I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Okay, picture one of those classic coming of age books, movies, and TV shows. You know, like the Little Princess, Ann of Green Gables, Pollyanna, or Little House on the Prairie. Now add more romance, give the main character a supernatural power, and drop her into a futuristic, dystopian America, and you’ll have this book!
Kiah was an interesting character to me. Even though she had the ability to project her soul out of her body, she was just a normal teenage girl in so many ways. She pouts, complains, gets jealous, and throws tantrums. In the beginning, I found myself getting frustrated with her. I understood why she behaved the way she did, but I often want my heroes and heroines to be better than the average person. It’s so much easier to root for someone when they always do, say, and think the right thing; but as the story progressed, I found myself really enjoying Kiah’s imperfections! The mistakes she made just gave me the opportunity to be proud of her when she finally got things right. I got a kick out of watching her learn and grow into such a strong and caring leader.
After her brother and mother both tragically die and her father is forced to fight in the Quadrant War, she’s sent to live in an orphanage. While there, she refuses to speak to anyone because of the trauma that she’s endured with the exception of her best and only friend, Ryker. However, she is eventually forced to come out of her shell and quickly grow up when the Quadrant War reaches the front steps of her orphanage. She finds out that the troopers will be coming for her and all the older children, and they will be forced to fight and most likely die. It’s at this point that the hero in her starts to emerge. She’s reluctant at first, and understandably afraid, but she rises to the occasion.
I was surprised with the amount of action that was in this story. I was expecting maybe one or two scenes to be action packed, but the author doesn’t shy away from using violence when necessary to highlight the harsh reality of war.
The entire book wasn’t all doom, gloom, and personal growth though. (Vampire Diaries quote. Look it up!) There were plenty of sweet and heartwarming moments that kept it from feeling to serious and depressing. The importance of friendship was a very present theme throughout the story, and there is a sweet romance that is front and center the entire book. Ryker and Kiah’s relationship was straight out of the pages of a romance novel! No matter how bleak things got, they always found moments to sneak away and just be with each other
Ryker was a sweetheart! He was a strong sometimes overprotective hero, but he never devolved into that borderline abusive alpha male that tends to be in too many YA novels lately. I think it’s great to have a truly nice guy be presented as the ideal man/ book boyfriend. He had no problem letting Kiah take the lead, but he was also an excellent leader himself. They each had their own moments to shine, and I really felt like they were partners and trusted each others instincts.
All in all, I would say that this book is a fresh take on the YA dystopian novel. I had a great time reading it, and thought about the characters for hours after I finished reading, and I’ll definitely be reading the next in the series!
This book is VERY clean and has no profanity, but because of the violence I would recommend it for ages 12 and up.
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