In this YA fantasy debut, seven strangers from various galaxies must join forces against the spread of evil to all inhabited worlds.
Fourteen-year-old Eva lives in a mountain village but longs to venture to distant lands. She excels at creating the elaborate headdresses worn by the village women, and her father is the village’s Head of Council. After he returns, injured, from a Council meeting, he tells of an increase in robberies by strangers in the region—and that he himself is a recent victim. He says that the village’s technocrats, who live abroad and help the People of the Mountain interact with the larger world, have traced the violence to a single person seeking to buy land. Meanwhile, in the wealthy city of Hailey Blu, 14-year-old Nathaniel learns that his father, an investment manager for a bank, has been researching dangerous seismic activity relating to the building of geothermal power plants. When a colleague and his family go missing, Nathaniel’s father fears for his own family’s safety. Connecting the events in Eva’s and Nathaniel’s lives is the mysterious Theosus, a guardian from the School of Nature, which oversees intelligent life in six galaxies. He’s on Earth to locate two members of the Code of Seven—a group of powerful people capable of thwarting the evil of the new world order. Debut author HM launches a new YA fantasy series with a complex array of cultures and relationships. The first half of the novel is a compact stream of marvelous ideas, central among them being the School of Nature, a heavenly place run by the guardian headmistress Elixxium. HM’s younger audience will need to be well-read, for the narrative strides quickly, covering mature topics such as the connection between co-existence and the health of planet Earth. Only later does the tale draw upon traditional fantasy elements, including portals, gemstones, and a fiery serpent. The author’s numerous, engaging ideas feel crowded in this short first installment, yet the epic relationship between Eva and Nathaniel keeps the story flowing.
An optimistic start to a new series that’s bursting with invention.