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A Turn of Light

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The village of Marrowdell is an isolated pioneer community, but it is also the place where two worlds overlap, and at the turn of light—sunset—the world of magic known as the Verge can briefly be seen.

Jenn Nalynn belongs to both Verge and Marrowdell, but even she doesn't know how special she is—or that her invisible friend Wisp is actually a dragon sent to guard her... and keep her from leaving the valley. But Jenn longs to see the world, and thinking that a husband will help ...

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The village of Marrowdell is an isolated pioneer community, but it is also the place where two worlds overlap, and at the turn of light—sunset—the world of magic known as the Verge can briefly be seen.

Jenn Nalynn belongs to both Verge and Marrowdell, but even she doesn't know how special she is—or that her invisible friend Wisp is actually a dragon sent to guard her... and keep her from leaving the valley. But Jenn longs to see the world, and thinking that a husband will help her reach this goal, she decides to create one using spells. Of course, everything goes awry, and suddenly her "invisible friend" has been transformed into a man. But he is not the only newcomer to Marrowdell, and far from the most dangerous of those who are suddenly finding their way to the valley...

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  • A Turn of Light
    A Turn of Light  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A young woman trapped between two worlds must risk everything to save both in Czerneda’s charming character-driven fantasy of rich magic, multilayered characters, and dangerous choices. Jenn Nalynn longs to travel far beyond the remote village of Marrowdell to find adventure and true love. Unfortunately Jenn is “turn-born,” born in the narrow Verge where the mortal world and a magical realm overlap, and bound to the land by her birth; any attempt to leave Marrowdell will release the Verge’s wild magic, bringing chaos and death to both worlds. As Jenn’s 19th birthday approaches, along with the eclipse called the Great Turn, Jenn is drawn toward the dangerous Verge and torn between the two men she loves: an exiled prince and a disgraced dragon-turned-human sent by forces across the Verge to guard her. Science fiction author Czerneda (the Stratification series) will charm fantasy readers with multidimensional characters, a vivid setting, and powerful themes of hope and renewal. (Mar.)
Lesley Livingston
"Luminous and beguiling. With Marrowdell and its enchanting inhabitants, Julie Czerneda has conjured a world that readers can sink into and disappear. I lost myself to this tale that is, by turns, lovely, lyrical, and thrilling. This book is a feast for the mind and the heart."
Charles de Lint
“An enchanting and gentle fable, rich with detail and characters you will love.”
Charlaine Harris
"A warm and intricate fantasy opus with large themes woven into a charming story."
Kristen Britain
"I was captivated by Julie Czerneda's A Turn of Light. Yep, she used her writerly powers and sucked me right in. Many fantasy novels out there are *about* magic. Few, like Julie's, embody it."
Ed Greenwood
"Of the 80,000 books crammed into my house, twenty are favorites I re-read often, and love. Now I have twenty-one. A TURN OF LIGHT is deft, beautiful storytelling. Marrowdell is real, and full of ‘the country folks’ so often overlooked in favor of princes and knights in armor. This book shines, and I want sequels. Many sequels. One can never have too many classics.

Stars and spells and garters, this is good."

Anne Bishop
A Turn of Light is a gorgeous creation. Julie Czerneda's world and characters are richly layered and wonderful—full of mystery, hope and, most of all, heart. Come spend some time in Marrowdell. It's worth the journey. And be polite to the toads.”
Janny Wurts
"Infused with idyllic enchantment, Julie Czerneda weaves a heart-warming bucolic tale, packed with magic both wild and strange — a top notch fantasy read!"
VOYA - Amy Fiske
On the surface, Marrowdell is a picturesque, bucolic village. But Marrowdell sits at the edge of the Verge, a world of magic, dragons, and other mythical creatures. This border represents an uneasy coexistence of worlds, linked by an ancient power struggle gone wrong. Against this backdrop, Jenn Nalynn comes of age. Born at a Great Turn, Jenn possesses unimaginable power yet is cursed to remain in Marrowdell forever. Ignorant of both her power and the curse, Jenn wants nothing more than to leave and travel the world. But leaving would result in her death and would unravel the border between the two worlds. Watching over her from birth is Wisp, a disgraced dragon from the Verge and Jenn's invisible childhood friend. Wisp must keep Jenn in Marrowdell and ignorant of her power, even as it rises within her. Another Great Turn approaches, bringing strangers to town intent on using its power. Czerneda skillfully builds multiple worlds side by side, mirrored by several layers of plot. What appears straightforward is not. The central tension is the growing mystery of what is really happening in Marrowdell. The plot behind the plot is revealed to the reader slowly, and the characters are complex, interesting, and in pursuit of conflicting agendas. The result is a masterful, multilayered fantasy filled with surprises. At almost nine hundred pages, this book is not for reluctant readers; however, it will enthrall readers who love a good story, as well as fantasy fans. Reviewer: Amy Fiske
Library Journal
Jenn Nalynn, the miller's daughter, lives a charmed life in the tiny, secluded village of Marrowdell. She spends her days in the meadow near the forbidden place called Night's Edge, passing her time with her invisible companion, Wisp, her best and truest friend. But as she grows to adulthood, she longs to visit places outside the village, which has grown too small for her ambitious and hungry mind. Only then does she discover that Marrowdell sits on the edge of the Verge, a magical chasm that divides the world of mortals from a dangerous world of dragons and stranger creatures, and that she has the power to create chaos between the two worlds if she sets foot outside the village. The appearance of two strangers, former soldiers, in the village signals the beginning of tumultuous events that bring Jenn's safe world and her dreams of travel crashing down around her. VERDICT Known for her powerful and insightful sf novels (In the Company of Others), Czerneda brings the same exacting sensibility to her brilliant fantasy debut. Her characters are both charming and believable, and Jenn, her friend Wisp, and the soldier Bannan stand out as memorable and utterly real. While this can be read as a stand-alone, there are plenty of possibilities for more stories in the world outside Marrowdell. Fans of L.E. Modesitt Jr. and Charles de Lint will love this fantastic and magical fable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756409524
  • Publisher: DAW
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 832
  • Sales rank: 524,063
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie E. Czerneda is a biologist and writer whose science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular "Species Imperative" trilogy, the "Web Shifters" series, the "Trade Pact Universe" trilogy and her new "Stratification" novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do. You can find her at

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    This is a brilliantly crafted Fantasy. Marrowdell is a wonderfu

    This is a brilliantly crafted Fantasy.

    Marrowdell is a wonderful, magical place. Visitors are overwhelmed by its beauty and serene atmosphere. But Marrowdell holds a secret, and if Marrowdell doesn’t want you, you won’t stay long. There is more to everything here than first appears, and far more is at stake than you can imagine.

    The characters are superbly crafted, each with their unique personality. The setting is imaginative, and complex, and well planned. The story that weaves the characters and setting together is spectacular.

    You will fall in love with Marrodell, and with its people, as the truth unfolds in this amazing tale. Full of turns and surprises right up to the end, I loved every word of this book. I am looking forward to Book 2, A Play of Shadow.

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  • Posted March 20, 2014

    A Turn of Light was quite the treat. Weighing in at over 800 pag

    A Turn of Light was quite the treat. Weighing in at over 800 pages you have to know you are in for a very well developed story and characters. The past few years I have been shying away from quite a number of books over 600 pages because I think I've become a bit of an impatient reader. So I mean this in the best way when I say that this book tested my patience.

    The reading experience was a bit like a piece of chocolate, slow melting & delicious but I did find myself wanting a bit of a crunch. Now what do I mean by that? There is an extremely slow and even pace to the entirety of A Turn of Light. I was 300 pages in and then I was 600 pages in and I still felt as if the same even pacing continued throughout. That is why I found myself thinking of my favorite chocolates that can only be best savored by sucking on them instead of chewing them. This was village life in a marvelous fantasy world, all of the people's lives here are touched in someway by this magic that they've come to see as commonplace and they don't even acknowledge it as magic though they know these sorts of odd things don't happen outside of their village. We get a slow reveal on all of the quirks about this little village and each new bit I learned made me fall in love with it more and more. So ultimately you should know going in that there is not a lot of action the pace allows you to immerse yourself in the world building, the village and each of the characters.

    I know I know, but you don't know I know?
    The method of storytelling used is the type where the reader knows pretty much everything that is going on while at least one character is completely oblivious. This is accomplished by the 3 character perspectives the story is told from. I really loved Jenn and Bannan's perspective & Wyll's was interesting, but because I found him to be so stubborn and he had that infuriating attitude of 'I know whats good for you & you just need to abide what I say" it made reading his sections aggravating for me. Not because it wasn't just as well written but only because I always have a hard time with that type of domineering character. Ultimately, I felt like I knew what was going to happen the entire book and I can honestly say I wasn't wrong by the end. This didn't bother me because after all this isn't a mystery novel, its a fantasy. Most of the fun for me is learning about the world. Yes, there was some things I didn't see coming here and there but as far as each character and their individual story arcs I saw them all coming. I must say though that I really adored all of the characters, because it was such a long book I was able to get to know each one of them enough that I was interested in them all and wasn't bored despite some aspects that felt predictable.

    Eeenie, meenie, miney, moe...
    I pick you! Or do I? I just don't know what I want! That was Jenn. Can you handle it? So prepare yourself my dears for the young & unsure heart when it comes to matters of love. Torn between duty & friendship and growing love and attraction - Jenn really doesn't know what to do and we spend the bulk of the novel watching her figure it out.

    Creatures galore!
    One of my favorite parts about fantasy is the magnificent creatures that we could encounter. Of course it was absolutely my favorite part about A Turn of Light. From guardian toads to messenger moths and a horse that isn't - I was taken in by each & every creature. Especially the toads!!

    This is one fantasy I'm glad I didn't pass up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Enchanting, but not a thriller. I only read half of the book - I

    Enchanting, but not a thriller.
    I only read half of the book - I love fantasy and thrillers, but there wasn't a lot of action in this book and was unable to finish. If you prefer to read tamer fantasy books with beautiful descriptions about ordinary country folk, this is for you. However, if you prefer some excitement, not much happens here - things happen TO the characters instead of the characters really MAKING things happen, except unintentionally. I also found the main character to be very naive. The style reminds me a little of Robin McKinley's, but her books were more eventful than this one. This book is beautifully written, but not my style. It is a nice, pleasant read if that is what you're looking for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013


    A Turn of Light is like eating chocolate truffles. It's far too delicious to gulp down in a single sitting. It begs to be savored. It's amazing how much such loving people get themselves into such deep trouble. And it's so very beautiful to see them pull their way out of trouble.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 3, 2013

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    Posted May 13, 2014

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    Posted May 24, 2013

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    Posted April 26, 2013

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    Posted April 6, 2013

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