Teenager Ella is shot to death on Earth, only to be reborn as a witch in another world of seemingly friendly, happy fellow witches, but their smiles hide an evil society.
Seventeen-year-old debut author Deann has written a political, moral and racial commentary on U.S. society in the guise of a fantasy novel. Ella, under her witch name of Sunlight Reflecting Off The Moon, re-emerges on the planet Raena, where all seems to be in harmony. Life after death gets even better when her boyfriend joins her from Earth; he’s also a witch and was reborn as Kindness In His Heart. But Sunlight quickly discovers that her new home is a totalitarian society that practices slavery. Her love is tested when she learns that Kindness is the son of the world’s cunning and unscrupulous overlord, who shuts down any sign of opposition. Her Raena parents behave as most Earth parents do; they’re fearful of upsetting the establishment. Sunlight sets out in rebellion, with the television media complicating every step she takes (their similarity to the media on Earth is clear and accurate). Twists in the tale include a Roman gladiator-style fight where the combatants move 10 times faster than humans and where Sunlight’s parents get a chance at redemption. Told in the present tense, with short, sharp uncluttered prose and dialogue, the novel contains elements of great maturity, but the characters need more development. And a nagging, unanswered question is: What happens when the witches die, as they seem to be able to recycle through Earth and other worlds?
A remarkable, entertaining read and a useful political-awareness treatise for thinking teens.