The forest is impenetrable. Mortals do not dare enter and the ancient Gods residing within cannot break free. In this stagnant, earthen prison they’ve waited, and one-by-one they’ve suffocated. But when a Leviathan is found slumbering deep inside a mountain and a Priestess’ destiny is fulfilled, her decision between four different fates ricochets through time and leaves a crack in the wall that separates the realms of mortals and Gods.
With this fissure an unlikely web of people have found themselves intertwined.
A pair of golden colored siblings born with an ancient, forgotten magic in their veins.
A middle-aged Prince dying from the poisoned blood of his family’s false rule.
A Sergeant whose abilities on the battlefield unwittingly released a dark, immortal secret from within himself.
At the core of their improbable alliances is a secret long buried in stone. A secret that could change the bleak landscape of their home back into the fertile land it once was. But every secret has its price, and in order to expose this one time must shift, and one of them will have to die in consequence.
"In the magic and sorcery novel Of Water and Dance by Leslie Griffin, the Priestess Liliat holds the Royal line and its future in her hands and there is no way to alter the four paths the Leviathan shows her. Those paths are revealed to readers but only Liliat is shown what lies beyond. Among the cast of characters who feature in the path of Liliat's reformation of the Royals is a blighted prince named Bane, who needs a very specific queen. The twins, Castor and Evengel, fit the mold of another of Liliat's paths but where they will end up is unclear. Griffin weaves in gods and goddesses from well-known myths that are appropriately repurposed to fit the storyline. Their power ebbs and flows but things beyond their control become a matter of fate or a matter of destiny, and exactly the way the Priestess was shown. “I just watched thousands of people chant in old Provincial, and just a moment ago a boy called you, Queen...”
Of Water and Dance is a rare shining light of originality in a fantasy genre that tends to rehash the same plots under different titles but which still read the same. The reader has no choice but to trust authors when they embark on a new fantasy series. Social and magic structures have to be learned, characters that we want to root for have to engage us, and the landscape has to be singular, but not so outlandish that we get lost in a bog. Leslie Griffin approaches this successfully with a mixed bag of wit. If I have one complaint it is the use of phonetically written accents that some might think are over the top but it's rare enough to not distract unduly. This is a cleanly and beautifully written book, and a promising start to what I hope will be an ongoing series."
"Of Water and Dance by Leslie Griffin is a high fantasy novel that revolves around the themes of destiny and fate, and how the paths we take can alter not just our own lives, but potentially the lives of everyone around us. The book begins with a woman attempting to save a man she loves and the meeting it elicits. A revelation is made and the woman, Liliat, is given another future by a powerful Leviathan. The story then shifts to Bane, an ill prince from a cursed family in a matriarchal realm who must, for the salvation of the line, find a true queen with true power. Magic is drying up, as the home of those who harbor it is shrinking after a division between the mortal humans and the Gods. When the “glowing children” are separated, a cataclysmic revelation is the powder keg that rocks the Royals and the realm to its core.
Oops. That was my response when I finally finished and put Of Water and Dance down. Leslie Griffin writes beautifully and her skill at developing lifelike characters is really good. The pacing occasionally felt a little slow but when there's a twist, all the details that seemed superfluous at the time come together. It's unexpected and brilliant. My favorite character is Evengel. The theme of the power of womanhood is undiminished and made more authentic when she, a female with budding magic power and worthy of respect, is still subjected to the harassment of men. Griffin subtly shows us the disparity between men and women, and the reduction of even the most powerful women to sexualization by mere mortals. This is a wonderful novel that ticks all the boxes and I am certain others who read it will feel the same. Highly recommended."
"Follow the labyrinth of clues and characters and unravel a story of destiny. The gods have been imprisoned deep within a forest until one day a priestess finds a leviathan and must choose between four fates. Her decision creates a crack in the wall between mortals and gods, which weaves the lives of an unlikely few together. Golden twins, a dying prince, a soldier with a secret, and a seer find themselves caught up in an ancient secret that could heal the land once more in this enchanting tale by Leslie Griffin. Will healing the land and the magic cost them the ultimate price? If you love fantasy, epics, mythology, or just a wonderful tale, Of Water and Dance is definitely for you.
Leslie Griffin’s characters are beautiful, not only in their physical beauty but in their individual, strong personalities. They abound with fresh fantasy elements as well as being relatable and full of resolve. I wanted to dance with Evengel and fight beside Rae. The descriptions in Of Water and Dance have a haunting beauty that gives the book depth, and I loved them. The plot is meticulously woven and, like an enchanting tapestry, took me on a fantastic journey. It is a story that I could read again and again. This is an intricately crafted work and I can’t wait for the next book, or better still, a whole series!"