“Sacred Mounds” is a historical fantasy and magical realism tale full of prose and a dual timeline with its main characters living 400 years apart. What connects Lewis and Skyfisher? Not much, and that’s the point. Skyfisher is on a quest to save his people, and the world, through strengthening the connection his people have to these sacred mounds. In order to do that, he must inhabit the body of someone in the future in order to bring those memories, appreciation, and understanding of these mounds and Natchez people to a place where they are otherwise almost forgotten. But while Skyfisher is in the future, inhabiting Lewis’ body, Lewis’ consciousness is placed into Skyfisher. Now Lewis is in the body of a blind man, with a wife he can’t communicate to, on a mission he knows nothing about, but he has to complete it if he ever wants to return to his rightful time and body.
The prose used in this book is lovely and gives it a literary feel that you don’t often see with historical fantasies, especially ones where a type of time travel is used. Sometimes that prose did get in the way of the story, in that it can take awhile to understand why Skyfisher, and the Shining Ones like him, are on this quest, or why they need to swap with people in the future to begin with. This book is full of different mysteries, and that’s just one of them! But there are machinations moving within Skyfisher’s tribe that Lewis has to navigate, as well as dealings with a crime family that wants Skyfisher for their own reasons as he inhabits Lewis’ body. There’s a lot going on in both timelines that can get confusing at times, but the clues are all there if you look for them. Which I applaud the author for being able to do in such a beautifully written way! But, personally, I would have liked some of those questions to have firmer answers.
I am not an own voices reviewer, but I believe the author did do a lot of research, and did their due diligence in speaking with the Natchez leaders so that their people and traditions were accurately portrayed in this work of fiction. I really appreciated the lengths the author went to in order to include that level of accuracy in his novel. However, because of the lyrical nature of this book (which is quite lovely, honestly) I am unsure if Skyfisher and Lewis actually succeeded come the end of the book. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, that’s not this kind of book, but it was hard to tell what actually had changed come the end of the story, at least for me personally. But that’s why I’m giving it 4 stars, the magical realism was amazing, there was plenty of action and intrigue, but I was still left a bit unsure come the end of Lewis and Skyfisher’s story. Maybe that means there will be a sequel? But thank you to the author for sending me an ARC for an honest review, and more can be found on the authors website!
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