Published: April 13th 2014
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Book: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Author: GoodReads | Twitter | Website
Join forces with a parallel universe.
Dark forces, magical creatures, and the world Lil thought she knew collide when a dream transports her to the strange world of Orenda. Stunned and terrified, Lil comes face to face with her doppelganger, Willow, who possesses the ability to travel between the two worlds. Everything Lil knows logically says that Orenda can’t exist, but a small clue may be proof that it was more than an ordinary dream. With the threat of her sister in danger, Lil crosses dimensions but it may cost her even more than she bargained for.
A sword wielding girl, the eternal suit, and a parallel universe come together in this action- packed Young Adult fantasy adventure that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages. Orenda is the first novel in the Orenda series.
Review copy provided by author via YA Bound Book Tours.
A plot speaking of parallel words, dark forces, magic and action and an equally intriguing cover, consisting of what I assume is the sacred springs, is why I decided to request a review copy for this book.
While concept-wise, this book is amazing, the fault lies in how it was executed. The world-building, for instance, could have done great things by itself, but it was pretty much lacking. Or rather, absent. We are told what that is, where that is and how it works, but simply in the form of a mere sketch. This is why most things about the world didn't make sense, like the technology in Orenda. (No phones, but they had planes. Okay, brother.)
My main problem was that I couldn't connect with anything. The scenes were anticlimactic. For example, before we meet the villain, it is suggested how dark and fearful she is. I'm not sure what I was expecting but Eilith made me roll my eyes until it hurt. She had literally no remarkable features about her, and was the kind of villain you read about in fairy-tales. She was evil, wicked, unforgiving, and bad. What harm could it have done if she had some personality aside from these witch-qualities? I guess it depends on your taste, but I don't fancy my characters black and white.
Apart from that, the scenes were rather uneventful too. I would expect something more action packed, something more remarkable, to be disappointed every time. Usually, our characters would have some loathe-filled conversation with the villain before their departure. (Usually, with one of them harmed. I mean, dude. What do you expect? She's the villain.)
One thing I noticed, which I'm neither going to claim as an error or do otherwise was the writing. On the larger scale, it was pretty good and simple - in the fact that it lacked details which I would have preferred. But sometimes, emotions or expressions would be defined after the dialogue. For instance:
"I don't understand". Jen said, and furrowed her brows.
sounds a bit awkward (and like they're faking it) when compared to:
Jen furrowed her brows and said,"I don't understand".
I'm no expert, but don't feelings come before words? Without getting too scientific, I felt like this factor contributed to how I didn't connect with the characters. It just felt awkward, be it even if I'm reading too much into it.
Lil and Willow are two characters from the book who are lookalikes from parallel worlds, and I liked neither Lil nor Willow. Lil felt too naive and nice for my liking while Willow felt overdone with her kickass personality.
There's no love triangle so far, but it's fair said that it will develop further into the series - between Hudson, Lil and her bestfriend, Bray. If it happens, it will absolutely pointless because we all know who will end up in the bestfriend zone. Forever. (Psst. It's the bestfriend.) Then again, it is Lil who called Bray a brother so a love triangle would be weird. Very.
Now for Hudson and Lil and their little bunch of lovey dovey feels and romance. When Lil meets Hudson, he's pretty mean to her and deserved a kick or two, but suddenly they're flirting and being cutesy. And before we know it, they're kissing and exchanging love. This, wasn't exactly insta-love but too close to it for me to have liked it. I might like Bray in the future, but he wasn't presented in a way that suggested he was part of the team - he wasn't even there during the "important" events.
All in all, this is a book that lacked character growth, world building, and needs a good dose of originality. If more focus was given to the fact that this was a parallel world, and if things didn't feel silly and emotionless, I might have liked it better.