In Lolite’s debut YA novel, a tough young orphan finds friendship, mystery and strength in her magical heritage.
Ingrid Fairheit has always felt different and not just because of her purple eyes. Orphaned at a young age, Ingrid has taken care of herself and her alcoholic aunt for as long as she can recall. But every now and then, Ingrid remembers flickers of her childhood—and of her parents’ premature deaths. After hooded strangers attack her in the street, Ingrid is sent by her mysterious private school principal to visit a temple on the outskirts of their town of Dust Veil, Tennessee. There, Ingrid learns the truth of her past from Meissa, master of the Orion Temple. Thousands of years earlier, a strange group of travelers who appeared to be human but had bright, glowing eyes came to a grand city. Shocked by the travelers’ appearances, the humans entered into a conflict with this mysterious race, known as the Ankida. The high priestess Ourania used a meteorite to create a gate that would seal the Ankida in another realm. Only five human warriors remained at the end of the battle, and these five were given stone statues and the power to guard the Gateway. Ingrid is not only part Ankida, but a descendant of one of the five warriors. She is a lockkeeper, and it turns out her best friends Ty and Lesia have similar powers as well. When one of the five magical statues is stolen and Lesia is kidnapped, Ingrid must use her sharp tongue and genetic powers to rescue her friend but not without tragedy striking along the way. Despite numerous proofreading errors and a tendency to rely too heavily on overused fantasy/sci-fi tropes, Lolite has created an intriguing debut. The tale is fresh even in its occasional predictability, primarily because of its depiction of underprivileged kids. The sharp-tongued young heroine narrates at breakneck pace; she’s also sympathetic, despite a fiery temper.
The novel seems poised for a sequel, and young readers will be as excited for answers as Lolite’s endearingly impatient heroine.