Mythology has enormous importance for ancient as well as contemporary literature. Often literature borrows from already existing mythology within different cultures, but in rare cases, literature also invents and creates a new mythology, perhaps by distorting or blending existing mythology. Sacha Rosel’s YA imaginative dark fantasy novel “My Heart is The Tempest” is an example of this where new mythology is both invented and re-used in a unique way.

Sacha Rosel’s novel, ”My Heart is The Tempest”, is the first, very interesting volume of a trilogy published by Vræyda Literary Press in Canada. It is written in English, even though its author is Italian by descent. The book is meant for a world audience, and in particular young people, but everybody can get a great reading experience from the book.

As one can probably guess, “My Heart is the Tempest” has many references to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and the play is sort of the background text, much of the mythology and imagery is slightly twisted Shakespearean. “My Heart is the Tempest” also bears resemblance to Ursula K. Le Guin and Robert Graves in their different myth adaptations in novels and by the way of retelling mythology. Yet there is also something new about the book which gives the reader a sort of strange aerial feeling. Without a doubt, “My Heart is the Tempest” is a work that stands on its own.

We follow the young 12-year-old protagonist, Sycorax. She is also originally a character in Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” whom we never see or meet directly in the play. We are only told about her. In Shakespeare’s version, Sycorax is narrated as a vicious witch who has had a fatal destiny. She has been banished from her home because of a pregnancy to the island where The Tempest takes place. In that sense, the story of Sycorax is an exemplary story of women’s destiny and “My Heart is the Tempest” is the feminist version of one of the untold stories of one of Shakespeare’s less famous characters. However, “My Heart is the Tempest” can be read without knowing Shakespeare’s original story.

12-year-old Sycorax is growing up and is on her path to individuation in a dreamlike setting, the reader follows her serious entanglements while participating in the strange spiritual world of flowers and cruel insect-like creatures where she is trapped. Yet through awakening her dead grandmother, Miranda, she manages to leave parts of this strange dystopia behind. As one can probably hear, “My Heart is The Tempest” also has resemblances to such famous novels as “The Maze Runner” and even “The Hunger Games”. As a reader, you meet a similar story of being trapped and being a young outsider, as you find in these famous dystopian YA novels.

“My Heart is the Tempest” is also about awakening and coming to terms with a difficult past and upbringing. It is a story of a young girl realizing a dark truth, but the story is not rounded off or finished. This reader looks forward to reading about what happens afterward for Sycorax and her strange friends in an outstanding and impressive mythological setting.  

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