Release Date: August 15, 2015
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Fantasy
In the happy, clean community of Austin Valley, everything appears to be perfect. Seventeen-year-old Em Fuller, however, fears something is askew. Em is one of the new generation of Dream Travelers. For some reason, the gods have not seen fit to gift all of them with their expected special abilities.
Em is a Defect—one of the unfortunate Dream Travelers not gifted with a psychic power. Desperate to do whatever it takes to earn her gift, she endures painful daily injections along with commands from her overbearing, loveless father. One of the few bright spots in her life is the return of a friend she had thought dead—but with his return comes the knowledge of a shocking, unforgivable truth. The society Em thought was protecting her has actually been betraying her, but she has no idea how to break away from its authority without hurting everyone she loves.
First of all, I have to give the author a heartfelt thank-you for two things. First, for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Secondly, imagine my surprise when I opened the book, turned to the "Praise for Previous Works" section to discover that a quote from one of my reviews was featured. That was a first for me, and I am deeply honored. Thank you so much!!
Now on to the important part! Defects is the start of what I would call a spin-off series from Sarah Noffke's original Lucidites series. It takes place in the "dream travelers" culture, but in a different setting. I loved the first series so much that I went into reading this one mainly excited to be able to get another look into this world, but a little bit worried too, only because I was afraid this one would not be able to live up to the magic of the first series in my mind. I need not have worried. One of Sarah Noffke's strengths, as I discovered in her prior works, is that she can definitely plot an original book, and Defects fit the bill perfectly. There was nothing repetitive in this story. There are brand new characters, a whole new world of troubles to sort through, and a completely different culture that made it unique from the original series.
Em was so likeable. She was completely different form the heroiene in the Lucidities series, but she too was strong, in her way. Her father might call her rebellious, but I would just call her strong, funny, genuine, and at times, sarcastic. The long-lost friend that returns is one of her childhood friends, and when he arrives, Em begins to discover that something is very wrong in their society. She had some small suspicions previously, but Rogue's return brings her concerns to the forefront and makes her realize how deep the problems run.
I love the mystery involved in this book. The villains aren't exactly known in the beginning... they have to be discovered. Let me tell you.... that discovery was shocking. I love the mystery to this book, like there was a puzzle that the characters had to resolve and that mystery leads to some pretty amazing and horrifying discoveries that left me on the edge of my seat.
This author is a wonderful storyteller who knows how to pull you into the worlds she creates. The pacing was perfect to where I looked up and the book was over and I had no concept of the passage of time. The characters were well-developed and sympathetic, and I love where I see this series going. Oh, and I loved to see the return of a character from the original series! I hope Ren plays more of a role in upcoming installments. Bottom line, if you haven't read the first series, go read it... and then catch up with this one. A great author, great, characters, and a great story. After that cliffhanger, I'm dying to see what happens next!