Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review - Hidden Power

Today I'm reviewing the book Hidden Power by Tracy Lane. I received this from the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing.



Here's the summary from Amazon:
Aurora Turnleaf has lived her whole life hearing fairy tales of mysterious lands, magical beings, and crystal towers. She thought nothing of them until the day she stumbled upon a magnificent city, deep within the woods, built entirely of see-through crystal. It appeared out of nowhere, in a part of the forest she’s never ventured into before, and suddenly all those stories she heard growing up become much less imaginary. Her guide is Iragos, a light mage, who introduces her to Kayne, a mage in training for a dark wizard named Kronos. Unbeknownst to Aurora, Kayne had just stolen the Ythra Orb form the Hallowed Hall on behalf of his master and hidden it in her pack. Suddenly Aurora is thrust into a life or death journey to help Kayne find the mystical land of Morgis, home to the Oracles who first created the Orb, in hopes that they can secure its safety against Kronos. The path to Morgis will be treacherous enough, but it is what follows the two teens that is more life threatening. For the dark mage’s fierce legion of vicious minions is on their path, with Kronos himself not far behind, and all of them are intent on intercepting Kayne and Aurora at every turn. Meanwhile Aurora and Kayne must battle both the elements and Kronos’ dark magic to complete their quest. And along the way, the two teens from very different worlds must learn to work together to overcome obstacles, one of them being their mutual attraction.

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I want to start out by saying just how much I loved this book! I finished it in record time; granted it's a short YA book, but I usually end up finding something to do that gets in the way of reading time if it's something I'm not into it all that much. I didn't want to put this one down because I enjoyed the writing style and characters so much. The story itself was well-written, which is always a plus. The plot was cohesive and fit together with the characters working towards a clear end goal. I almost want to say that there wasn't a whole lot of world building because I think I would have liked it even more if there had been room for more detail and adventure, but even though the book wasn't overly long, it did have world-building, particularly if this is going to be the start of a series. I thought it was neat how the mages have their own hidden location kept secret from the rest of humanity and I thought the way the two main characters' magics worked was an interesting spin on a magic system. I always enjoy it when an author includes animals in a story and I liked how these were different from earth creatures because they existed on a fantasy world, but still were similar enough that the reader easily knew what they were- that is, until the evil mage did his thing, of course! I thought both of the main characters had depth and their interactions and relationship were written well. The supporting characters were a little more flat, but since they weren't the main ones, this wasn't much of a problem.

The book may not have been too utterly deep, but that was completely fine with me! I'm actually so tired of the current trend in fantasy and fiction being dark, edgy, and epic that I truly appreciate a book that's pleasant and has a happy ending. (I'm not a young reader wanting this, either; I'm a thirty-something who enjoys lighthearted stories with happy endings.) When I reached the end I actually smiled a huge smile and went "I loved this!" because finally I was able to read something that was generally happy. Thank you, thank you, Tracy Lane, for writing something that was different from the redundant and overdone trend currently saturating the market!

I'm usually very nitpicky about books; my friend and I theorize that it's because I studied literature in college and that left me constantly critiquing and editing the written word. When I got to the end of this book, however, I just couldn't think of any real faults with it and nothing I could dislike. There were a few typos and some excessive punctuation in the Early Reviewers copy that I received that I would have edited slightly, but other than those extremely minor things that most people probably wouldn't even notice, this was a great book.

I really wish I'd written this review as soon as I had finished reading because I feel like I'm missing so much here that I wanted to rave about in better detail! (Darn life got in the way this week and book reviewing got put on the back burner.) I'm going to assume that this is the start of a series judging from how the epilogue played out and I'm looking forward to reading more in the series if that's the case. Even if it's not, I'm going to look for more books by this author. I'm giving this five stars because I can't think of any reasons that would drop it from five to something lower.

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