3 out of 4 stars
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Sometimes even a proverb like ‘the shoe wearer knows best where the shoe pinches,’ does not pack enough punch to explain a situation. Take grieving for example. What is the acceptable period of time for someone to wallow in misery? Herein lies the backdrop against which Michelle Reynoso weaves her captivating plot in EN. Let’s just say Faith McDaniels still wants to continue being angry at no one and everyone, for the loss of her mum, who also was her sole parent. Her brother, however, wants her to snap out of it already. After all, the late was his mother too, wasn’t she?
EN, short for energy (a realm our heroine will learn to operate in), is a compelling coming-of-age fantasy thriller. Seventeen-year-old Faith is forced to relocate and live with her brother, upon the demise of her mother. In her new school, she becomes a target for pranksters and bullies. At home, her brother is at a loss on how to handle her. Oh heck, she is at a loss on how to handle herself! Imagine her disbelief when she discovers there exists a parallel world – Enlitra, and she is the last hope for saving both this Enlitra and the planet earth, from imminent doom. Will she stop moping and up her game? Can she face-off with the terrifying evil power that will stop at nothing to ‘possess’ her? What happens when her brother and friends get caught up in this epic war?
EN captured my total attention, from the moment I opened the first page. I finished it in one seating because there was always one thing leading to another, and to yet another! The book was fun and unpredictable with a few twists thrown in, for good measure. There were times I wanted to hug Faith and let her cry on my shoulders, yet at other times I got a tad impatient with her! All in all, she was a wonderful teenage-heroine!
I must admit that Reynoso knows how to spin her yarn. She will fizzle out your built-up anxiety, only to strike when you least expect – though not in a spookily chilling manner! The plot is narrated in the first person, using Faith’s point of view. This acquaints the reader with Faith’s inner struggles and worldview. She is witty and spunky. see how she described her brother after he thought he caught her doing something wrong:
I enjoyed the quick plot development. In addition to the mourning-period theme, the author provoked my thoughts on cultural ironies. She kept talking of someone ‘shaking his/her head, yes.’ Where I come from, shaking one’s head is an automatic no. However, there are cultures where it is a resounding yes! Ironically, Reynoso doesn’t seem to come from any such cultural backgrounds. Maybe her reasoning could be that a nod still is a shaking of the head, albeit, in a different direction. She is not wrong, really!He’s got that look in his eyes, probably the same look given to accused witches at the Salem Witch Trials
That being said, I encountered a few things that were not adequately knit into the story, and they left me with a ‘what-was-that-about?’ feeling. An example is a particular yellow powder at some point. Furthermore, there was very little character development. I know in many school-based stories, all kids usually collectively lumped together, with only the bully and probably the prankster, standing out. The problem with EN is that there is no depth to all the characters. Even Faith’s background isn’t fully revealed by the time the book ends. Finally, there also were many minor grammatical errors, which, fortunately, didn’t interfere with the flow of the story. These issues make me give the EN a 3 out of 4 stars rating. Another round of editing could make it perfect.
I believe young adults and older teens will love the high school antics, jerk-of-a –boyfriend misery, and the first-kiss thrills. I recommend this book to them, and everyone else interested in a fast-paced, casual, and paranormal read. I know I did, and will look out for the sequel!
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