White Storks of Mercy Book Reviews

Author: Joni Anderson van Berkel

White Storks of Mercy: Formation is the first book in a projected magical realism trilogy and opens with a lovely description of clairvoyant supernatural storks that soar over the skies in the Bronze Age.

Events move from ancient Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty to twentieth century Portugal as the Sacred Stork of the Bach, Tara, embarks on a time-traveling journey to locate women who are willing to help her reset humanity’s moral trajectory.

Tara’s mission involves rescuing selected women and transforming them into White Storks of Mercy whose mission is to use their newfound immortality and loyalty to Tara to enter human form and promote transformation.

All is not about altruistic good deeds in this story, because Tara’s jealous sister, an ancient Egyptian Siamese cat named Reba, is set to thwart her good intentions and tries to corrupt the cause of White Storks of Mercy, using magic to turn their power in a different direction.

Joni Anderson van Berkel’s ability to capture the magic, moral dilemmas, and changing tides of influence from ancient to modern times enhances a story that evolves on several different levels. While fantasy readers will find its magical components thoroughly engaging, readers who look for more depth will find that underlying the magical encounters and conflicts is a running stream of ethical considerations involving storks, women, and humans in an alternative vision of healing that takes place on many levels.

The motivations and power plays of healers and wounded alike intersect on a broader playing field of adventure to expand the concept of magical realism and what it means to use magic to make dreams come true and redirect human affairs.

Readers seeking compelling reads equally steeped in mythology, history, and revised views of good, evil, and the choices that lie between them will find White Storks of Mercy: Formation engrossing and hard to put down.

Its special blend of magical realism and the quest of disparate peoples to live in harmony provide many points for book discussion groups, making it a top recommendation for libraries strong in fantasy and folktales that go beyond action to probe the motivations and perceptions of those involved in quests for power, healing, and peace.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer

White Storks of Mercy Trilogy: Formation is a riveting, all-consuming time travel fantasy I couldn’t stop reading. This book captured my attention from the first page and didn’t let go until the last page. I’ve never read such a book where the narration is lyrical and takes my breath away. The writing is perfect in every way from the narration to the plot progression to the characterization to the world-building to the conflict to the uplifting message. The characters are so encompassing, they elicit an emotional response. You’ll either love or hate them. I detest Reba for her selfishness and bad deeds, yet I love Tara with every ounce of my being. Joni Anderson van Berkel takes mythology from different beliefs and breaths life into the myths in her story. I was shocked to learn White Storks of Mercy Trilogy: Formation is the debut novel of Joni Anderson van Berkel. It reads, not as a novice, but as an eloquent novel written by an established writer. Brilliant from start to finish, White Storks of Mercy Trilogy: Formation is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I look forward to more from this author. Highly recommend!
N.N. Light's Book Heaven Book Review

“The author rounds out her novel with indelible imagery, such as a sunset that painted the sky the color of ripe nectarines. An epic character-driven story with a heroine who can travel through time.”
– Kirkus Reviews

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5 Star Book Review

The first book of the White Storks of Mercy trilogy, titled Formation, is an intriguing work of fiction written by Joni Anderson van Berkel. The author weaves imagination with Egyptian mythology and history. The main characters are mystical storks that transform into women, as well as a supernatural Siamese cat. What follows is a tale of calamity and adventure.

This work truly captivates the reader, fantasy lover or not. The story is crafted meticulously, leaving the reader marveling with each passing page. The very first chapter introduces a majority of the cast of characters within the book. Every chapter is dense with background information, plot twists, and character development. However, this doesn’t hinder the book’s readability. Anderson van Berkel’s beautiful writing carries the reader through the story swiftly and eagerly. She fills so many details into every page it feels like watching a movie, a picturesque one at that.

Reviewed by: Margie Przybylski, Hollywood Book Reviews

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Hollywood Book Reviews
5 Star Book Review

Joan L.
The White Storks of Mercy, Volume 1, takes the reader on a magical journey through time. The storks transform into strong women whose universal mission is for peace and goodness around the world. The reader is transported to the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, Andalusia, Tibet and more with a fascinating cast of characters including Napoleon, Louie XIV, Marie Antoinette, and Joan of Arc. An enchanting as well as educational read!

Catherine Colby
If I were to place White Storks of Mercy on my bookshelf with likeminded books, I would place it next to my Harry Potter series. The brilliant imagination of this author is on a par with JK Rowling. High praise, I realize. Anderson Van Berkel weaves together a plot that borrows characters from history (Joan of Arc, Mary Queen of Scots), unites them with fictional creatures (Orchid MacCloud, Zendala), and effortlessly transports us through time telling a story that captures the reader right from the first page. The goal of this band of women to reset mankind’s moral compass is one many of us long for. The character development is exceptional with the reader becoming totally enchanted by the shapeshifters (are those wings I feel?). Her research is so extensive and impressive ( How many of us are familiar with the Coptic language?) that the ten years in writing is understandable. Despite all these historical references and details we never become bogged down or stuck in a cul de sac. This book leaves us feeling hopeful, optimistic and keenly waiting for Book 2.

Aldina Copeland
It is a delightful story. Very well written. I could not just breeze through it as history is very important for me. As a fantasy it is amazing but the historical details and accuracy are extraordinary. I would love for it to be turned into a series. One of the ladies in my book club commented that the beautiful cover gives her a feeling of tranquility.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s fascinating how the author embeds this magical story into real historical contexts, not just in one era but across centuries. Following clever characters who fly through time to manipulate people’s lives (for better and worse), seek love and revenge, and hold supernatural and human powers in balance… I was on my toes the whole time.

A cool read for anyone who enjoys the intersection of fantasy and historical fiction.

Judith Skowronski
A magical journey through history, fantasy and the unique characters in each era of time. After reading the first chapters, that introduce the characters, we are transported to another time and like Alice through the looking glass we travel to different events awaiting new and exciting moments. The story grabs your imagination as it becomes a real page turner: awaiting part two of the trilogy.

Kaye Lyon
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It seamlessly combines magic and actual historical people, events, and places that kept me reading late into the night. I can’t wait for book #2. The saga continues!

I really enjoyed this fabulous tale! The characters are so well defined, I preferred to “see” them rather than remember them by name. Except for Cat and Hat, and the beautiful Orchid MacCloud. No spoilers here! The book is full of magic, time travel, transformations, shape shifting, history, fairies, and the forces of good and evil. It is one heck of a good read! The Merciful Ones, The Mischief Makers, Where is this going? What is next in the trilogy? The White Storks of Mercy would be an incredible movie!

An adventure through fantasy and reality, historical figures, and the message of the formation of those whose mission is peace; a much needed message for our times. The author has a fantastic imagination in concert with research of the varied time periods and locations depicted in the story. Looking forward to the second book of the trilogy and continuation of the story. What will happen next!?

Red Cedar
The first book — Formation — in this magical realism trilogy is truly amazing! It appeals to readers of all ages and I recommend it highly!

Good Reads Book Reviews

White Storks Of Mercy: Formation by Joni Anderson Van Berkel is the first book in the White Storks Of Mercy trilogy and is an adventurous historical fantasy read that will take you on a magical rollercoaster of unexpected surprises.

I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly because it had so much going on throughout the story. The multiple plot lines interspersed with the main story of the book kept me glued to the pages late in the night. I loved the story thoroughly and I’m now early awaiting the next book in this series. I loved the writing, the characterization that brought this story to life and the pacing of the events.

Reading about the various exotic locations added a fun touch to the story as it made it all the more engaging and entertaining! I would highly recommend this book to all historical fantasy readers.

The Reading Bud Book Review

Right from the start you had some amazing descriptions of the characters as well as their surroundings. It was very clear what your vision was, making it helpful for me since I sometimes have a hard time imagining what characters are supposed to look like. Side note; thank you for giving your characters short and easy to pronounce names. As an avid reader of fantasy sometimes authors tend to go overboard with names.

The story itself was great! The merge between reality and fantasy was well done and I think you did an amazing job tackling the concept of time travel which can often be a difficult task. I loved the message the story brought and at times it had me reflecting on what goes on in our present day. The book also left me with a sense of empowerment which is a great feeling to have.

I can’t say I found anything that would have deterred me from finishing the book.”

– Erin Rex at Changing Hands Bookstore – Phoenix, Arizona

Changing Hands Bookstore