Jewels of Kidron
by Susan Miner
Satiama Publishing

"You just learn to cope with it. You bury it deep where it can’t get out, and you move on."

At first glance, Katie and Angelina couldn’t be more different. Katie is a human girl living in a group home for abused children after her boyfriend abused her. Angelina is an elf who runs away from home to get away from her abusive father but ends up trapped in the Enchanted Woods. Despite coming from such different backgrounds, their trauma provides them with a shared desire for safety and stability. When Katie herself is fleeing her abuser and somehow finds her own way into the Enchanted Woods, she and Angelina must work together to make their way home, but not before finding a pair of legendary diamonds known as the Jewels of Kidron. Though Katie thought Angelina was a figment of her imagination only days prior, she quickly learns that there is more to her world than she thought.

Underneath the mysterious canopy of the Enchanted Woods, where magical miracles occur, and griffons roam the skies, there is still a relatable human element to the primary antagonists of this tale that readers will quickly latch onto. Angelina and Katie both desperately want to return to imperfect worlds because of their familiarity, but the quest before them teaches them confidence in themselves and gives them hope in the path forward. Miner’s tale of magical realism, with its inherent fantasy elements, expertly explores real-life situations of abuse and trauma, leaving the readers both grounded and imaginative, sympathetic and curious. Regardless of the reader’s age or background, there is a depth and emotional honesty to this story that is magnetic. For as fantastic as the jewels and the journey may be, it’s difficult to come away from even the first chapters not rooting for Katie and Angelina to find what they’re really looking for deep down.

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