Author: Lorraine M. L. M.
Review: The first thing I noticed about this book was it was split into separate parts as well as having defined chapters which isn’t something I see very often in YA novels. The preface of the book was great we are introduced to an unnamed protagonist who can hear the thoughts and desires of others telepathically. After breaking down during an exam she/he is sent to Isle Speranz for a complete psychotic breakdown. I loved this opening and it really gripped my attention as a reader and I was pumped to continue reading. We learn our main protagonist is Alessia Appleton an ordinary 16 year old apart from the fact she hears voices, while Alessia is incarcerated in London even the best doctors there say she is beyond help and she can’t be cured. Despite this Alessia knows there is no cure for her as she has always been this way, she is different from other people. This is very intriguing as the author has provided an outline to us but without giving us any major details at all.
Alessia lives with her aunt as her parents died in an accident years before and has given the doctors permission to send her to Isle Speranz where she will be basically imprisoned but at the same time using her mind reading abilities she hears a voice telling her that her sequence has begun and to jump in the Thames which she obviously ignores but as the title name is used I believe this scene will hold a significant amount of weight later on in the novel. As we fast forward Alessia has been at the facility for a month and she plans to escape on her birthday, after getting to the water Alessia has no option but to try and swim to the mainland as they are on an island. It is a this precise moment that she hears the strange voices again one of them being the same voice that told her to jump into the Thames but before she can do anything about it she is swept out to sea and loses consciousness. After coming to Alessia is told she is in Zeneshia and alternate universe under the sea, she is treated almost like a princess but she is extremely confused especially when “the sequence” is mentioned. The Zenesh people seems to know what this means and it holds great weight but Alessia has absolutely no idea what is going on but for the time being she literally goes with the flow. Alessia realises she has heard of Zeneshia before when her father was on his deathbed, he awoke briefly from his coma to tell her to find Zeneshia before he died, I feel confident she didn’t remember this as she has supressed it due to the trauma of her parents death. Alessia takes to Zeneshia quite quickly in terms of the language and the people but she still doesn’t quite understand the way this particular world works, it is fascinating, terrifying and ominous all at the same time which makes for some very interesting reading in my opinion. Alessia also mets a young man called Dante who she is immediately drawn to and she even lets him inside of her mind and he does the same for her and they become friendly very quickly and I have a feeling that this may develop into a romance later on in the novel. After Alessia’s initial entry to Zeneshia not a lot happens action wise although there is plenty of stunning world building and character development.
As we cross the 1/4 mark we learn more of Alessia’s heritage and it turns out that Alessia’s mother Kay was Zaira’s daughter; making Alessia her granddaughter and part Zeneshian which was an amazing moment because Alessia feels she has finally found somewhere she can truly belong. But we don’t have to wait long until strange things begin happening to Alessia and as expected Dante comes to her rescue, we the reader know there is something strong and ancient connecting these two characters but we don’t know what it is yet but there are several subtle hints towards a romance here. Despite being fast paced and an easy read I don’t feel much going on except world building and character development this could be due to the fact this book is the first in a series so it could be laying the groundwork for the next novel but despite this small issue I by this point was really enjoying the novel. It isn’t until chapter 9 when Alessia and Dante actually admit the way they feel for one another and agree to go on a date, at this point I bounced around in delight as I had been waiting for this from the moment Dante and Alessia laid eyes on one another. The date between the young couple was simply divine, there was a lack of physical contact between the two so not much hand holding or embracing but it still made my heart race. You feel as if Alessia and Dante were almost made to be together but romances in these kinds of novels aren’t that simple and sooner or later something is going to come between them and challenge their love for each other. The pair discover a lot more about each other, Dante even takes Alessia to his mothers’ grave which I found to be an extremely touching moment as it shows how much Dante trusts her. While I wanted to urge the relationship along I also wanted to savour the innocent moments the couple share in their imaginary solitude.
As we approach the half way point in the novel there is a dark, ominous feeling surrounding Alessia and Dante signalling to me the reader that something bad/dangerous is going to happen very soon. As predicted the couple soon begin to face trails including the fact Dante called off a political engagement for her but somehow she feels betrayed that he didn’t trust her enough to tell her the truth and this begins to happen all to soon after their wonderful date in my opinion. As the reader we can feel there is trouble brewing within Zeneshia but still nothing has come to the front. As we are now past the half way point I am building to feel like this is a little bit of a foundation book so not much has happened so far but it is laying the foundation for the sequel which is going to be released in February 2017. Despite the lack of action the book is still wonderful to read and unless you are looking closely you don’t even notice the lack of action. We then move away from the world building and the focus shifts to the relationship between Alessia and Dante especially after Alessia discovered that Dante is the king (of sorts) in Zeneshia and he was weighed down by his own burdens which was responsible for his hot and cold attitude but Alessia still feels completely lost without him being present. Alessia and Dante are finally able to communicate their feeling without outside interference and it leads to an engagement of sorts to which both are really pleased. But as I am 65% into this novel I don’t think any of the characters except for Alessia has faced any trails nor has there been major plot progression but I am holding out hope for a grand finale.
For the first time in the novel we see some real development in Alessia and Dante’s relationship where they get to know more about one another and become even closer if that is even possible. And Alessia despite her reservations about not knowing Dante that long or maybe returning to her own universe are banished as she completely accepts Dante as her heart and soul and will do anything to be with him. All seems well until the pair receive an ominous prophecy from a strange old man and this may just be the key to why Alessia is in Zeneshia and what her role will be within this particular sequence. A this point we are about 3/4 of the way through the novel and there are only 60 pages left to go. While so little pages left I was seriously wondering whether all my questions would be answered but I was comforted in the fact there is a sequel coming very soon. Ralda is one of the last surviving voice of the sequence and the last time he was seen in this world was before Alessia’s mother disappeared, and his apparence doesn’t bode well for the group. He is also one of the only people that knows how to strengthen the shield protecting our characters from the violent forces which lay outside. In order for Alessia to help Zeneshia she must leave the people she has come to call family and the one she loves in order to train, to become strong enough to save them in her own right which wounds her deeply but she knows it is the right thing to do as it was her mothers’ duty before it was her own. But just as things seems to progress Alessia is stolen away in the night by the beings that brought her to this world. As we enter the second part of the novel the perspective changes from that of Alessia’s to Dante’s which I personally absolutely adored.
We follow Dante and the mass of other characters in the immediate aftermath of Alessia’s disappearance and how they plan to find her and complete their mission in strengthening the shield but not before it is breached by invaders. We feel the pain and sorrow of everyone but none more so than Dante as a part of him has been taken. Dante perspective is very different to Alessia’s. Alessia’s viewpoint is filled with confusion and a steady stream of emotion, while Dante’s is build on maintaining serenity with short outbursts of violent emotion, it seems that these two need to be together in order to provide balance to one another. As Dante and the rest of the family prepare to rescue Lessi from an ancient enemy long since legend they are faced with two options; rescue her and bring her own or lose her forever. We truly feel Dante pain and anguish to be parted from his destined love and he wants nothing more to wrench her from evil’s clutches back into his own arms but whether he will succeed remains a mystery. In an epic scene Dante and a small group manages to rescue Lessi from the ancient water beings and Lessi’s full power is revealed in order to protect the people she cares about most which was truly stunning. We see for the first time Lessi surrendering control to her mind which takes over saving everyone and stopping a war but she is rests on her anchor in Dante.
In the final pages we switch back to Alessia’s point of view to round things off. The ending of this novel was spectacular, they created a mentally stunning visual and evoke powerful emotions within us as the reader, I was crying, laughing and feeling everything in between. My favourite character by far was Dante, his feel and completely unique style just drew me in and I wanted more of him. I also really enjoyed the short part of the novel that was told from his perspective and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book very very soon (February 1st). I would highly recommend this book to everyone especially those interested in fantasy/romance novel and while this book is aimed at a young adult audience I wouldn’t be surprised to find many adults also enjoyed this heartwarming and delightful slice of heaven.
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