Review: The Lillith Scroll blends history, mythology and fantasy

I really wanted to like The Lillith Scroll more than I did. The concept is fascinating. I love it when historic and factual information is combined with fantasy and romance, and the story of Lillith set in Scotland sounded like a true winner to me. I was thinking it might be something along the lines of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

However, this book didn’t quite meet my expectations, mostly because not much happened in it. The story is incredibly heavy with back story–to the point I often felt as if I were reading a collection of legends or folklore rather than a novel. In the first third of the book, pretty much all that happens in the present day is that Lillith is sitting in a Starbucks in Scotland drinking coffee, drawing in her journal, and noticing the presence of other immortals. The rest of the page time is her starting to remember fragments of her past and those other immortals taking position around her and remembering what happened to Lillith in the past. There are also a few times where, for whatever reason, scenes are set in the past. I’m not sure why that’s needed when there are already a good many characters telling us the history. Although the story may have felt more alive had this technique been used instead of putting so much of the back story into peoples’ memories. The remaining two thirds of the book, unfortunately, isn’t much lighter on the back story.

All this remembering from a lot of characters made it very difficult to keep track of the back story. In addition, it felt like different characters’ accounts contradicted each other in small ways (although this could just be my faulty memory). I had a lot of trouble following the timeline in both the past and the present. For instance, at one point Lillith goes to sleep. The next chapter is a recounting of her dream. The chapter after that she wakes up and it’s two weeks later. So did she dream for weeks one dream or was it over and over or what?

When I got to the cliffhanger end, I felt like I’d just spent hours reading something that could have been told in about one hour. I kept wishing that the story would have stayed more in Lillith’s POV and that I could’ve just learned the back story as she remembers it.

Still, I do think the mythology and world building make this an interesting book to a point. I am willing to check out the next in the series to see if the action picks up a little more and the story line becomes easier to follow. The writing style itself is clean and approachable. There are moments the descriptions of heavenly and earthly locations are poetically beautiful. This series definitely has a lot of potential. I give it three cat kisses.

3 cats

What if you discovered there was time before time began? What if everything you thought was true, was not? What if there was a beginning before, “In the beginning”? What if another story was unfolding within our time? A story steeped in loss, love, betrayal, and secrets?

On her twenty-third celebrated birthday, Lilith arrived in Scotland, following clues she had secretly collected about her past. Little did she know that her arrival at the Rosslyn Chapel would reignite one of  the oldest wars of all time- The Fall. Sides will be chosen, lives will be lost, and the secret kept all this time by the Illuminati will be exposed.

Welcome to Eden. The place where magic was born, trees are gateways to other realms, and Angels aren’t what you think they are. Meet Lilith. A young woman with an incredible story; one she isn’t supposed to know, much less tell. Meet Sam. A man with an unknown past and powers that rival Lilith’s.

Go back in time. Back to the garden. Experience the magic of creation, the wonder of nature, and the betrayal that destroyed it all.

“Did you sense the pain from within the child?” Declan asked.

“It was greater than anything I have ever experienced. What was done to her is unforgivable. Her strength in not giving into the Shade is unfathomable. Normally, I would say the child has much to learn, but in this case, I fear we have much to learn from her.” Alaric answered with reverence.

Turning toward the pool Declan responded, “Emzara will know what to do. I will call for her as well.”

Looking into the water, he saw the fair-skinned child lying at Adela’s feet, her long copper locks strewn across a perfectly round face. Declan, the great black unicorn, whispered, “Happy birthday, little one. We will find out who or what has awoken you. You will be safe. No harm shall befall you. This is my solemn vow.”

“It is time dear friend.”  A voice shook him from his thoughts.

The Dragon and Unicorn Knights cast spell after spell into the pool.  Runes in ancient languages long since forgotten began to glow on her skin weaving a glowing web of magic around the sleeping girl. A faint orange light caught the Unicorn Knight’s eye. Amongst the glowing runes on her body, a faint symbol appeared on her wrist. Adela watched as the sleeping girl accepted the magic from the knights — and strengthened it.

“She bears the mark of the Great Sacrifice. The myths are true. I knew she someone important when she came to the cave, but never in all these millennia did I think she was the Taken.” The Knights looked at one another as the reality of who the young girl’s identity became clear.

B.L. Marsh has been writing and telling stories her entire life.  She is a music teacher, guest lecturer and runs Master Classes.  Her academic research is focused on the L’homme arme tradition, the Dead Sea Scrolls, chant transmission in the Medieval and Renaissance, and Gnostic and Kabbalah history.  Her passion for spirituality, mythology and developing her relationship with God are parts of her Rule of Life.  In her reading of the Bible and other extra-biblical texts however, she began to daydream about the characters, about how life was back then, and how cool it would have been to walk in the Garden with God.  Her stories weave a new mythology revolving around Genesis.

When she is not writing or teaching, she spends her days hanging out with five of the coolest boys on the planet and at night can be found doing completely ridiculous things like reading Joseph Campbell and Jane Austin and watching the same 3 movies on TV.

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What are you doing in my dream? #8Sunday

Today another sample from the soon to be released To Growl or to Groan. Chloe can telepathically communicate with animals and shape-shifters, but her ability has been going a little haywire. This snippet is one of her first clues that she’s losing control.

I have never been to Scotland and wonder at how vivid this dream is. I no sooner think that than the feeling that I am seeing this through Jorge’s senses overwhelms me.

For a moment, I relish the familiarity with the scene–I know that a few steps to the right and we’ll be at the path to an old barn. And then we are walking, but it is as though I am inside Jorge’s body, traveling with him. I no longer see my footprints on the ground as we approach the barn, can no longer feel the warmth of Jorge’s hand holding mine.

I blink and I am once again standing next to Jorge. He looks at me with a stunned expression.

“Chloe? What are you doing in my dream?”

Click the icon below to read snippets from other writers:
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***GIVEAWAY!***

Also, my publisher is giving away a copy of my first novel, To Hiss or to Kiss, in honor of Frugal Fun Day, which is the first Saturday in October. Want to find out what kind of frugal fun Chloe and Jorge have? Click here and leave a comment on Etopia’s Facebook post.

All month long, they are giving away other books too, so visit their Facebook page to see what’s new each day.

Isle of Skye

A view of the Isle of Skye from Kyle of Lockalsh

The Isle of Skye is one of my favorite places in Scotland. It’s a beautiful island full of magic, fairies, and inspiration for Tolkien. It’s the first place I ever had scotch whisky.

Quiraing was an inspiration for Tolkien. Definitely Misty Mountains on the day we were there.

My guide was eminently polite when I said the Tallisker tasted somewhat like Chloraseptic. In all fairness, he did ask me to be completely honest and he agreed that Talisker is considered to have a medicinal quality. Later he bought me a glass of Dalwhinnie, which was much more to my taste.

A view from Fairie Glen

Scotch plays a prominent role in my forthcoming novel, as does my hero and heroine’s love of the country. The sequel is largely set in Scotland.

So far, I’ve inspired beta readers and my editor to either try scotch or sincerely consider trying it. 🙂