All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that's what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern's childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
What a title (and storyline), am I right?
I know I'm on a roll with loving the covers I've reviewed lately, but this one is truly exceptional. It even won a cover contest, so I'm not the only one who thinks so.
Okay, but who couldn't love Tristan, the boy from another world who's protected Fern from childhood? That's adorable, right? I think it is. Tristan sort of reminded me of one of my own characters at the beginning of the story, but as I read more of him, he was quite different, multi-faceted, and kind of precious in a tough warrior boy sort of way. I liked Tristan an awful lot.
Our main character, Fern, is the star of character growth. She starts the book pretty much legally insane and trying to keep it a secret that she's illegally raising her niece. Seeing Fern's character development from someone who was afraid to even think about her childhood, to a strong woman willing to fight for those she loved was pretty incredible.
I also have to mention that I enjoyed the use of the F.B.I as major players. You don't see this a lot in fantasy books, so it was a fun and unique addition.
Getting everything you want to say into a 50,000+ word book is hard. Getting your story into a novella? Crazy difficult, in my experience of writing novellas. I prefer novels because you can get so much more information in.
But Kara Swanson takes that thought and turns it on its head. Not only does she write a good novella, she writes one with just enough detail and a perfectly sized plot to fill her pages just right. The story is action packed, doesn't drag with needless exposition, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I saw someone mention this as a good beach-day read and I agree. If you want a quick summer read that isn't a romance novella, this is a good choice. Action packed and it will only take a couple of sittings.
I really enjoyed this one and liked that with its short length, it was easy to get through, but also well-developed. I was left with some questions, so I wouldn't be adverse to a sequel, but if there isn't one coming... I think this novella stands well on its own.
Guess what? This novella is only 99 cents today because it is release day. You should grab it here while you have the chance!
About the author: As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself.At seventeen, she independently published a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story Distant as the Horizon is included in Kathy Ide's 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine. Kara received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer Award in 2015.
Congratulations to Kara!