Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Publication Date: Available now.
Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets…
I’ll start off by being honest and saying that I would never have picked up this book in the normal run of things, despite it being in one of my preferred genres, probably because being self published, I didnt get shouted at by people. Then one day one of my Goodreads friends gave it a pretty glowing review and I thought it sounded intriguing – so I tracked it down on Netgalley and my thanks to the author for approving me – because it really was extremely good.
We meet Tate Sullivan as she is about to go for her test to see if she can become a water bearer for the guild – something that people aspire to for a better life – when unexpectedly she passes, her life is thrown into turmoil as she faces a hidden enemy and a battle for her mind and body.
Now you might think that this “test at a certain age to determine the rest of your life” thing has been done to death in YA but Shawntelle Madison manages to breathe some new life into it and lets be honest, its a GREAT jumping off point for all sorts of wonderful stories and she has utilised this in a brilliantly entertaining way. It helps of course that as well as being a great premise, there are some strong leading characters and very decent worldbuilding to give this series a great start.
Tate is a beautifully drawn character – so very very normal. Nothing particularly special about her, when she goes to take the test she fully expects to be home again within a short while, so when things go wrong her reactions and how she develops over the course of the story feel real, even set in an unreal world. The idea of immortality gained by jumping from one body to another is not new, but in this case it is done with great flair, seeing it as we do from the point of view of someone who is losing themselves to another personality. The inner struggle is well described and the outer battles are just as fascinating so overall it makes for an excellent read.
The “must have” love story is in there as well but again done very well – I especially liked how it was a slow burner, didnt really get mired in unneccesary details and really just set things up nicely – the romantic angle of the tale stayed true to the rest in that way, became a part of the whole rather than the reason for it. I was very fond of our “bad guy” General Dagon, he is deliciously evil and again, very well imagined.
Overall then a well written, fun adventure that will definitely appeal to its target audience, manages to avoid being cliched and is also happily readable for an adult audience as well. Recommended for fans of YA/Dystopia.
Happy Reading Folks!