When discussing the ideas that make up this book—and that’s probably a good thing to do when a book is about ideas—there is one character who leaps into prominence and that is Tarvelas. Not Ryan or Essie—nor the villains that try to lead them astray. Tarvelas, the last princess of the castle of Enfarm, is a core piece of the story. She dramatizes the concepts these kids are learning about, living them out as part of her life. Sometimes people won’t understand an idea until they see it visualized in a way that feels raw and actual before their eyes.
All the 7 great castles of Caricanus were made out of giant jewels and each one held a piece of a mirror that connected to God. At times a person would be chosen as a “Voice” and zapped by the mirror, especially at a time of crisis. This hasn’t happened for thousands of years, but shortly before Ryan and Essie came it happened to Tarvelas. She became blind when the mirror’s light burst out on her, and separated from all her relationships. Her family doesn’t understand. Even her brother says she’s crazy. She is very lonely, but her will is strong. She knows this is what she wants to do. And in the end she lets Ryan make an ultimate choice all on his own, even if that will end up killing her.
The idea of sacrifice of someone noble is very close to Christianity—Jesus Himself, for example—but it can often get skewed into something fatalistic. (The noble will always die in the end, which shows how good they are. The bad always win, but that makes them bad.) This is not Tarvelas’s thinking. She is not a martyr and she is not a victim. She chooses to do this because she wants to help others make decisions. Tarvelas lets Ryan also make a choice as she did and she is willing to use her life to the ultimate extent—even lose it—to make these ideas real to people like him.
She represents something almost catastrophic for her country of Farlent. After she is zapped as the “Voice” the country is invaded and the castle destroyed. Everything that once remained from a distant past was wrecked—a way of life gone. Eventually, this harshness envelops Tarvelas too, because harsh things do happen in life and she embodies them. But it can be the start of something better and she knows this. Good things simply don’t happen without hard things happening first.
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7 books published and 3 more on the way. Farmer's daughter, Star Wars fan, loves to read rather than talk about reading. Always has time to finish her WIP.