It's Bonus Book Review Saturday! Today, I'm heading into the realm of YA urban fantasy—not my usual fare, but in this case, I'm glad I ventured outside my comfort zone.
Aurelious Forty has led a lonely, troubled life. He stays disconnected from the world around him with no family and no friends. He lives merely to exist…to survive.
Aurelious’ life changes in an instant when an impulsive decision forces him to abandon everything he has ever known. Choosing to follow strangers into a new world, he discovers he was born with a gift so strong, so unique; it could give him the power to change humanity.
But the shadows of his childhood are long and dark and run through every fiber of his soul. Can Aurelious break the chains of his past and use his gift for good? Or will the nightmare of his tormentors set him on a path of revenge so fierce it could destroy us all?
My Review: 4 Stars
YA Urban Fantasy is NOT my genre, but I found myself drawn into this book—and couldn't put it down until I finished it. The writing was solid, the story line had me intrigued, and I found myself wanting to know more about not just the main character, but the others around him.
Without spoiling anything, I will say I found the explanation of the characters' powers and abilities fascinating.
Now, I gave it a four star review for three reasons:
- Slow pace. The story moved very slowly, and lacked very noticeable highs and lows.
- Grammar issues. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to grammar, so I tend to notice these things.
- Romance. The story leaned all its weight on the "soul mates" thing, so it made the characters fall in love without actually developing any sort of legitimate connection. In my opinion, that's cheating on the characters and a bit of a lazy trope.
However, despite that, it was a great book, one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys YA Urban fantasy.
Here's a Taste:
They gave me time to myself like I asked. I don’t know how much time since I forgot to take the watch when I staggered away from the table and ran away like a baby. I was embarrassed by my behavior. I should’ve just told them what happened although, let’s be real, they probably already knew. But I didn’t know what happened, nothing like that ever happened to me before. It felt weird. It felt bad. And all I know is that I saw her cut her hand, I saw it bleeding but then a minute later when all of those images of the rest of the world came flooding back in, her hand was fine. But I saw it bleed I know I saw it.
I was sitting on the ground with my head in my hands grasping for any reasonable explanation, desperate to come up with something when I felt her touch the top of my head. I knew it was her because her touch made my head tingle. Which only added to my distress, why did her touch make me tingle?
I stood up and took a step away from them, she looked distressed at the sight of me, he looked concerned. “Why do you all always feel the need to touch me?”
“What’s wrong with touching?” she asked, she really didn’t know.
“I don’t like it,” I said emphatically, “I don’t like all of the damn touching.” I rolled my shoulders and shook my head like I was trying to shake off the feeling of the contact.
“Who doesn’t like to be touched?” She was perplexed.
“But why not?”
I ran my hands through my hair and then crossed my arms, protectively over my chest and took another step back, “Because I don’t!”
Anira looked at Brekwyn as if she wanted him to explain this weird thing, not everyone likes to be touched, it isn’t that weird is it? “He has had bad experiences with touch in his childhood. His experience with touch is violent, not affectionate.”
Immediately her expression went from confused to sad and she came toward me with her arms outstretched as if it was her own reflex to my pain. I backed up again. She stopped, “Aurelious, please,” she begged, “I won’t hurt you. I touch you because I care about you, touch is not harmful here.”
“But I don’t like it, Anira!” I yelled at her, I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t know how to communicate this. “It confuses me, I don’t know how I am supposed to feel about it. Am I supposed to like it or not, am I supposed to run from it or not, am I supposed to fear it or not? I can’t figure it out.”
“Does it feel bad when I touch you?” She asked with a tear in her eye.
“I can’t explain how it feels,” I was still yelling. “People hit me or pinched me or poked at me or pushed me, that’s what I know about touching. So it has always bothered me because it has always been a source of pain or humiliation,” Where was all this coming from? “But then I’m here and people are like patting me on the back and shaking my hand and putting their arm around me and it doesn’t feel bad. But I don’t know how to not feel bad about it! Can you understand that? It’s always been bad and now it isn’t, how am I supposed to make sense of that?”
“Don’t try to rationalize it!” she yelled back in response to me, and I suspect she didn’t really want to be yelling either.
Brekwyn put his hand up, “Aurelious, you are confused because your issue is not really with the physical pain, that’s only what’s on the surface. The tragedy of your childhood is that you were where you didn’t belong. You never formed relationships with the people you met because you shouldn’t have been with them. It isn’t a natural habitat for people like us. So you thought all along that you were burdened by the physical or emotional abuse that you suffered at that hands of those Gadje but in reality your greater burden was not being with us, where you belong, not being able to form your human connections. You are confused because you assume that you shouldn’t like to be touched or cared for based on how you grew up, but here you do like it. And you wonder why you can so easily move on from what you’ve always known. You are not betraying your past or the person that you have always been by accepting your new feelings, you are becoming the person you were always meant to be.”
About the Author:
Dianna Beirne lives in a fantasy world. Okay not really, but part of her wishes she did and, since that’s technically impossible, she writes about fantasy worlds instead. Her first Young Adult novel entitled Aurelious Forty; Volume One
quickly turned into her first Young Adult series with the addition of Aurelious Forty; Volume Two
and, Aurelious Forty; Volume Three.
When not writing, she’s generally daydreaming which morphs into wondering if that last daydream could turn into a book. She has also recently discovered podcasts, something the rest of the world discovered many years ago, but doesn’t exactly understand what they are or why they’re different from regular radio shows. So it’s safe to assume that her next book won’t be about a podcast. Instead she’ll just keep listening to the ones that she finds that hilarious because laughing is one of her favorite pastimes and she finds way too many things funny!
Prior to dedicating her time to writing, Dianna taught undergraduate and graduate courses about using literacy in the elementary, middle, and high school classroom.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education but decided to keep pursuing her education when she probably should’ve been writing something creative and continued on for a Master’s degree in Literacy and a Doctorate in Education specializing in Curriculum and Teaching.
Dianna lives in New York and is the grateful mother of a son whom she misses terribly when he is away at college.
Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Aurelious-Forty-Vol-Dianna-Beirne/dp/0986327107/
Read her thoughts on her website: http://www.aureliousforty.com
Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aurelious-Forty-710063509085753/
Follow her on Twitter: @diannabeirne