3 out of 4 stars
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It appears that young Anna Bellanger from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, had never heard of the quote above! Most probably Caesar hadn’t yet made the quote! Therefore, running she did – just after marrying a fellow Chippewa. Chippewas are the indigenous natives on both the Canadian and U.S. sides of Sault Ste. Marie both commonly referred to as the Soo. Anna and her husband settled in St. Joseph, in the Lower Peninsula area of Michigan. Here Anna birthed and raised two children, forbidding them to talk about Chippewas or Canada, and teaching them to lie that their family originated from Oklahoma. The word 'glad' could not begin to describe her joy at having escaped that ‘demon,’ the likes of which would have plagued her own daughters – or lineage - had she not run. But alas, Anna’s ‘happily-ever-after’ shattered with the back-to-back deaths of her husband and son. The shattered pieces were further crushed when her daughter-in-law, Lisa, remarried and guess where she moved with her two children to join her new husband - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan of course! This town is joined to the much larger Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, by a bridge. I guess it’s no use speculating whether, at this time, Anna was acquainted with the requiem of the moon poetry quote:You can never outrun your past. Learn to embrace it like an old friend.
Samuel Christ Caesar
All I can say is, not only was Anna done with running, but she was also ready to return and face the demon!Sometime you can’t outrun your demons, so you might as well turn around and give them hell.
Chasing The Red Queen is a young adult, sci-fi/fantasy novel by Karen Glista, which brings to life legend and contemporary, crime and mysticism. All these are packaged in a fast-paced, enchanting journey that leaves the reader truly mesmerized. Can you imagine watching spirits have a wrestling match? Anyway, before I get ahead of myself, allow me to give you a snapshot of the story! Lisa’s daughter Donja is yet to recover from her dad’s death six years ago. She hides her grief in rock music and goth (dressing in black makeup and outfits). She detests her mum’s remarriage, her cheating ex-boyfriend, the family move to a new town, and her glamorous new step-sister, Makayla. Nevertheless, seeing how much her little brother and her mum adore her new step-father, she tries to hold her peace. On the other hand, Makayla also has her reservations about Donja. Circumstances, however, force these two girls to spend a little time together and bam! They discover they are actually kindred spirits! Soon they are joined at the hip – chilling, shopping and partying together. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose. He seems to target young, beautiful women of Chippewa origin. Will the two girls, with their love of the Ontario Soo nightlife be his next victims?
Did I mention the mythical creatures called radiant iridescents, that also inhabit the area? I can only describe them as modern-day vampires, not harmed by the sun! They are very careful to keep their existence below the human radar. Could this serial killer be an iridescent? Unknown to Donja and her family, her Durent clan Chippewa blood is very significant to iridescents. It's also a siren to them. Torin Mancini whose job description is killing anyone that does anything that could potentially expose the iridescents reacts powerfully to this siren call. Within no time he and Donja are trying and miserably failing to quench the strong feelings they have for each other! Unfortunately, Donja’s 'sirenic' blood has also attracted another more powerful dark force that will stop at nothing to have her. This tosses Donja into a world of legends, abductions, love, war, and imminent annihilation. Can Torin overcome his own desire for Donja's blood to save her? And how does her grandma Anna fit in the grand picture?
Glista fashioned her main protagonist, Donja, out of a miserable seventeen-year-old girl, adorning a ‘tough’ exterior while having a warm heart underneath. It took Donja all her strength to hurt her mother in a very rude manner, so as to protect her from the dire iridescent-exposure consequences. The book reminded me so much of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series, right from the unlikely couple, through the villain after Donja, to the epic battles. However, the plot had its own unique twists and turns. The book is divided into 38 chapters, differentiated by headings that give an idea of what the chapter is about. That the author is from Michigan pours from her vivid descriptions that brim with enchantment and beauty. I could literally visualize the scenic-wonder of bridges, rivers, harbors, and towns! The themes prevalent in the book are love, good morals, and looking out for one’s loved ones. There is a subtle discouragement from being judgmental about other people’s lifestyles. Indeed, in real life, there is always a story behind everyone’s ‘quirky’ lifestyle. From the ‘bad-girl vibes' image, Donja develops into a responsible young woman who cares deeply about her family’s well-being. Unfortunately, a number of other characters e.g. Anna’s daughter didn’t have much depth.
Narrating in the third person using points of view of various characters, Glista weaves a delightful read that keeps the reader in the loop of what is behind the actions of different characters. The author writes in a conversational, easy to follow style. This kept me engaged through the exciting romances, the actualization of legends, and the action-packed wars. I enjoyed watching Donja’s family members use everything at their disposal to fight back and defend themselves. Yes, there was a lot going on, but the storyline was not lost. In fact, the many sub-plots somehow complemented the central plot.
Besides the lack of depth of some characters, there were a few other things I did not like about the book. First, Glista would sometimes go into long descriptions of situations/events and still leave some threads un-tucked. This left me with a few unanswered questions. Secondly, a few phrases like ‘time was a blur’ were repeatedly used throughout the book. Thirdly, though the book appears to have been professionally edited, there were a few minor missed words and punctuation errors. Fourth, chapters were unnumbered. This made it difficult to track progress. Finally, the table of contents did not differentiate the book’s preliminary pages using Roman numerals, causing confusion in the page numbering. For example, the table starts with the prologue on page 5 and then moves to the first chapter on page 1. At the end of the table, the author’s appreciation is also assigned page number1.
On their own, each of the above issues is of minimal effect on the overall plot. I believe for example that some people love lengthy descriptions to get a clear 3D visual effect! Cumulatively, however, even though these issues in no way interfere with the flow of the story, I think it would not be right to give the book a perfect score. I, therefore, painfully rate Chasing The Red Queen 3 out of 4 stars.
Because the one sex scene was not explicit, I would recommend this book to high school kids, young adults and anyone who loves irresistibly handsome immortal men! In short, all lovers of sci-fi/fantasy stories — specifically vampire stories, werewolf stories, and all other mystical creatures' stories for that matter — will definitely enjoy this book, especially if they live in Michigan!
Chasing The Red Queen
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