Title: Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call and Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic
Author: Jodine Turner
Publisher: TAG Publishing
Genre: visionary fiction, YA/Adult magical realism
Carry on the Flame -Destiny’s Call
Carry on the Flame – Destiny’s Call is a story about empowerment in the context of a magical Goddess cult. The outer story is the container for the main thrust of this book which is the inner journey to find the centre of love and awareness within ourselves.
This book begins well with the heart-wrenching story of seventeen year Sharay being involuntarily placed in a mental hospital due to misunderstood visions and a guardian aunt who wants her fortune. Then our perspective changes to Rosheen, the woman who promised Sharay’s mother that she would look after her daughter if anything happened to her. Despite her attempts to stay on the scene after the mother and father died, Rosheen has failed to protect Sharay from the evil aunt. At this point, the story loses momentum and becomes a little bogged down in information and back story.
Although those interested in the history of Glastonbury Tor and Goddess rituals will love the degree of detail, it may lose the general reader. Eventually the story moves again with some good action as Sharay escapes from the mental hospital assisted by an elderly man called Dylan and his son Guethyn. She then sets out on a spiritual journey with Dillon as her mentor and Guethyn as her protector. Sharay and Guethyn soon discover a past life link. They have been lovers in many lifetimes and heir love is reawakened. I found some of Sharay’s training and her rebirth powerful and moving, and the story builds to a powerful climax with the Beltane ritual. The addition of a murder, a frame up, a police hunt and a spell that conjures up a demon adds another layer of complication to the outer journey and a sense of urgency to Sharay’s empowerment.
The plot relies on remembrance of past lives to explain Sharay’s fast progress and the almost instant love between her and Guethyn. It works because the spiritual layer of reality is very much a part of this book and the actual experience of remembering is given its full weight. Apart from the early info dump the pacing is good, but a lot of the writing lost its immediacy by being written as a recollection after the event. I think the Beltane ritual would have been even more powerful had it been Sharay’s first time. As it is, the important event of their first union is skipped over to some extent and only spoken of as a recollection.
The beauty of this book lies in the evocative descriptions of the inner experiences, and in the universal wisdom in Dillon’s teaching. Although couched in terms of Goddess worship, the journey to the heart portrayed here is relevant to all spiritual traditions. I enjoyed this book, particularly its heart-warming and uplifting end, and will read the next one to find out if Sharay can find her way out of the web of lies her aunt has created.
On another note, I think the cover makes this look like a very young book, but it isn’t, because although the protagonist is young, the concepts expressed are very deep and more suited to more mature readers.
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Carry on the flame: The Ultimate Magic
The second, and final book in the wonderful Carry on the Flame series is better than the first, and carries on from where the last one left off. Once again, it’s a highly informative and somewhat enlightening read on the ways and beliefs of those who worship the sacred feminine. Though couched in the terms of this one faith, the sentiments expressed are relevant to all, and the author does an excellent job of giving the reader a sense of the sacredness in all things, especially nature and within the very cells of our body. Basically, this is about surrendering to the highest form of love in all its facets, and about the power inherent in holding love as your divine guidance in the face of fear and anger. The very subject matter is inspiring and the author has a strong voice. There’s a great deal of wisdom in these pages and all woven into an entertaining read.
After the inspiring Beltane Rituals, disaster strikes and Sharay, unable to handle the emotional trauma, runs away from those she loves in order to protect them from her aunt Phoebe’s wrath and black magic. A large portion of the book is then taken up with a kind if dark night of the soul where, cut off from those who could help her, Sharay falls into hatred and despair. As in any crisis of faith, she accuses the Goddess – in this case – of not being there when she needs Her, but, of course, it is Sharay who has cut herself off from the Goddess, not the other way around.
Even when Guenthyn finds her, pregnant with his baby, after searching for five months, she turns him away and says the baby isn’t his. Ouch, not my favourite part of the book.
Luckily, through the transformative power of birth, Sharay learns that cutting off love is not the answer to dealing with her aunt. With baby in hand, she returns to Gladstonbury to try to clear her name of the murders her aunt framed her and Guenthyn for. The book climaxes with a powerful scene where Sharay, helped by Guenthyn must literally find the power of the unconditional love inside them or die at the hands of aunt Phoebe’s demon. The ending nicely reaffirms another of the series reoccurring themes – that the kind of energy you send out will return to you.
Technically, this is a better book than the first in that there are no info dumps, however the prose still suffers from some passive writing, unnecessarily wordy descriptions of inner experiences in some cases and the occasional bit of head-hopping. If you like the subject matter, however, don’t let this put you off. I’m just fussy about these kinds of things. The plot and pacing are both good and the characterisation is sound. I definitely recommend it for readers who enjoy metaphysical fiction.