Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review: Through Fire & Sea by Nicole Luiken

Through Fire & Sea (Otherselves #1) by Nicole Luiken
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Contemporary

Mirror mirror, hear my call… In the Fire world, seventeen-year-old Leah is the illegitimate daughter of one of the realm's most powerful lords. She's hot-blooded—able to communicate with the tempestuous volcano gods that either bless a civilization or destroy it. But then Leah discovers she's a Caller, gifted with the unique—and dangerous—ability to “call” her Otherselves in mirror worlds. And her father will do anything to use her powers for his own purposes.

In the Water world, Holly nearly drowns when she sees—and interacts with—Leah, a mirror image of herself. She’s rescued by Ryan, a boy from school with a secret he’d die to protect. Little do they know, his Otherself is the son of a powerful volcano god at war in the Fire world…and he’s about to fall.  As Leah and Holly's lives intersect, the Fire and Water worlds descend into darkness. The only way to protect the mirror worlds is to break every rule they've ever known. If they don’t, the evil seeping through the mirrors will destroy everything—and everyone—they love…

I just finished reading this book last night, so it's fresh on my mind.  This was unlike almost anything else I've read in a long time, because it was so very unique.  Notice I had a little bit of trouble classifying the genre at the top of the post.  It is definitely young adult, but part of the story takes place in a fantastical world, while part of it takes place in the real world, and/or the present day/time/place.

I don't really want to tell you anything more than that because you really just need to experience this one for yourself.  I'm afraid I would ruin it for readers if I went into explaining the concepts of the mirrors and the Otherselves too much more than what the summary has already done.  So let's talk characters.

I loved these characters.  They were so well-crafted.  Even though Holly/Leah and Ryan/His Otherself, are mirror images of each other from Fire and Water worlds, they are each completely unique.  These are not carbon copies when it comes to personality.  I love how the author was able to make them so different while they looked and sounded so similar, and even shared some traits.  Leah was smart, strong, and brave, while Holly was smart, world-savvy, but a little more shy.  Ryan is sweet, but determined and self-sacrificing, while his otherself is dark, brooding, but nevertheless brave and honorable.

I don't read a lot of fantasy-type stories... so typically, the very things about this book that made it so "different" and "fantasy-like", might not have captured me quite so much if not for the characters.  The characters made me care about them.  They are what pulled me in and made me want to know what was going on, and to really invest myself into these differing worlds.

The author did an amazing job in her world-building, in crafting such a unique setting and story concept.  This story seemed to have it all.  There is a fantasy world, magic, divergent settings, romances to die for, and an amazing villain.  The writing was simple when it needed to be, poignant at other times, and tight and fast at others.  It sucked me in so quickly and kept my attention riveted. The pacing was spot on, and before I knew it, I looked up and I was done with the book.  I will definitely be looking for the second installment in this series.  This was an amazing, spellbinding start that swept me away completely.

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