In this debut fantasy, a young woman’s destiny involves saving her world from a long-standing evil.
Wendy is born with a genetic illness; her father is dead and her mother was severely injured shortly after giving birth. But Wendy is special, according to a being known as Beatrice, residing in an unspecified realm. Beatrice, who may be a prophesied “explorer,” has a dream vision that ties her to Wendy from “the Home World of the Redemption.” Wendy spends her formative years in religious uncertainty, starting with her governess, a volcanic witch. But Wendy ultimately makes a vow to God and later learns she has an unsettling destiny to fulfill. As a descendant of soothsayers, she also has dormant powers that will soon awaken. She seems an ideal candidate to help “her government” with a serious problem that started millennia ago. Surprisingly, this entails intermingling with a few of God’s distinctive creatures, such as elves and vampires, and could save countless lives in the process. Moreover, Wendy may have a limited time to complete her task, as her soothsaying grandmother tells the 20-something that she doesn’t have many years left. Details in McGraw’s series opener are murky, like what Beatrice’s people are and where Wendy is from. But the essentials are clear: Beatrice, for example, is a Normal (those close to God) while Renegades either question God or are atheists. The dialogue-laden story generally consists of theoretical discussions about religion between Beatrice and her teacher or Wendy and her family. What little action there is comes mostly through conversations, prompting some repetition (characters repeatedly describing the same events to others). Nevertheless, McGraw consistently maintains Beatrice’s voice, as she tells Wendy’s intriguing story to her teacher (“Things do not always work out among Wendy’s people as they expect”). The pace picks up considerably in the final act while the ending effectively teases the sequel.
A curious tale with a religious theme.