Amira, The Sword and the Sunflower, Mark Bradford

The challenge with writing a review for a book like Amira is in not giving away too much even though you want nothing more than to share everything. It’s equivalent to watching a really good movie and telling your friends about it. You just want to tell them one more part, and then another, and oh that other part…. because you’re that stoked about the whole experience.

But I promise not to.

I’m going to stick with my observations, hoping that you’ll consider my recommendations based on the fact that I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of books, and none are quite like Amira and it’s predecessor, The Sword and the Sunflower.

Fact 1: Read the first book. You will do such a disservice to yourself, to the author who took the time to create this incredible world and to the story itself if you miss the first book and dive straight into the second. This is no fast food meal.

Fact 2: Be prepared to take your time. It’s the type of story that needs to be savoured. Bradford’s details embedded within the characters, descriptions, events and dialogue require an acute eye and if you think this is best experienced quickly or superficially, you will be sorely mistaken. Bradford has taken the time to slow life down forcing the reader to be fully present in his words and world, so you owe it to yourself to pay close attention and be completely mindful of the experience.

Fact 3: This book is like those rare sequels that are better than the original. I loved the first book, but this one left me emotional in the end. It truly came full circle in such a way that left me feeling almost sad that I won’t be able to see more. I fell in love with the characters and their beautiful development. In this story you see a divergence, and personal growth and then a reconnection that brings two people together in a new phase of life.

Mark is a unique writer in so many ways. His vision, storylines and message to his readers is fantastical, metaphorical and almost prophetic. He takes such a grand concept, breaks it down into beautiful parables and all the while you’re transported on an incredible journey of love, family, life and a coming of age. Of second chances.

I cannot recommend this duet enough.