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T. L. Coughlin is a multiracial science fiction and fantasy author who loves to imagine and explore new worlds. As a child, she would often get in trouble for staying up until the bright hours of the morning to consume novels upon novels, jumping from one land to the next. Her hope is to deliver that same immersive experience, creating a journey that is relatable but can give rise to new thoughts.

Her works highlight the experiences of multiracial lead characters who feel like they belong to the world and yet belong nowhere, especially in a society unprepared for who they are. T. L. writes to serve her passion and more importantly, she writes to pay it forward. She lives in Canada with her husband and two doodle mixes: Orion and Kilo.

OF US AND THEM Cover
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY

OF US AND THEM

BY • POSTED ON Nov. 6, 2021

A debut YA SF novel about a young woman coming to terms with her destiny.

On 22nd-century Earth, 17-year-old Evren’s upbringing has centered on the unalterable fact that she will someday serve as the 12th and final Paladin—a human chosen as a physical vessel for the Leviathans, a powerful, mysterious alien species. In the opening pages, Coughlin introduces this species as “gods among men,” with a goal to “save Earth and push humans into their next state of evolution.” Evren undergoes rigorous physical training to prepare her body for its purpose, and Coughlin introduces her in early sections as a determined young woman who, despite her singularity of purpose, shows a healthy curiosity about the world around her—a perspective that’s often at odds with that of her mother, Ignis, who leads Nexum, the organization working to prepare Evren for her fate. Early on, the novel falls into the common fantasy-genre pitfall of introducing the world’s mythology too quickly instead of slowly peeling back its layers as the story goes on. However, once the novel starts hinting at mysterious forces that seek to prevent Leviathans from merging with Paladins, Coughlin’s writing tightens up considerably—particularly after another Paladin is found dead. From there, the teenage protagonist—and the reader—starts learning more about Nexum, and her increased knowledge coincides with her doubts about her mother’s role in her life. Soon, her relationships with other Nexum trainees effectively take center stage, and the work settles into a well-paced mystery plot. Throughout, the secrets of the Leviathans, and their mystical relationship to humans, loom enticingly in the background, waiting to be revealed.

A tightly written tale that, after a slow start, grounds itself in engaging, mysterious lore.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2021

ISBN: 979-8476314745

Page count: 251pp

Publisher: Darkstroke Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2021

Of Us and Them

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