By Gayle Morrow

I am not a devoted fan of the fantasy genre so did not expect to care for this first in a series work by Rivera Sun. Instead I was captivated almost immediately.

The premise is a “lost heir” of a dead queen turning out to be a pixie, fairy-like young girl; fairly common type set-up in fantasy, a genre that allows women to receive their kudos. However, the underlining universal theme is the pull between violence and peace—how do we choose who represents violence, who represents non-violence, and who stands away avoiding the choice altogether? Is a world with no war even possible? Why do we revere the warriors and only give pittance to the peace makers?

The protagonist, Ari Ara, [translates to “not this not that”] who thinks herself an orphan, found and reared by the Fanten, is not allowed to be a part of their culture by Fanten Grandmother, who is of course harboring a secret.

In this world there are two “ways” a person can be born into:  Attar is the Way of Blazing Fire that encompasses the warriors and protectors of the royal families. Anar is the Way of Shadows and its people stand away from war, but do nothing to stop it. Then there is the third way, a choice that very few in the history of the land have had the courage to follow—The Way Between, Azar, teaches peace and reconciliation. 

This book begins with Ari Ara as an orphan and ends at the point that she learns her true story and fate. The characters are believable; even bullies, outsiders, and the physically impaired are represented. The story is well developed and, although easy to follow, certainly never becomes boring. There is a very helpful map at the beginning of Chapter One that I [visual person] referred to over and over to get a picture of the lay of the land, which is important to the development. The names of the physical features and places are not only delightful but plant a picture in your mind…Monk’s Hand Monastery, Forefinger Ridge, Monk’s Tears River…

I thoroughly enjoyed this opening story and look forward to the next in the series tackling more of humankind’s ancient yet still urgent questions regarding war and peace. I just Skyped with my 12-year-old grandson, total Harry Potter and series fan, who mentioned he was out of reading material, so sending this on to him. Thinking of it as Harry Potter with a contemporary message, and recommending it for twelve years, or precocious pre-teens, through adult. Five stars.

You can find The Way Between here. And, don’t miss the sequel, The Lost Heir.

Find the eBook version here.

The Lost Heir
The Lost Heir
With all the fun of a sword-swinging adventure, but without the violence, The Lost Heir spins a spectacular story with strong female characters and powerful social justice themes. Young Ari Ara has been discovered to be the Lost Heir, the double royal daughter of two nations. When she learns that her mother's people have forced her father's desert people to sell their labor in exchange for water, she sets out on a quest for justice, 'armed' with nonviolence and love. (Paperback Edition)
The Way Between
Between flight and fight lies a mysterious third path called the Way Between, and young shepherdess and orphan Ari Ara must master it . . . before war destroys everything she loves! She begins training as the apprentice of the great warrior Shulen, and enters a world of warriors and secrets, swords and magic, friendship and mystery. She uncovers forbidden prophecies, searches for the lost heir to two thrones, and chases the elusive forest-dwelling Fanten to unravel their hidden knowledge. A wonderful story for our times! Kids, parents, grandparents, teachers, peacebuilders and activists all love The Way Between! (Paperback Edition)
Stories of the Third Brother
Stories of the Third Brother
Thirty weeks, thirty original short stories by Rivera Sun AND a free print or ebook version when we publish the whole collection of 30+ tales. The Stories of the Third Brother are fictional folktales about Alaren and the Way Between. Inspired by true stories of active nonviolence and waging peace, each tale is enjoyable for people of all ages. Delivered once a week in a serialized e-format, these stand-alone stories are also great companions to Ari Ara's stories. Each folktale comes with a "real-life inspiration" referencing a piece of nonviolent history that lifts fiction off the page and into our lives! LEARN MORE>>