The Traveller by Sol Smith

The Traveller
Sol Smith
Jupiter Gardens, 2008
166 pages

Author Sol Smith has created a vibrant tale in the YA genre. The Traveller skillfully blends a unique coming-of-age tale with Wiccan spirituality and spellcraft, and just a hint of the supernatural.

Abigail is a witch. raised in a family of witches. Her best friend is one as well, coming from a family with a colorful spiritual tapestry. Of course, witchcraft doesn’t keep her from having the usual teenage concerns–self-consciousness about her body, sexual tensions between her and her best guy friend, scholastic achievement in an unsupportive environment. Add in that her widowed father is dating a new woman, and there’s already a lot going on for Abbie. However, that’s not all of it. What if your imaginary best friend from when you were a child came to life? What if, instead of merely wanting to stay in your imagination, she wanted to take your place?

Smith manages to avoid a number of potential pitfalls in his writing. Most notably, he’s done one of the most adept blending of Wicca 101 information in a fictional story. The characters utilize herbs, stones and various techniques, attend rituals as covens and as solitaires; however, these activities are described in matter-of-fact manners, rather than the all-too-common “Look! Wicca! We’re targeting your demographic!” manner. While this provides an intriguing glimpse into the Wiccan religion which may lead some readers to do more research, it’s not so much that it becomes a distraction if you just want a good story to read.

And it is a good story! Smith provides some of the most believable dialogue I’ve read, and his descriptions of actions and settings are a nice counterpoint. Most of the book centers on the interactions among the characters, and so the good dialogue makes it an excellent and enjoyable read. I felt as though Abigail herself was a real person and had written the words verbatim; and when chapters changed viewpoint later in the book (everything’s in first person) it was immediately obvious who was speaking.

Overall, this is a wonderful book; while I’d definitely recommend it for pagan preteens and younger teenagers, it has a broader appeal as well. If this is the caliber of book that Jupiter Gardens will consistently be producing, then they’re definitely an up-and-coming publisher to keep an eye on.

Note: This title is currently only available as an ebook; it’ll be out in print format on 19 February, 2009.

Five pawprints out of five.

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3 Comments

  1. Dove said,

    January 27, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I’m on chapter 5 and I’m loving it!

  2. solsmith said,

    January 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    I am so thrilled to see that you liked this book. Thank you for this stirring review. This is the first review I’ve ever read of a book of mine and I’m so proud that you–of all people–liked it.

  3. lupabitch said,

    February 2, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    solsmith: You’re quite welcome–it was an excellent read!


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