Author: Stephanie Void
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Features: Alternate worlds, evil spirits
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: March 2011
Source: Author for review
Overall Rating: 3
Bethany has never felt as alone as she feels in Linwood—until she dreams up Chime, a woman on the run because of a magic crime she didn’t commit. The dreams get more and more urgent, so Bethany tries to banish them by writing them down, only to discover she’s stumbled into the role of unwitting controller of Chime’s world.
Chime is real here, and so is the possessed queen, minion army, mysterious professor, Vault Five, wind chimes with a secret code, child’s rhyme that can kill, the naked painting, and other things Chime’s story leads her to.
She has to fix the story without erasing Chime and her world, because if she erases Chime, she will die as well?
This book had me intrigued from the beginning. Alternate worlds? If you didn't already know, my all-time favorite series is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. While the world in this book is not accessed by a closet or a painting, it's even more special because it was created by one person, who can travel (involuntarily) into both.
I really enjoyed the book in the beginning, because the idea that Bethany could be creating a whole world of characters and places simply by writing (a story within a story) really fascinated me, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next, since New Velerethland was in so much trouble. The plot was very original and the story kept twisting into new challenges and obstacles for Chime and Bethany. It was a very dark and perilous journey that our protagonists had to undergo, and it kept me fixed. (I really didn't want to be Bethany - she had so many bad things going on.)
While the writing was very skilled, descriptive, and well-done, the reason I couldn't get into the story as much as I expected was because of the character development. The Queen Numuriu was probably the best-written character. She was troubled, and her body was being ripped apart by the spirits who wanted to take over. Every scene with her gave me the chills, whether she was herself, or possessed.
It was the other characters that didn't capture me as much. Bethany was very strong and brave, but she was confused for much of the story, which confused me even more. She didn't really know where to go, or what was going on, even though she created the world. Also, I just didn't feel her as a teenager. I don't want to give anything away, but the situation with her sister, albeit a great addition to the novel, felt a little too mature for someone of Bethany's age. Bethany was a pretty likable character, but she seemed a little dull to me at times, with not much personality. Also, I don't know any high school student who would strip down for a boy she barely knew so he could paint her.
I'm a pretty big fan of romance, and I love it when it's present in a book (which is almost in all YA cases). When it isn't, I'm fine with that, too. However, if it's kind of there, as a fleeting moment, it disappoints me. The romance in this book was evident, but barely developed, and didn't seem very interesting. It didn't enhance the story at all. This goes for the relationships for both Bethany and Chime.
This book is great for anyone who enjoys a dark, adventurous story filled with dangerous monsters, quests, and villains. I see very high potential for this author, and I believe anybody from middle school to adult would like it, fans of Narnia especially.
First Line/First Paragraph/Beginning Excerpt:
The entire first chapter is on Stephanie Void's website!
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