BOOK REVIEW: Truth Seer (Truth Seer Trilogy Book 1) by Kay L Moody

40598920Title & Author: Truth Seer, Kay L Moody
Publication Date & Publisher: July 2, 2018, Marten Press
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
My Rating: 4.0

Description (from Goodreads):

A world of lies. A cell of terrorists. When her sister is taken hostage, only the power to see the truth can set both of them free.

Egypt, 2121. Imara Kalu knows how she wants her future to go: Become a police interrogator in Kenya and then graduate as a truth seer in her last semester of the summer training program. But her plans fall apart when a group of terrorists take over the school and carry out a desperate kidnapping. Devastated that her sister is among the victims, Imara leads a rescue team and descends into the dangerous catacombs where the hostages are rumored to be hidden.

Although suspicious of others because of the truth she sees, Imara knows the rescue team will need her help as a truth seer to bypass the lethal illusions laid by the abductors. But as the terrorist traps escalate, Imara realizes how much truth she’s been ignoring and that holding back could get her sister killed. Throughout the journey, Imara confronts her past and amplifies her abilities as a truth seer only to discover that her sister’s kidnapping is just one piece of a much darker secret.

Truth Seer is an enthralling YA sci-fi fantasy novel. If you like tenacious heroes, incredible mind powers, and futuristic tech, then you’ll love Kay L Moody’s fascinating world.

My review:

If you had the ability to see (literally SEE) others truths and intentions, would you really want to?

Before reading Truth Seer, I would have said “Um, Yeah!” without thinking twice about it. But now?!?!? I’m not so sure…

Truth Seer takes place in the future, after we’ve tapped into innate abilities that allow us to basically have superpowers (hilas). It seems a little far fetched when I say it that way, but Kay L Moody actually had me thinking I could totally have a hila!

Basically, we’re currently in a world where we all have “abilities” we just haven’t tapped into yet. Are you good at nursing people back to health? You’re probably a healer. Have an incredible sense of smell? Yep, there’s a hila there! Can you predict when it’s about to rain? You’ve probably got the same hila as Imara’s sister, Naki. OR at least, you would…if only we’d figured out how to unlock our hilas already. Not gonna lie… I’M SUPER UPSET WE DON’T HAVE SUPERPOWERS!

Oops! I got distracted. I’m supposed to be telling you what I thought about the book…

The main character, Imara, is a truth seer. She’s able to see the truth and intentions behind what people say. I both thought this was awesome, and felt so bad for Imara that this was her hila! Because she knows anytime someone is lying, she can’t trust anyone. Everyone lies.

Imara and her sister, Naki, have some issues that go far deeper than most sibling rivalries. But when Naki is kidnapped by a terrorist group called “taggers,” Imara risks her life to save Naki and the others who were taken with her.

My favorite thing about Truth Seer was definitely the characters! I was drawn to Imara and loved how complicated she was. She is constantly seeing the truth around her, but the truth about herself is much harder for her to see. While Imara is my favorite character, there’s a mystique about Abe that has me dying to see what happens in the next book… I’m really hoping to learn more about him!

One of my favorite scenes was probably really only my favorite because I found it hilarious and could totally see the scenario taking place in the not so distant future. And I could totally see me talking to my grandchildren the same as Mr. Nazari talks to the students…

… “There’s writing on it. There’s actual writing on this paper. By hand!”

Mr. Nazari snatched the paper from Darius. “Let me see that.” He masked his curiosity with a patronizing look. “You children. Getting excited over paper. It used to be commonplace, you know.”

Because of Imara’s hila, no one ever questions her. They just go along with whatever she says. But she falls for Abe, who questions everything about both her hila and Imara herself. I loved their back and forth and they may be my new favorite fictional couple!

So those are the pros, on to the cons…

While I loved the book, there were times when Imara rubbed me the wrong way. She said and thought things that just didn’t make sense concerning her sister. It really got to me – to the point that I started not to like her so much. But you are given an explanation later in the story and it’s this “AHA!” moment, where suddenly it all makes sense and you think “Okay, now I’m shocked she wasn’t having even worse thoughts.” (So I guess this wasn’t actually a con. But I put it here because Imara REALLY angered me a couple of times before I knew what was going on.)

There were quite a bit of typos in my copy, but it may have just been because I had an ARC and these may be taken care of. In case they aren’t, I feel I need to mention that it was a problem. There was also a couple of times when the dialogue didn’t seem quite right…it either wasn’t something I would have expected the character to say, or it didn’t sound natural to me.

But basically, I loved Truth Seer and I definitely recommend it for those that enjoy young adult science fiction/fantasy novels. Book 2 in the trilogy is coming in January and I’m excited to get my hands on it!

In case you’re wondering…my hila would totally be truth seeing, just like Imara. And just like her, it’d cause me to isolate myself from everyone… What would you’re hila be? Would you actually want one, or do you think you’d be happier without it?

Do you plan on reading or have you read Truth Seer? What did you think? Do you want a hila now? Let me know!

***UPDATE: Since the original posting of this review, it has been confirmed that the typos mentioned above were because they had not been fixed prior to my receiving the ARC from the author and typos were corrected prior to final version of book.
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BOOK REVIEW: The Shield Breaker: Book One of the Enclave Series by Scott Beckman

51ndubla9rl-_ac_us218_Title & Author:  The Shield Breaker: Book One of the Enclave Series, Scott Beckman
Publication Date & Publisher:  June 22, 2018, Scott Beckman
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
My Rating: 4.0

Description (from Goodreads):

Fifteen years ago, magic destroyed the world.

Cait Verlyn is one of a handful of survivors who make their home under the Shield; a protective spell cast by their leader, a powerful wizard named Vitoria. Cait dreams of leaving the Shield to explore the ruins and rebuild civilization, but it’s impossible without magic and she is forbidden to learn.

Then she meets a stranger – a wizard from outside the Shield – who offers to teach her magic, but only if Cait will help the stranger overthrow Vitoria and liberate the enclave. The war of wizards that brought the world crumbling down is not over, and Cait’s home under the Shield is the new battleground.

Magic offers salvation, but as the apocalypse has proven, it always comes at a terrible cost…

The Shield Breaker is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy novel from the author of Pantheon, White Star Phase, and The Fox and The Blade. It is the first book in the Enclave Saga, and the gripping introduction to Cait Verlyn, the series’ conflicted young protagonist.

My review:

If you’re looking for a Teen/YA novel filled with magic, compelling characters, and a story with so many questions propelling the story forward that you don’t want to put the book down, then The Shield Breaker is one you definitely want to pick up!

The main character, Cait, seems to be the only person in the entire enclave (a safe space protected by a powerful wizard since the wizard war destroyed the world) questioning whether the shield that protects them from the dangers lurking outside their city is actually keeping the monsters out… or keeping everyone else in.  She feels like a prisoner, even though she was born in the Enclave.  She has an overprotective father that seems to disagree with everything about Cait – the way she thinks, the things she does, her desire to learn magic – it makes you question whether he even loves his daughter. You can’t help but feel for her and understand her desire to get away just because of this one relationship (which is more complicated than it seems at first).

The story really begins when Cait and her best friend find a hole in the shield, and Cait tries to get through… but something or someone was waiting and tries to pull her to the outside world.  She escapes, but the stranger leaves a magic book behind and suddenly Cait’s entire world becomes a lot bigger. She begins to question everything…who is Vitoria, really? Can she trust the strange wizard she met and her promises for something more than this life? Is magic really good? Is it really bad?

There are so many intriguing story lines in The Shield Breaker, that you continue to read it despite a few clunky sentences toward the beginning of the novel. As the book goes on, the sentence structure evens out and stops being an issue; however, there were some typos that stuck out to me.

I’d definitely recommend this  book to anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy with lots of twists!

Do you plan on reading or have you read The Shield Breaker? What do you think? What intrigue’s you about this book or are there similar books out there you’d recommend based on this one? Let me know!

Thank you to NetGalley and the author, Scott Beckman, for providing me with a copy of The Shield Breaker in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Unkindness of Ravens by Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Title & Author:  The Unkindness of Ravens, Abra Staffin-Wiebe37786306
Publication Date & Publisher:  July 18, 2018, Bimulous Books
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Literary Fiction
My Rating: 4.5

 

Description (from Goodreads):

The oba is dead.

The Eight Great Houses are under attack … and they are losing.

What’s worse than being ignored by your god?

As the royal heir from House Crow, Anari is desperate to protect his people from a plague-driven war.

Without the blessing of his god, he doesn’t have the magical power to compete in the succession battle for the beaded crown of the oba. He is easy prey for the strongest heirs. To stay alive, he must be quick and clever.

When his plans go wrong, he does the unthinkable.

Worse is having your god owe you a favor. Particularly when he’s a trickster.

Anari might not become the ruler of his people, but he has won his god’s undivided attention. If he can survive what he’s put in motion, he will have one chance to save them all. Fortunately, Anari has a few tricks up his own sleeve …

 

My review:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! (Sorry, had to get that out of the way before I went on.)

From the very beginning of The Unkindness of Ravens, Abra Staffin-Wiebe has you fully engaged in the world of House Crow and House Raven (two of the Eight Great Houses).  I didn’t even realize how emotionally attached I was to two of the main characters, Anari and Kayin, until Anari is close to death in the first few pages…

I knew he had to live.

According to the description of the book, there was no book without him.  And yet…

My heart was beating hard in my chest and I had tears in my eyes.  Not only was I worried for Anari, but for Kayin (who I was both feeling mad at and worried for at the same time)!  I couldn’t imagine this world without Anari in it and I couldn’t help but feel for Kayin…what would he do without Anari? What would happen if Anari died right in front him? I wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be okay and smack him at the same time!

This wasn’t chapters in where I’ve been given plenty of time to warm up to these characters, ya’ll…we’re talking the beginning of the story!

The description of both the action and the world is so artfully described that I felt as if I had left this world completely and been dropped right smack dab into the book.  At one point, Anari is hiding in plain sight on a battlefield among the dead.  I actually wrinkled my nose as if I could actually smell the rotting corpses.  Here’s an excerpt from that scene:

…He took shallow breaths through his mouth, but the stench of meat just beginning to go off wormed its way inside his nostrils.  He swallowed down an upsurge of bile. He had expected corpses to be stiff, but lying in the heat for hours had made them soft and squishy. They could not be mistaken for living flesh. One of the corpses sighed against his cheek like a love. The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end…

I could tell there were a lot of differences between each House.  Each member of a House had specific traits, abilities, and tendencies.  As you read through the book you learn more about the Houses, but mostly about House Raven and Crow.  For much of the book, I kept thinking ravens and crows are so similar, why are there even two houses? (This was explained.) But I got chills when I read Kayin’s explanation to Anari of the difference between Crow and Raven:

Crows like to flock. Together, they make a murder of crows. A group of ravens, called an unkindness, only comes together in two places: battlefields and graveyards, where the bones of men fall.

When I finished The Unkindness of Ravens, I was hungry for more! Not because the ending wasn’t sufficient, but because I feel emotionally invested in these characters and have a deep desire to want to learn what happens to them next.

I’m definitely going to need to pick up a copy of this book once it’s published!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!