Young Adult - Fantasy - General
342 Pages
Reviewed on 11/10/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sandra grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. When she's not imagining fantastical stories grounded by rules and reasoning, Sandra's usually renovating something around the house, sneaking away with her husband for a last minute ski trip, or dealing with the unruly strays that seem to enjoy terrorizing her three cats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Cecilia by Sandra L. Rostirolla is an action-packed, heart-pounding fantasy with a heroine that young readers will root for. Eighteen-year-old Cecilia is the only one who survived a ruthless attack orchestrated by the corrupt Senators of Vitus on her people. With their orders, soldiers have ransacked the village of Plockton and have enslaved the young men. Determined, she takes off on a rescue mission, armed with her great ancestor’s Freedom Tree pendant, but she meets with an assassin sent by the authorities from Vitus to retrieve the very thing she wears around her neck. However, there is an unexpected twist in the story at this point. Follow the story to discover how loyalties change, and how an ancient prophecy becomes fulfilled in an unlikely hero. Will Cecilia, now a prisoner, find a way to free her people?

Readers are introduced to a story of love and adventure, a fantasy set in an exciting universe. Cecilia and Amalardh are great characters and it is interesting to discover the conflict between the two characters and where it leads them. Cecilia is not an ordinary girl and not one who will just yield; she is difficult to handle, the kind of girl who holds her head really high. The assassin, Amalardh, seems to have lost everything about his humanity and the reader will be keen to learn if he will get it back. This book is well-crafted, character-driven, and loaded with action. I enjoyed the author’s masterful depiction of scenes, the great narrative and the beautiful dialogues. Sandra L. Rostirolla’s novel is emotionally intense, a delightful read.

Sefina Hawke

Cecilia by Sandra L. Rostirolla is a general young adult fantasy novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience of teenagers and young adults who enjoy fantasy romance stories. Eighteen-year-old Cecilia was the only survivor not enslaved by an attack on the village of Plockton that was ordered by a corrupt senator of Vitus. Cecilia sets out to rescue her brothers from slavery with only her intellect, her wit, and her Freedom Tree pendant; yet she quickly finds herself the prisoner of the assassin Amalardh, who was sent to kill the wearer of the Freedom Tree pendant. Cecilia quickly discovers that her quest to save her brothers has evolved into having to save the Goddess of Light by defeating the senator and his army. Will Cecilia succeed and will she find love along the way, or will her path end in heartbreak and defeat?

Move over Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Anakin Skywalker, and make room for heroine Cecilia in Cecilia by Sandra L. Rostirolla. Cecilia was a wonderfully created character with a rich background that made her seem like a real person. I greatly enjoyed following her as she developed from an eighteen-year-old girl into a young woman ready to handle her destiny. The author did a magnificent job in creating a realistic fantasy world with unique characters and a plot that set the book apart from all others in the fantasy genre. My favorite part was the first time Cecilia and Amalardh interacted because it made me want to see what they could become together. Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this book and I found the map at the beginning of the book to be very helpful for understanding where the events of the book took place in relation to each other.

Arya Fomonyuy

Cecilia by Sandra L. Rostirolla is spellbinding, entertaining, and rollicking. Set against a politically turbulent backdrop, this novel presents the journey of an incredible heroine, Cecilia, a teenage girl who sets out to rescue her brothers after her village is destroyed by the dark forces of Vitus and the young men are taken as slaves. As she sets out on this mission, she relies on her cunning and a symbolic pendant handed down by her ancestors. But she doesn’t know that the evil men in Vitus have sent an assassin after her.

Amalardh is entrusted with one mission — kill the bearer of the symbol, Cecilia. But when he meets her, he is unable to kill her, so he takes her prisoner. The reader is swept up in a whirlwind of surprises and destinies merging. Can Cecilia fulfill her destiny as the conduit of the Goddess on earth and save the life of the Goddess from the dark rule of the Senators? And can Amalardh fulfill his role as the protector of the Treoir Solas—Cecilia?

Sandra L. Rostirolla’s novel is a work apart, intelligently plotted and accomplished to a satisfying end. I enjoyed the twists, the red herrings, and the wonderful character development. I found Amalardh, the assassin, sexy and the way his destiny unveils throughout the story is great. Cecilia is fiery and there are times when one has the feeling that she can’t be tamed. The writing is great, with excellent and timely paragraph breaks that create suspense, making for an enjoyable read. Yes, Rostirolla is a skilled storyteller and this novel is a page-turner.

Maureen Dangarembizi

Sandra Rostirolla’s Cecilia is an intriguing tale set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Senators rule Vitus with an iron fist. Cecilia is a young woman living in the secluded village of Plockton where life is simple and joyous. But her peaceful haven in the woods is attacked by black-clad devil riders. Left alone, Cecilia has to find her courage, leave her home and go into the unknown to rescue her two brothers from the murderous riders who killed everyone in the village and stole away all the able-bodied young men. But as she follows the riders, fate causes her path to cross with Amalardh, the man sent to kill her. As Cecilia learns more about her heritage and Vitus, she realizes that she is an important part of an ancient prophecy that can free the citizens from the lies of the Senate.

Cecilia is a story with lots of action and adventure. I liked the way Sandra Rostirolla gave a unique outlook on the world of Vitus using Cecilia’s naïve and at times whimsical point of view. The way she interacts with the world around her is unique from the first words of the first chapter. A plot-driven story, this book can easily be made into a very good film. It would be a good addition to fans of Anne Rice’s style of writing, and makes for a heavier read than the fantasy books being published currently. An interesting read from start to finish and another addition to the epic good vs evil fantasy fold.

Divine Zape

Romance and mystery are blended into an impassioned story, a tale of daring, conquest, and an irresistible desire for freedom. Cecilia is plotted to appeal to readers with different tastes and genres, sophisticated when it comes to character development, and featuring a labyrinthine plot. Sandra L. Rostirolla’s eighteen-year-old Cecilia is a survivor of a raid commanded by the corrupt senators of Vitus, a raid that has destroyed her village of Plockton and made slaves of its young men.

Determined to rescue them, she sets out armed with a coveted symbol, the Freedom Tree pendant left behind by her great ancestor. An assassin, Amalardh, is sent by the authorities in Vitus to kill the one who wears the symbol of the Freedom Tree. But when he meets Cecilia, he takes her as a prisoner instead — and there are surprising twists at this juncture! With the Goddess of Light dying and her own conduit held prisoner, can Cecilia find the strength to defeat the forces of darkness, free her brothers from the enemy, and restore the peace of the village? Is she the rightful heir to the Freedom Tree pendant?

Cecilia is a sophisticated story with characters that readers will remember long after they are done reading the book. It can be read as a love story and it can also be a great delight to fans of mystery and mythical tales. The reader will love stepping into the dramatic world that the assassin and the gifted warrior, Cecilia, inhabit. The attraction between the two people who should be enemies is interesting. Sandra L. Rostirolla creates suspense and humor, and crafts a plot that will grip the reader’s attention until the very last page as they read on to find out the next surprise or twist woven into the story. Great writing, gripping plot, memorable characters!