Literary, etc is an eclectic blog where we talk & review books, films, & whatever strikes our mood.
Isobel MacInnes travels to Scotland to visit her ill grandfather, but realizes he’s on his deathbed. Shortly afterwards, she decides to explore the area and begins to experience car trouble. Frustrated she gets out of the vehicle, begins to walk and is lost in her thoughts. She trips and finds herself in a creek where she stumbles upon a strange looking box and as an archeology student she’s intrigued. Taking the box back to the US, she hopes her mentor can help her find its origin and what it means. What she doesn’t count on is a visit from her friend who happens to be movie star hunk Iain Brodie. Iain can have any woman he wants and the moment he steps into her office he’s instantly attracted to her. Isobel fights the attraction and suddenly both are compelled to touch the box. A few moments later she finds herself in Medieval Scotland where Iain is the head of Clan Brodie. Isobel believes she’s dreaming until Iain explains he’s her soul mate. Making the best of the situation, Isobel finds her groove among the people of Clan Brodie until she disappears. Will Isobel find her way back to Iain or will she find herself stuck in another period with no means to return home?
Kat Bastion’s Forged in Dreams and Magick is a delightful and engaging read. She has a keen eye for history and writing detailed imagery. Narrative is first person via Isobel and it makes sense since this is her story. She’s the one who finds the box that transports her. It’s rare for an author to capture the Scottish accent in print and most of the time I can’t hear it, but Bastion does a great job with it! I kept grinning every time Iain opened his mouth. I’m pretty sure picturing Gerard Butler as Iain had nothing to do with the ability to actually hear the accent as I read. ;)
We have good character development. Isobel is no weakling and doesn’t wait for things to happen. She definitely takes things into her own hands and even though it can lead her into trouble, she still can hold her own. Iain is a very sexy Highlander and no doubt you’ll be swooning over him. He’s protective and kind. He’s quick to realize that Isobel needs to make her own decisions. We have a wide cast of secondary characters including Brigid who helps Isobel ease into the life of medieval Scotland. Then we have Velloc, the man Isobel meets when she time travels a second time to ancient Scotland when the Picts were around. He’s a bit of a beta hero and most might disagree with me, but when you put him next to Iain, Iain trumps him. That being said, he too is caring and all he wants is a loving a wife after losing his own.
While I did enjoy Forged, the love triangle put me off a bit. I kept wondering how it would be resolved and the way it is, it’s a little too nicely wrapped up. In the end, one of them was going to come out the winner. And as much as I want to judge Isobel for quickly shacking up with Velloc, I remind myself that she was trying to survive. There’s one thing that annoyed me and that was at no point does Isobel question the possibility of pregnancy. I kept wondering when it would occur to her especially since she was with both Iain and Velloc, who would be the father? When it finally dawns on her, it’s a bit too late and I’m not going to go into details because it would be a spoiler
I debated with the rating between a three and four and in the end, decided on a four. There were a few factors that kept me leaning towards a three. The first has to do with how quickly Isobel and Velloc were able to communicate with each other. Isobel teaches him English and she’s able to learn the Pict language by observing them. Also both Iain and Velloc’s people quickly accepted Isobel. People back then were wary of strangers and I felt a bit of “stranger danger” awareness would have been used and it’s not. Additionally, Isobel has no problems helping rewrite history and this is evident when the Picts come face to face with the Romans. As a historian, I kept yelling, “no!” She’s an archeology student and I would have expected her to treat history a little better than she does. Then again Indiana Jones has no qualms about destroying ruins and archaeological records. In the end, I gave it a four because Isobel does question the timeline and if it’s been preordained. If so, then in theory her changes or her influence have already been written into history. Bastion made me think about this and it’s quite a fascinating subject to delve into it. Furthermore, Isobel does raise the all important fact that most historians will agree upon: history is written by the victors. Combined with the possibility of her meddling, then it makes no difference if she changes the course of history. It’s also very apparent that Bastion did extensive research and this is one of the reasons I ended up giving it a four.
My favorite quote:
“Our story’s written, but ye know in yer heart; history has our great Highlands wrong. Ye’ve told me so a thousand times. Find our secrets. Discover the whispers on the wind that the years faded long ago.”
Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series or of time travel romances will enjoy Bastion’s Forged. While it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, there are some questions that still need to be addressed and I can’t wait to read the rest in the series.
If you’re looking for a time travel romance or are in a reading rut, I highly recommend Kat Bastion’s Forged in Dreams and Magick.