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By Tenkara Smart  Jan 20, 2022

Big 5 stars for Shadows of Sylvaheim. Fantastic, spiritual, coming-of-age, magical realism fiction that is well written with excellent character development. The story, overall, was reminiscent to me of The Wizard of Oz or The Chronicles of Narnia, worlds built between reality and fantasy with strong themes of family, psychology, and morality. I have recently read many fantasy books, and Shadows of Sylvaheim is one of my favourites, keeping me turning the pages and constantly engaged. I love the mythological references and the powerful teachings in the text, which are interwoven through the scenes and not hard to spot or understand. Also, the book has many fantasy and mythological creatures – Norse gods, Greek Gods, Monsters, Faeries, Etc… And, unlike other fantasy stories I’ve read over the years where frankly, these types of characters are blah, overused, and uninteresting, Gordillo’s story felt fresh, unique and exciting! There’s variety throughout the book that keeps a fast pace and the reader engaged.

Jack, the main character, is plunged into the ‘hero’s journey, and through his different battles, he is transformed. This theme runs deep in the book, impacting the other characters. This book makes for excellent talking points for a book club, or as a tool to talk about a person’s inner power and strength, overcoming their fears, and the importance of their choices.

The main characters are well developed and succeed in becoming ‘individuals.’. There is a transformation where their personal unconsciousness and collective unconsciousness are brought into their consciousness – becoming part of their whole personality – and they are ultimately made whole/strong.

Bottom line: This is an excellent book. It can be read for pure entertainment while at the same time for discussion and analysis because of the depth of the material- the ‘reality’, the ‘dreams’, the ‘realms’, the myths, the characters, the unconscious & conscious mind, the ‘hero’s journey, and so much more. As you can discern from this review, I loved this book and highly recommend it.

I had numerous favourite quotes/teachings – here are just a few:

‘…reason your emotions. Work with them, don’t suppress, repress or deny them, for they are the chief source of consciousness. Then release them.’ (pg. 152)

‘Remember, you are not what has happened to you-your past or your pain-you are what you choose to become.’ (pg. 141)

‘A dream that is not understood remains a mere occurrence; understood, it becomes a living experience.’ (pg. 123)

By Juan Jan 22, 2022

The separate journeys of each character in this novel is excellent. It kept me engaged all the way through from start to finish.

By Peter Worth Jan 13, 2022

Very interesting book relating Jungian psychological themes to the adventures of teenagers. Worth a look, and a read.

By Sonya Robeson Dec 12, 2021

A book that creatively awakens one’s sense of self diving deep through the multi layered aspects of consciousness exposing misunderstood wounds. Followed by insightful wisdom with creative imagery bringing forth present time awareness and self healing.

By Bob Brotchie Nov 14, 2021

I would say I’m blown away with this amazing publication, but it’s not just me! My almost 16 year old son, for whom I actually bought it for, is competing with me for time with our copy which is testament in and of itself.

I myself am a counsellor and Shadows of Sylvaheim and the author, Toula Gordillo, have created more ways that I can reframe stories and metaphors for clients I meet and collaborate with. That it has grabbed the attention of my son at such an important juncture in his life is a huge bonus for us both!

Others reviewers have shared excellently parts of the story structure and some of the characters who are so beautifully described with great care and imagination, so I won’t repeat what has resonated for me and will for you.

Regardless of age, young or less so, with an open mind and a zest for fantasy that crosses into reality, other readers will enjoy and I trust become just as absorbed as we have been.

By Sue Svensen Nov 13, 2021

Shadows of Sylvaheim is a thrilling book that centre’s around 16 year old Jack and his family. It is a page turner and I read it over a weekend. The story is helping me navigate through a rough patch at work. It is showing me that I have choices that I can make. I like the theme of the warrior throughout, as you need to be brave when working though anxiety and depression. The story is multilayered and I feel that there is a lot of inner working going on in my unconscious.

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