Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review & Author Interview: Revived by Sarah Noffke

Revived (The Lucidites Series #3) by Sarah Noffke
Release Date: November 21, 2014
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

The pieces of Roya’s life don’t fit together anymore. Nothing makes sense. Joseph could be to blame for the fall of the Lucidites’ society. Zhuang is back and more powerful than ever. Chase, a gorgeous psychopath, is demanding her love and commitment. And the Institute is swarming with lies, betrayals, and conflicts. Roya knows she needs to focus and reconnect with Joseph if she is to survive, but how can she find clarity when everything around her is unraveling? The final chapter in The Lucidites Series will take up residence in reader’s bones. All secrets will be revealed. All villains will be confronted. And the greatest obstacles will be that of the heart. Revived delivers, giving audiences what they want most from the last in a fast-paced, thrilling series.

That last line of the summary?  So true!!  Wow!!  What a finale!!  And check out that amazing cover!!  Okay, calming down now...   Welcome to this special post for the final book in Sarah Noffke's Lucidites series.  This post will feature my review of the book, and a special interview with Sarah.  Thank you so much to Sarah for taking time to provide her answers to my questions.  Now let's check out this last book to what has been an amazing series!

What can I say that won't sound too fangirly?  I fell in love with this series from the very first page of the first book.  I immediately loved all of the characters because they were so well-crafted and leaped off the page at me.  I felt like I knew them, Roya especially.  As the books progressed, I fell only that much more in love with them, and with this wonderful series.

Roya is the perfect mixture of what I love to see in a heroine.  She is strong, independent, knows her own mind, is brave, self-sacrificing... I could go on and on.  But here's what I love most about her... she's vulnerable too.  She has flaws.  She makes bad choices...but then she makes a lot of right ones too.  I've said this before in prior reviews, but it bears repeating...I've never seen a character work so hard to hide her emotions, to keep them under control.  It was so sad to watch, and as I read my way through these three books, I kept waiting for the moment when she'd open herself up, tell herself the truth.  She has evolved so much by the time we get to Revived, and I loved her all the more.

So what did I love so much about this last book?  Well, everything.  It had all the elements that make me adore a book.  There was romance, a long-lost brother, an unexpected twist that hit us at the end of book 2 and which plays a heavy role in this final story, not one, not two, but three dangerous villains, and so much more.

This story was very character driven, which is something that I love.  Since there has been a love triangle throughout the story, I read with baited breath to see how that was going to turn out because I loved both Aiden and George so much. I love how the author was able to perfectly balance my love for both of the guys in this story, and it wasn't until Roya finally realized who her man should be, that I finally realized it too.  Neat writing trick there!

Really though, the romance, while completely engaging and important to me, was secondary to a couple other elements.  Some of my favorite scenes in this story are between Roya and her brother, Joseph.  This was such an endearing and precious relationship, and I loved seeing it come full-circle and develop into something amazing.  Second...the villains... can't say much here without ruining the story for you, so I'll just say, wow, the villains.

Then there was that twist at the end of the second book.  Again, I can't say what it was in case there are some who haven't read the stories yet... but this was my favorite aspect of this book.  I watched this unfold with heartbreak and hope, and when I read that final scene regarding this twist, I sighed and melted.

The writing in this story was some of the best I've read in a long time because the story was so well-crafted, all the little pieces fitting together perfectly.  A large part of this book centers around the characters, but I wasn't bored in the least.  The pacing was great.  Everything was leading up to something spectacular, and when that moment finally arrived, it was worth the wait, and the author delivered yet more surprises.  This has turned out to be one of my favorite series of all time.  If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?  I can't wait to see what Sarah Noffke comes up with in the future!!

About the Author

Sarah Noffke writes YA sci-fi fantasy and is the author of The Lucidites Series.  She’s been everything from a corporate manager to a hippie. Her taste for adventure has taken her all over the world. If you can’t find her at the gym, then she’s probably at the frozen yogurt shop. If you can’t find her there then she probably doesn’t want to be found. She is a self-proclaimed hermit, with spontaneous urges to socialize during full moons and when Mercury is in retrograde. Sarah lives in Southern California with her family.

Author Interview with Sarah Noffke
The Tale Temptress: How did you come up with the idea for the Lucidites series?
Sarah: I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and sleep. Not just sleeping, but dreaming, is vital to our survival. If we don’t dream then the human brain deteriorates. REM sleep deprivation in rats has shown to cause a loss of survival behaviors, decrease of pain threshold and depression. In humans sleep deprivation causes hallucinations because it is so crucial to brain function. All this kept me thinking about the power stored in dreams and dreaming abilities. I spun these ideas around in my head until I concocted a villain (Zhuang) who stole human’s abilities to achieve REM rendering them hallucinating zombies. And maybe also I was inspired by my own sleep deprivation at the time. My daughter was six months old and not sleeping through the night. I’m fairly certain I shouldn’t have been operating a motor vehicle.
The Tale Temptress:  What was the most challenging aspect to writing this story?
Sarah:  Pushing the boundary. I don’t mean as far as keeping it clean. I write YA and I stick by having it fit in that genre. What I mean is that I kept pushing myself to do something that I didn’t think had been done yet. To allow myself to take unexpected turns. There were times I was writing and the flow deviated completely off the outline. I knew this was going to cause a lot of changes, but I tried to live in that flow and just go with it. I think that in the end this was the best choice for the series overall. It meant tons of rewrites, but it also meant that the series was full of twist and turns, ones that I didn’t even see coming.
The Tale Temptress:  Do you have a favorite character who really spoke to your heart? And if so, why?
Sarah:  I have a few actually. Aiden’s story is slow to come out and for that reason I respect the guy a lot. He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t use his past pains as a way to gain favor. And I love a smart guy. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up at night with that guy babbling in my head. His dialogue was some of the easiest to write because he was always pleading his case in my head. He unabashedly loves Roya, but he’s a torn soul, as we all are.
And then there’s George. That lover boy constantly wrapped his warm hands around my heart and squeezed with gentle pressure. There’s something so innately good in him and then also an essence of maturity that makes him too hard. Honestly, I fell in love with Aiden and George over and over to the point that I found it hard to choose. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. Roya did.
The Tale Temptress:  The Lucidites series is a complicated and intricate story.  How did you keep all the pieces together and tie everything in so well?
Sarah:  Well thank you so very much! It is a complicated story, and here I kind of have to give credit to a bit of divine intervention. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. There were things I wrote in book one that wove into book three so beautifully, and I, myself, was completely astonished. Not kidding. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but there’s a major storyline that weaves through all the books and I didn’t even get the reveal until I wrote the end of the books. I’ve gotten better at outlining, but still I kind of allow the story to take me for a ride and that’s when complexities I couldn’t have planned for really take shape.
However, to give this question a more concrete answer, I did make diagrams of how dream traveling could happen, moving from layer to layer. The dream tracking was a complex idea for me to wrap my mind around and so I did chart this out. And the Lucidite Institute is very complex so I created a detailed map of what it would look like as a blue print with its five levels and various rooming and training corridors. This helped so that I was consistent with my referencing.
The Tale Temptress:  For our aspiring writers out there, what is your best piece of advice?
Sarah:  Every writer has advice on this topic and it’s all worthy. It’s advice from other writers that’s made me who I am. With that being said, I don’t want to repeat what most say, but I’m going to anyway. My promise is that I’ll try to say something new too.  So most will tell an aspiring writer (and they’re correct) to read as much as possible, write every day, and read books on how to write.

Alright, now here’s my something new that I give to only you: Become intimately acquainted with the writer inside you. This is not a person the world outside will know. This is the part inside you that only you know, that tells stories inside your head, and imagines fantastic things when the normal day-to-day is going on around you. You’re the only one who knows this person and the only one who can interpret their stories. Make a habit of closing your eyes once a day and meditating with this person. In time you will be so connected to them that their words will flow from you effortlessly. Most writers I know will agree that their books do not come from them, but rather through them. This happens when you open up this channel.
And if that sounds too metaphysical for you, well then just check out Stephen King’s autobiography,
On Writing. He’s a genius.
The Tale Temptress:  Can you give us readers any clues about your next writing project?
Sarah:  I’ve just finished my next series, The Reverians. It involves a new society of Dream Travelers. They aren’t underground like the Lucidites. The Reverians are nestled into the remote mountains of Southern Oregon. This series is way more dystopian and much faster paced than the Lucidites. More unique skills and lots of fun dream travel locations. I’m hoping readers love The Reverians series even more than The Lucidites, or equally.


Thank you again to Sarah Noffke for giving us a peak into her head and answering these questions.  You can buy all three books at the links below:
Buy Links

Lastly, don't forget to visit the author on her social media!

Author Links

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