Harriet Arden Byrd draws on her own cross-cultural and animal-filled adventures to bring a unique perspective to fiction. An artist’s love of color and texture fills her stories with striking imagery. She underlays it all with a healthy dose of attitude many years in the making.Aru’s Realm . . . . . A literary-style fantasy
Each chapter of this art nouveau adventure evokes a different color. At first it’s black. Aru travels by night through deep woods with gray wolves as companions. An inkling of wickedness afoot spurs her fear of the raven messengers. The second chapter opens in a glorious sunrise over a city of brick and shining copper.
These colors set the mood as the story unfolds. Aru discovers that a stranger has been manipulating her. To stop his exploitation she joins forces with a trickster, a spy, and a regal antelope. Worlds are at stake. But can a trickster be trusted? Can anyone?
Aru is on a hero’s journey. Strangeness, enigmas, and trolls are encountered. Ordeals are endured, lessons learned. But this story is like no other.
Our hero lives in an era reminiscent of nineteenth-century Europe. The concept of war is unknown to this world, yet the power-hungry and the greedy are found here as everywhere. Aru’s vision and her courage will be called upon in a desperate attempt to save worlds she hadn’t known existed.
Each chapter of her adventure is a different color. We are enveloped in the crispness of white, immersed in moods of blue, and the brown chapter bears comfort and the rich smell of freshly turned soil.
Because she’s not like the others around her, Aru can see beyond what is considered normal. As events unfold, she learns that her unique traits have attracted the attention of an unknown master of magic. Who is this person with the gall to meddle in her life? Why single her out to torment?
As she becomes friends with a trickster, a prince, and a spy, Aru follows a path to gold and ends up far from where she ever thought she’d go. She’s kidnapped, misled, and kept in a tower, but the scariest part of all may be the attacks of terror which take place in her own mind.
The story explores perspectives of reality through Aru’s strange experiences and her ways of looking at her world. There is much Aru doesn’t know about herself. She wonders where she belongs. In her travels she encounters all sorts of economic and social systems, everything from a tribal hierarchy to a communist organization of ants. In the end she finds what she seeks, but not before coming into her own power.
In a full spectrum of adventure, this coming-of-age tale sees Aru transform from a girl who blows with the wind into a powerful adult who takes charge of her own life. The story flows with the feel of real life. We enjoy a cup of coffee here, fight a monster there, always moving forward but never predictable.
Colorful imagery describes the wondrous beauty of nature. Relationships between animal species figure prominently. Ravens lead wolves to a weak animal, and little sucker-fish assist blue whales. Aru’s world is filled with animals of all kinds. Donkeys and chickens rub elbows with shapeshifters and other mythical creatures.
Aru’s story both pays homage to traditional tropes and turns them upside down. Built on strong female characters and written with gender sensitivity, the story has a familiar feel as it takes the reader places they’ve never been. Fairytale and mythological elements are used, along with symbolism and allegory to convey a deeper meaning.
Aru’s Realm is a story of power, compassion, and courage. Treading the fine line between imaginative thinking and madness, Aru must learn to handle her own abilities, live her own life, and at the same time work with her friends to save more than one world.
While based on original ideas, this story honors the fantasy traditions of writers such as Tolkien, Lewis Carrol, Terry Pratchett and Peter S Beagle.