The armies of the Joraghi have invaded the land of Chaimara. They do the bidding of Yarok-Mas, who seeks the legendary Ilmat-Mor, an ancient source of power.
Mari possesses a fragment of the Ilmat-Mor, the gift of a storyteller who came like a wraith out of the desert. It is vital that she escape the advancing army.
In the company of her guardian, Mari leaves everything she has ever known and begins a journey into a Chaimara she never knew existed, on a quest she never dreamed would be her own. Time shifts without warning. Strangers show up, some intense and frightening, some quirky and comic, all of them unpredictable. And there are some immersed in darkness and ready to betray her, aware that the Joraghi who are hunting Mari will not give up until they find her. Others seek to make sure she does not survive.
It is when Mari bands with a small group of rebels who live in the mountains of Dromgorden that the truth of the gift is revealed to her, and so is the destiny that waits.
MARI by Regina Clarke is a beautifully written book. I’ve never read anything quite like it. It reminded me of the video game JOURNEY in which the artwork, the incredible scenery and the experience of the journey itself are the most important elements. It also reminded me of the mysticism within Paolo Coelho’s books, most notably THE ALCHEMIST and THE WITCH OF PORTOBELLO.
Mari is a thirteen-year-old girl troubled by vivid dreams. We soon learn that these dreams aren’t ordinary. She experiences them because she is a Keeper. When her village is attacked, an old woman named Marta guides her through the desert toward the mountains of Dromgorden. As they travel through the desert and then on through other places, meeting all kinds of people and creatures, Mari discovers herself and her mission.
Regina Clarke is an incredibly gifted writer. Many of the scenes in MARI are mystical and poetic. Clarke’s use of language draws the reader into an experience not unlike synesthesia. While reading words, the reader is imagining the sounds, colors and feelings brought to life in one beautiful passage after another. At the same time, the book revolves around a high-adventure plot in which Mari and those she loves are forced to confront many life-and-death situations. I highly recommend this book. ★★★★★ Amazon review
“Epic is what comes to minds after reading this engaging tale of a young woman on a journey of self discovery. The intelligent and original plot will appeal to both adult and adolescent readers. There are complex twists and turns right up to the very last page. The intensely descriptive writing style dazzles and makes amazing mystical places come alive. If I could change just anything; it would be to elaborate a bit more on what the future holds for Mari and add a bit of romance. Maybe I will just have to wait for the sequel.” ★★★★★ Amazon review
“From the wisdom in Widsith’s cave, to the frightening Joraghi warriors who can only be defeated by a Keeper, this book has something for everyone who wants to be carried away to a place where bravery counts, where an open mind is a must, and where coming of age really means coming into your power. Mari’s journey unfolds not only when she’s awake, but while she sleeps, and I really believe that’s true for us all. So I will leave you with this quote from her story: “You are asleep and you are awake, both. And both create you—without one there is no life, and without the other there is no purpose.” ★★★★★ Amazon review
MARI was a finalist in the ListenUp Audiobook contest in October, 2016: