Conquering the Divide: The Legend of Barsicon Is an Outstanding Fantasy Fiction Debut by Angela Stever

Book Review

Title: Conquering the Divide: The Legend of Barsicon
Author:  Angela Stever
Imprint: Tellwell Talent
Released: October 30, 2021
Pages: 284
ISBN-13: 978-0228863120
Stars:  4.00

Conquering the Divide: The Legend of Barsicon is new, young adult, LGBTQ-friendly fantasy/dystopian science-fiction for the 21st-century by well-known Kingston, Ontario radio host, Angela Stever. The book’s hero, Seneca Ellis-Brant, is a girl just turning 16 years old, and she’s the youngest Light Seeker in Barsicon history. Seneca has been training her whole life to be a Light Seeker with the help of her two moms, Ma Marie and Mama C (Catherine), and her combat instructor, JD, a diminutive warrior with a neon-coloured mohawk.

In July 2022, two days before the Light Ceremony she believes it is her destiny to conquer, Seneca meets Alex, JD’s cousin, who is referred to using the pronouns they/them. Alex is the first stranger Seneca has ever met, a popular singer in Light City, and sexual-spiritual fireworks ensue.

Seneca has trained diligently for the Light Ceremony, believing that she will complete it and be able to move her family from The Darkness, the land to the east of Light City, inhabited by the 1% elite of Barsicon on the shores of West Ocean. To gain the privilege of living in Light City, Light Seekers must successfully complete Seven Steps into the Light, Steps that amount to a battle to the death. But has Seneca been brainwashed? Is the story she has been told about her miraculous birth true? Is she simply a pawn in a very toxic game?

Light City is ruled by President Barbara Crow, an angry woman with daddy issues whose father, General Walter Crow (a comic book buffoon of a bullying leader, with no real backbone), demanded the construction of a wall between Light City and The Darkness following the Battle of Barsicon in 1972. Northern Warriors erected the barrier which runs parallel to the coastline, two miles inland from the West Ocean. Only the wealthy live along the West Ocean, its residents made up of people who sleep until noon and feast until midnight, playing games and dancing all day. The wall offers them protection from the ‘unworthy.’

While reading this book—which could arguably be a parable—during the middle of the umpteenth lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, one cannot help but recognize the parallels in the world in which we live and the authors’ world of Barsicon, a simply constructed, dystopian fantasy world. Many of us are seeking a higher spiritual path in light of the darkness we have found ourselves in for the past two years. The 1% elite who govern us and decide upon how we will conduct ourselves and live our lives, have divided us with vaccine mandates, passports, and other draconian restrictions. In today’s world, there is a divide between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, people who are described by the media and even our own Prime Minister, as unworthy to live in regular society. It may only be a matter of time before we are physically segregated from each other, even though many of us can see that our leaders’ plan to deal with the pandemic is not working. Right now, most of our lives are about survival and not thriving, just like the citizens of Barsicon who live in The Darkness.

There are psychopaths and unexpected twists and turns in Conquering the Divide, and a little bit of magic, lots of mystery, and plenty of heart-centered heroes to cheer for. If you loved The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments, you’ll want to join Seneca as she discovers her new normal and realizes her true destiny, moving out of The Darkness and into the light. This fast-paced, exciting adventure is filled with nuggets of spiritual wisdom and a satisfying ending that will leave you wanting more.

Angela Stever has peppered her story with “Easter egg” references to local singer-songwriters who music fans in this region, know and love, and named the main protagonist and another heroic character after her two sons. I suspect she may have used Prince Edward County and Sandbanks Provincial Park as inspiration for Barsicon. Conquering the Divide (available on Amazon now) is her first novel, and it is an outstanding debut. This reader cannot wait for more stories by Stever.

May the God of Light’s Final Judgement find you worthy before you are forced to die for the greater good. “The power should be in the hands of the people, not in the hands of one man.” As in all fantasy stories, there is a battle between good and evil, and the protagonists have to overcome seemingly impossible challenges to defeat their adversaries.  Sometimes the men in power are simply weak, bullying idiots being controlled by psychopathic puppet masters. And sometimes, it takes standing up to our oppressors and being willing to start a revolution before the light can shine through The Darkness.

Lily Frost’s Rebound Bitch Getting Ready To Make The Switch

“Rebound Bitch”, the new single and video from Aporia Records recording artist, Lily Frost is KICK-ASS.  The video was shot in Joshua Tree, California with Michelle Boback and stars burlesque dancer Red Herring. The song was co-written with Matt Lipscombe and produced with Tom Mckay and appears on Lily’s new Rebound EP, available now through Aporia, iTunes, and Spotify. With its Spaghetti Western surf guitar, retro style, and a powerhouse performance by Frost, it explores the idea of switching to the other team after being mistreated by men and burned by love one too many times.

A prolific songwriter, Lily Frost currently has 12 albums under her belt, under 5 different labels — Warner, Nettwerk, Aporia, Boxton, and Marquis.  Lily Frost comes from the Montreal underground mod scene. She moved to Vancouver in 1992 after singing in Cairo for 6 months on a ship on the Nile and went from busking rockabilly to spearheading the Cocktail Nation with her band The Colorifics who led the Blue Lizard Lounge scene throughout the 90’s.

Lily then signed to Nettwerk as a solo artist before moving to Toronto where she was born.  She has been working hard with Aporia and Marquis for the past decade.

Lily is a dramatic, stylish performer who draws from the aesthetic of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the soundtracks of Quentin Tarantino, and the hot and bothered emotional drama that goes on between us fascinating humans.  The poetry of Rimbaud, the erotica of Anaïs Nin, and torch singers like Julie London and Juliette Greco all serve as strong influences.

Frost has toured from Paris to Los Angeles and has shared stages with the likes of Pink Martini, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Coldplay, among others. Her awards include the Video Silver Sun through Bravo, a Gemini nomination for her theme song co-write for the hit TV series Being Erica, and Vancouver Female Vocalist of the Year in 2003.

Lily’s songs have been frequently placed in TV shows and movies such as Grey’s Anatomy, Crazy Beautiful, Chevy Cobalt, Charmed, Felicity, and many more.

Her efforts are now focused on curating a show that combines swing, rockabilly, burlesque, dance and fashion in an event called Big City Social.  Ideally, this show will hit the road to her most responsive markets of Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

“Lily Frost’s Rebound EP is the sexy, sassy story of a woman confidently exploring her romantic alternatives, told with bold horns, twangy guitars, and smoky vocals, in a moody, cinematic atmosphere. Utterly compelling.”

~ Howard Druckman, Editor in Chief, SOCAN

 “Lily Frost’s newest musical offerings are brassy, tantalizing and deliciously fresh. If James Bond were a woman, this would be the soundtrack to her epic, kick-ass existence.”

~ Ami McKay, Author of The Birth House and Witches of New York

Rebound Bitch on Spotify: http://bit.ly/2sfmpAk
Rebound Bitch on iTunes: http://apple.co/2ou5UdC
Lily Frost on Aporia: http://bit.ly/2s08D08