In this fantasy debut, a group of teens prepare for war against the evil magician who killed their parents.
Thirteen-year-old Kara lives with a strict but loving adoptive family. One day, they reveal to her that she has an aunt named Annie. Once they meet, the vibrant woman tells Kara that she can explain why the girl went up for adoption and how there are other orphaned teens who are likewise special. Kara is intrigued because she’s levitated her MP3 player and experienced dreams that felt like memories. She travels with Annie to an island sanctuary protected by magical wards, where she meets her uncle Paul as well as fellow orphans Seth, Phillip, and Scarlet, among others. Kara learns that her parents, Myra and Frank, were powerful users of both black and white magic—but they were killed in battle against the dark magician Tallemar. The pressure on Kara mounts when she discovers that she’s the result of specific magical bloodlines and must lead the charge against Tallemar and his minions. Unbeknownst to Kara, her parents didn’t die; they were shunted to an alternate reality, a barren wasteland that nevertheless allows them to see into Kara’s world. Can this heroic girl magician master the powers that flow through her in time to thwart Tallemar’s plans? Eubank’s debut fantasy, which begins a new series, explores family dynamics with a careful eye to the psychology behind good, evil, and states between. The prose, consisting almost entirely of dialogue, has a clean, hypnotic cadence that draws readers into Kara’s world. This world, however, lacks a firmly described setting, and substantial dramatic arcs are missing. Instead, Eubank uses vast swaths of dialogue to hash out the characters’ pasts and possible futures. This will frustrate fantasy fans hungry for detailed settings and action. Surprise revelations spice up the tale, but by the end, the novel feels more like an overlong prologue. Eubank seems almost hesitant to have anything actually happen to her characters.
Intrigue abounds, but too much is left to the reader’s imagination.