Kindle Edition, 363 pages
Expected publication: December 29th, 2015 by WWS Publishing Ltd
Well, well, well. It’s been awhile since I had a really tough time rating something. The first 5% of this book was awful; I felt like I was reading an uninspiring high school student’s essay. After that, it became slightly better up until about 10% of the book. Then…
…I couldn’t stop reading anymore!
The Goodreads synopsis:
A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.
Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.
And things only get weirder…
Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.
Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.
But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.
So yes, the first chapter wasn’t remarkably fabulous. We get introduced to Leonie and her dad. The seventeen-year-old girl seems like this very stubborn, annoying and slightly emo kind of teenager I did NOT feel like reading about. Then, to make things worse, there’s a whirlwind of happenings all crammed up into a couple of pages. Leonie discovers that she’s different, that her dad is different, that there’s another realm (Duwyn) which they secretly belong to, that there are other Chosen at her doorstep, coming to pick her up to take her to Duwyn. WHAM-BAM-THANK-YOU-MA’AM!
While the first chapter was from Leonie’s point of view, the second one was narrated by Korren, of whom we know nothing at that point. His chapter ended with a scene that reminded me too much of the arena entrance scene from The Hunger Games. Korren needs to fight his own to the death and the winner will become the next guardian of a Chosen one. This is obviously a standard issue in any arena, yet the presentation of this one was just too much like the one in The Hunger Games, I suppose.
From now on, most chapters will be alternated by Korren and Leonie’s points of view.
After arriving in Duwyn through a portal located somewhere in a cove in the UK, we leave Earth behind us for the rest of the book. Now this is where it finally became interesting for me. They’re barely in Duwyn when an attack, aimed for Leonie, takes place. The magic used in this fight by both parties was very interesting. Everyone seems to have a unique kind of personal power. When Leonie is finally safely escorted to the Temples, the story really kicks off.
As you can read in the synopsis above, Duwyn’s inhabitants are the Chosen, a magical species. There are four groups of Chosen. The lowest rank belongs to the Zeros, Chosen who barely possess any magic. Second are Phobien, Chosen who have a reasonable amount of magic. Then, there are Thrones, considered powerful and holding many influential positions. The fourth group, the Pulsar, are the strongest of the Chosen, revered as almost god-like beings. The last Pulsar was wiped out 200 years ago, but with Leonie, a new one has arisen and must be protected by the Imperium at all costs.
This is why Leonie is introduced to Korren of whom we now know to be a Kytaen, an immortal mixture of a demon and a beast who can also transform into a human (which then happens to be a ridiculously handsome one *rolls eyes a little*). He’s the designated Kytaen to protect Leonie with his life (I guess he’s not THAT immortal now, is he). For higher efficiency levels regarding protection, every Chosen who is a Throne or a Pulsar (the lower ranks don’t get a Kytaen) gets soul-bound to their Kytaen. The connection they have after the binding reminds me a little of the daemons in the ‘His Dark Materials’-series by Philip Pullman. Just a little less intense and confined.
If you think the rest of the story will be about Leonie training to unleash her magic, you’re mostly wrong. The Imperium is being threatened by rebels and since Leonie will be the poster girl for the Imperium as soon as she’s properly trained, she’s target numero uno. Hence, the attack mentioned before.
A BIG part of the story is focussing on the relationship between Leonie and Korren. He’s quite a McGrumpypants with emotional issues and Leonie desperately tries to win his friendship. Which is highly uncommon, since Kytaen’s are considered as mere tools without a soul by the rest of Duwyn.
The dialogues are definitely unusual. Leonie’s banter starts off as very annoying, yet becomes quite amusing later on. I guess you can say it just grows on you (or well, on me at least).
Something I noticed during scenes with heavy dialogue between two people is that characters who are also present in that particular scene are not mentioned anymore until after the two active characters are done talking. For example, there was a scene where Korren and Leonie are sitting outside together in the freezing cold. Leonie’s dad comes over and basically, that’s the end of Korren’s existence until they’re done talking. No glances, references or whatnot. I thought that was quite odd.
Another thing I noticed was the repetitiveness of words. Three seems to be the magic number here. “Why is it pulling pulling pulling?” (my note here said “That’s what your mom said”…so mature), “I cry and cry and cry.“. Sometimes, three wasn’t even enough: “I’m tired, tired and tired and tired of surviving…“. We get it, you’re tired.
Then there were some contradictions and exaggerations which also didn’t float my boat. After being constantly reminded of how special a Pulsar is, we also keep being reminded of how NOT special Leonie is (“My keeper isn’t anything special, you know.“). Or after Korren had already been nice a few times to Leonie (which flabbergasted everyone involved), a couple of chapters later she’s thinking “Is it because he’s never said anything nice to me before?” again (my note here was “He HAS, you dumbo”).
Exaggeration annoyances occurred when we were being reminded how terribly hard Leonie’s past was. She didn’t have an easy life. If only she grew up in a better way. Blah, something awful DID happen to her, but my god, I can imagine a lot more awful things. Take Korren’s suffering for example. Now that’s legit. And the worst part is that Leonie finds it hard to empathize with him. He’s thousands of years old. You think he’s been watching ‘Days of our Lives’ for the past centuries and before? Sheesh, anyone with a working brain can guess HE’s been through a lot.
My last point of criticism is the dog, Pegasus. Without spoilering the shit out of things, I’m just going to say: why? Why was he in there in the first place and why did he have to come along to Duwyn?
Now you might wonder why it’s so hard for me to rate this one. It’s because, despite all the annoyances, I also enjoyed it tremendously. I think I finished the last 90% in two evenings, neglecting all other things. As I said before, Leonie starts to grow on you. Then there’s fast paced action, a very interesting world building setup, romance, murder, and eeriness. I actually think I kinda love Duwyn. The night is literally coming alive in it, which is awesome! I’m looking forward to reading part 2 now *gasps*
3.5 brownies it shall be, based on my level of enjoyment. And a freaking awesome cover.
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher and Giselle Simlett via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. You can read more about the book on Giselle’s Website. There’s even a cool soundtrack here!
Links to the book: