So technically, there were five worlds. But only three were really talked about in this book and that tagline sounds way better for the countdown. Sorry not sorry.
Hey, all, it’s Alexa, here to take part in a YA Reads blog tour for fantasy series, Otherselves by Nicole Luiken. Just so you know, the tour is actually for the third book, In Truth and Ashes, but I only just jumped in this fandom with book one, so that’s the review you get to read here. 🙂 If you too are new to the series, or you’re an old fan eager to discuss new opinions, then you’re in the right place. 😉
There is one True World, and then there are the four mirror worlds: fire, water, air, and stone. And each has a magic of its own…
In the Fire World, seventeen-year-old Leah is the illegitimate daughter of one of the realm’s most powerful lords. She’s hot-blooded—able to communicate with the tempestuous volcano gods. But she has another gift…the ability to Call her twin “Otherselves” on other worlds.
Holly resides in the Water World—our world. When she’s called by Leah from the Fire World, she nearly drowns. Suddenly the world Holly thought she knew is filled with secrets, magic…and deadly peril.
For a malevolent force seeks to destroy the mirror worlds. And as Leah and Holly are swept up in the tides of chaos and danger, they have only one choice to save the mirror worlds—to shatter every rule they’ve ever known…
As incredible as this story was, it wasn’t one of those that took me by the face and drowned me in a sea of epicness from page one. Instead, it was a slow drawing in, a careful engagement of my emotions as I grew to understand the characters and their situations. It subtly pulled me further and further into the story without me even realizing how deeply I was falling—until my reading timer beeped and I thought, “Negative. Everything else be tossed to the Volcano Lords, I am going to find out what happens next.”
And even for the slightly late post on my other blog, it was totally worth it. I went from interested to intrigued… to my soul being absolutely gripped by the tension of the climax. As always, I try not to give big spoilers in reviews, but I will say that I absolutely adored this ending because CHARACTER GROWTH and SHIPPING and EPICNESS and FEELINGS. I was very, very pleased with the finish, and I would definitely be interested in reading future books. Because I need to know what happens to my people. Also, if Ryan and Holly get married. More on that later.
Plot: 4 stars out of 5.
So if you’re one of those people who loves a deeply evil villain with no bad backstory to speak of (well, so far anyway) and has simply the motivation of POWER and MORE POWER, then you are, once again, in the right place. TFaS’s villain is terrifying, because she’s brilliant and she’s evil and she does not care, because POWER. She will get what she wants whatever the cost; nothing is safe, nothing is sacred, because she is the only thing that matters to her. She’s not necessarily a love-to-hate villain for me (TBH, I really just want her to die), but she is amazing as an antagonist, one of the most personally hateable I’ve read in months.
As far as the MCs, while there were some things about each that did bother me, overall, I really liked both of the girls and their love interests. Leah fell a little flat in the first half, but I still appreciated her methodical and logical outlook (YES FOR NOT LETTING EMOTIONS GET IN THE WAY OF WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE), I loved how she thought through her decisions carefully but dared to dare a little anyway and—in stark contrast to the villain—the fact that, even when she made horrible choices, she was always in it for the right reasons.
Holly had a tendency to not think before taking an action (not that she was dumb, she actually seemed pretty smart, but, especially in comparison to Leah, she was definitely more emotions-led); however, she was also funny, gutsy, and relatable. Plus, I loved her easy acceptance of the impossible. Like, she’d seen it, so she knew it to be true, and so she believed. It was that simple for her. She trusted the fantastical almost immediately, and I found that so cool, because it was so different, such a unique twist on paranormal characters, and it all just made her a little more lively and a little more fun.
Both of the love interests had a similar problem of fitting a tad too well into their character archetypes, but they were also super sweet, super good guys, the kind that any girl would long for in real life. Also, I was so emotionally involved in Ryan and Holly’s relationship. Like all-caps-every-other-page kind of involved. They’re really adorable, okay?
I’mma move on now.
Characters: 3 1/2 stars out of 5
The setting of this book really intrigued me, because I feel like there’s so much to it, far more than what was even touched on in this book. It just feels really deep, really intricate, and I’m excited to see where it’ll go in future books, particularly once we finally, eventually (we’d better) get to go to the True World.
As for the writing, some of it wasn’t as strong as I would’ve liked and there unfortunately weren’t many parts that struck me as absolutely amazing (though several of the exciting moments were heart-poundingly written), however, there also weren’t any parts that were downright bad. So overall, it did balance itself out. 🙂
Writing Style/Setting: 4 stars out of 5.
And so we come in at just under 4 stars out of 5. Through Fire and Sea was a captivating series start, and I definitely look forward to reading the rest of it. 🙂 If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can find it on Goodreads, Kobo, Amazon (Canada and UK links), Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and its Entangled Teen Page. Better yet, it is on sale for 99 cents for the rest of the month, so now would definitely be the time to pick up your copy. 🙂
So have you read any of the books in this series? What are some you’ve read that were a bit slower-paced, but still pretty awesome? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!
Other Books in the Series:
Amid Wind & Stone (Otherselves, #2)
Release Date: Mar. 7, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
There is one True World, and then there are the four Mirror Worlds: Fire, Water, Air, and Stone.
Audrey and Dorotea are “otherselves”—twin copies of each other who live on different Mirror Worlds.
On Air, Audrey has the ability to communicate with wind spirits. As war looms, she’s torn between loyalty to her country and her feelings for a roguish phantom who may be a dangerous spy.
Blackouts and earthquakes threaten the few remaining humans on Stone, who have been forced to live underground. To save her injured sister, Dorotea breaks taboo and releases an imprisoned gargoyle. Brooding, sensitive Jasper makes her wonder if gargoyles are truly traitors, as she’s always been told.
Unbeknownst to them, they both face the same enemy—an evil sorceress bent on shattering all the Mirror Worlds.
In Truth & Ashes (Otherselves, #3) by Nicole Luiken
Release Date: January 2nd, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
What she can’t remember could ruin her life.
The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…
On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble.
But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.
But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.
About the Author
Nicole Luiken wrote her first book at age 13 and never stopped.
She is the author of nine published books for young adults, including Violet Eyes and its sequels Silver Eyes and Angels Eyes, Frost, Unlocking the Doors, The Catalyst, Escape to the Overworld, Dreamfire and the sequel Dreamline. Through Fire & Sea, book one of Otherselves, and Amid Wind & Stone, book two of Otherselves, are her most recent releases. She also has an adult thriller, Running on Instinct, under the name N.M. Luiken and a fantasy romance series, Gate to Kandrith and Soul of Kandrith.
Nicole lives with her family in Edmonton, AB. It is physically impossible for her to go more than three days in a row without writing.
Note: I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book.
Content: some cursing and a fair amount of violence.