Cleverly placing an urban fantasy novel in the familiar setting and predicament of a kid entering college, R.T Lowe presents a tale that encompasses life as we know it in about 500 pages. The protagonist, Felix, is embarked on the path of higher learning at Portland College, hoping to survive the college experience in one piece. However, Lowe soon throws Felix for a curveball by introducing catalyst incarnate, and roommate. It’s all very CW until an imminent storm has Felix on its sights as its core strength, which propels the intricate plot from center base to way, way, left field.
If I had to choose one word to describe Malay Upadhyay’s “Kalki Evian – The Ring of Khaoriphea” it would be ambitious. As we all know, ambition can either be successfully achieved or can fail miserably – but it’s the journey towards its attainment that is the most interesting.
Heavily ensconced in Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy plot conventions, “Ring” contains themes that are profound and timeless. The author has a keen sense of the importance of cause and effect as a central pattern in all life forms. What you put out there is what you get back. This notion is what befalls the central characters in the novel that must discover for themselves that righting one’s wrongs does not necessarily equate to a different end result.
In the same vein of The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series, J.A. George’s “Gifted” contains the central theme of a strong female character who has unbearable demands on her shoulders. The female hero in “Gifted” is Avery Gray, an inquisitive being who has been chosen for a unique kind of eminence, despite the fact that her young mind may not be able to see that being different is indeed what makes us great. As the title alludes to, Ava is gifted, and as such, is sent to live in a lone city where others of her kind dwell. It is here that her story truly begins.
She soon meets magical and ethereal beings and begins to grasp the gravity of her true enormity. The author introduces stock characters that assist Ava in her reluctant quest into the realization of her true potential. Among these is a love interest, a boy who aids Ava on her journey towards self-realization. Obviously the story cannot be all joys and giggles, and therefore the author has the endearing Ava bequeathed the task of saving this new city she calls home.
“Yesterway,” the newest book my novelist Styna Lane, is a tough one to review. Described as a ‘dark, urban fantasy’ by the other herself, I found the book to be much more, and less, than that.
I’ll start with this: Lane is a bold writer. Her prosaic style is at once both hypnotic and jarring. Her propensities for explicit descriptions of the ornate settings that accompany the land of Yesterwary itself are haunting and beautiful. She takes that extra step in visualizing for the reader a world that is unlike any other, but concurrently not so unlike the urban jungle we navigate each day of our existence.