*The author graciously Gifted me a copy of this novel in exchange of an honest review. This is no way affected my opinions.*
Heh heh, see what I did there? Okay, corny I know. But this book was so entertaining guys! I devoured this baby! And here’s why…
There is no chosen one in this story.
Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.
Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
If that synopsis didn’t convince you, allow me to ring you in. This book reminded me of X-Men mixed with Shatter Me. It’s not your typical YA Paranormal, it’s more Contemporary and I loved it for this reason alone. It’s easy to get into, flows nicely, and very entertaining.
The story follows our MC, Avery Gray, but you must call her Ava. After an unexpected event happens in her life, Ava finds herself a part of a world she didn’t know existed with a new ability that convinces her she is going insane. That is until she meets the adorable, sweet, Theo. Theo brings her to Hayven, she is anything but alone and insane. Hayven is city, not known to mortals, filled with those who are Gifted with unique talents and a cast of eclectic characters that you can’t help but love.
What I really enjoyed with this book (and what kept me reading) were the characters. Each one was unique and had their own special color and personality. Ava, who is a size 12 and dealing with some insecurities, was so relatable to me! I love her so much. She is shown this new world and she doesn’t just take it in and believe right away. She questions. She takes the time to learn and get to know everything slowly. Theo is sweet and an excellent, loyal friend to all who he loves. Baleigh is tough with spikes around the edges, but get her to let her walls down and this is a girl you want on your side. Now I love all the characters, but I have to say Baleigh is definitely my favorite. She doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap, but she will fight anyone who dares even look at one of her friends the wrong way. Seeing her relationship grow with Ava was definitely my part. Faye and Ollie are cute, shy little sweethearts. Lucas is our ladies man with an evident heart of gold. And you can’t forget sweet little Peyton. All these characters shine their own light and it’s so much fun getting to know them and learning all their special gifts.
The only characters I didn’t like in this book were Ava’s “mortal” friends. Toni was so selfish and was such a jerk to Ava when she clearly how more to deal with in her life than be bothered with Toni’s melodramatic boy troubles. Her friends were all supportive in the beginning and I found it disappointing we didn’t see much of them, but as the story went on I didn’t want to see them anymore. I just wish they weren’t as hard on her for feeling the way she did about another friend. What did they expect her to do? Play along even though she didn’t feel the same way? Oh well.
Aside from great characters, this book has a pretty great world. I really liked the world building because it was nice and steady and I could easily visualize everything. How cool is it that you can attend an University filled with students who all have special gifts? Where can I sign up? Plus the whole plot was just really interesting. It flowed nicely and holds your attention. I found the history of the villain, Madrina and her Cliders to be so interesting! I think reading about what happened with Madrina and Sidra was one of my favorite chapters.
Overall, I really enjoyed the pacing, the writing, and the backstory that didn’t feel like a bunch of info-dumping for once. I devoured this book in two sittings and look forward to the next coming books in this series.
Definitely check it out if you get a change. ❤
Until next time,