read, but you will have to slog through until you get caught up in the reading.
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I picked up this book and due to school reading and work, could NOT finish it as fast as I would have liked. Given the option, I would have sat reading this book all day and all night until getting to the conclusion. Having finished it, I am now sad as it is the first in a series and I am eager to get to the next phase in the world of Megge. This book is unconventional in its portrayal of strong women in the 13th century in England. The story centers around a group of healers, Megge being our protagonist. She is raised to become the heir to a book of healing but is struggling against her birthright. This is a wonderful envisioning of self-acceptance, learning to come to terms with what is expected of you, and strong female characters. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to read something so outside of the norm and would be intrigued to read other books in this same vein.
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Megge of Bury Down is a story of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and facing up to hard truths. At six, Megge was too afraid to take up her mother's book and at eleven, all she can do is watch as her cousin, Brighida the golden child, shines in everything Megge has refused. She feels like an outcast, even in her own family, but cannot find the courage to do the one thing that would make a difference: open The Book of Seasons.

The novel follows Megge's life and growth from this point onwards, giving you a long, charmingly rambling look into life in Cornwall in the 1200's from Megge's point of view. There is a sweet classical quality to the writing; it's a slower pace of things, a certain choice of words and tone, a rootedness to the earth, and a dual sense of mysticism and spirituality. Yet the older I get, the more impatient a reader I am. I think I've gotten used to reading quick stories with fast-moving action, so when I reach a story that seems to play out over several years, I start skimming to try to push things onwards. The inability to linger is the fault of none but myself.

The plot is involved. There are many things going on: the secrets of the seers and healers of Bury Down, the jealousy and fear of the villagers, the odd hatred of Jenifer Pennick and her mother, and the persecution of the church, all coloured in the narrative by Megge's naivete, fear, and ignorance. Her guardians (Mother, Aunt Claris, Morwen, and Aleydis) are seemingly at odds about how much and what to tell her; Megge's ignorance throughout the novel is needful and yet terribly frustrating, especially since it's partially a wilful one. Other core themes dealt with in the novel are the effects of greed and jealousy, both of which lead to dire consequences. Yes, dire. There is a lot of fire and death in this story. 

Overall, there's a very pretty arch to this novel; the prologue felt a little disjointed at first since there's a skip of about 900 years when chapter 1 starts, but it plays out to be pretty important as the story develops. However, you only see the full impact of it in the last couple of chapters. Which is also why I think the story was just a little too rambly. It felt like it built and built much too long and much too slowly for how quickly it ended after that last revelation. You could probably skip a little of the middle and head straight to the end and not lose out on much except maybe some understanding of Megge's slightly convoluted family history.

Still, despite its faults (or rather, my impatience), Megge of Bury Down is still quite an engaging read. 

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from Smith Publicity via NetGalley. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.
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