There are certain YA books that I recognize I am probably not going to enjoy. I would base this partly on themes, publisher’s descriptions of the book, and even, yes, book covers. Don’t judge a book by the cover? Well, yes, to some extent you can and should. Why? Well, that’s probably worth a blog post in itself. But let’s leave it with the idea that I would not have requested or accepted this book if the above book cover had been presented to me. Instead, the book I have has a moody, angry looking teen in a dark, ominous forest. That, with the description of a young girl fighting against the idea that she might be ‘the chosen one’ in a fight against an undead army, sounded pretty cool.
I received this book though InstaFreebie – a site where self-published authors try to get their books out to a new audience. I read and review a lot of books, and while most of these are from established publishers, I really enjoy finding a self-published author whose work is deserving of a wider audience, which is why I take books like this as well.
Julie C. Gilbert’s writing is fine. She has a good insight on the thoughts and concerns of teen girls (does this come, in part, from being a high school teacher?). The concept for this series is good – it must be good, it’s pretty common. Which is definitely one of the down-sides. There wasn’t much here to separate this, in a positive way, from a library’s-worth of YA books with reluctant female protagonists who first have to discover themselves before they can save the world.
The development of the story took a back seat to our leading character (Victoria Saveron) sighing and contemplating. And rather than letting the reader discover Miss Saveron’s deficiencies by showing them to us in action, we have one chapter, almost half way through the book, where Victoria says:
As the title spins in my mind, I expect a sense of excitement, pride, joy, or eagerness to discover what my future holds. Instead, I feel uncertainty, confusion, and even a slight sense of outrage.
This is a bad idea for many reasons.
And then she lists her ten faults, such as “I’m not a people person,” “I am short and slight,” “I don’t speak very well.” And that’s the chapter.
While the writing itself is okay, the story could have been developed more, giving the reader more opportunity to grow with Victoria, rather than simply reading about her. I can see where this would appeal to some, but not to this reader.
Looking for a good book? Awakening by Julie C. Gilbert is the first book in a Young Adult series that has limited appeal as there are many books with the same themes and plots available to readers.
I received a free digital copy of this book through instafreebie.com.
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author: Julie C. Gilbert
series: Redeemer Chronicles #1
paperback, 106 pages