Debut author Hiatt offers an engrossing coming-of-age story richly infused with ancient mythology and Arthurian tales.
When California teenager Taliesin Weaver begins speaking medieval Welsh in his sleep, his friend Stan knows something odd is afoot. Stan discovers that Taliesin has been reincarnated dozens of times and has suddenly become aware of all his past lives. Soon they (and a widening circle of their friends) are confronting shapeshifters, battling with medieval knights and seeking to disrupt a shadowy conspiracy. As Taliesin tries to incorporate his past selves into his current one, he tries to save his friends and his town from supernatural destruction—and he still doesn’t have a date for Homecoming. Hiatt has created a memorable and engaging character in Taliesen—a hormonal 16-year-old with the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years. Supporting characters are equally engaging, including the “epically hot” school nurse who is also a dream walker and shaman, and town founder Carrie Winn who may be an archenemy or a protector. The novel’s pacing is swift and sure, and Hiatt writes with humor (“Stan…was like a kid at Christmas, or, well, actually Hanukkah, if you want to get technical. Unfortunately, his mother was a little more like the Grinch”) and poignancy (“I wanted to tell my dad that the boy was dead, but that I was alive, and I needed him, I needed him to love me, not some memory that hung between us like a pale, dull fog”). Occasional misspelled words detract somewhat, but the overall quality of the book outshines such minor missteps, as the intensity builds to an action-packed and bittersweet conclusion.
A fast-paced, emotionally nuanced page-turner.