4 out of 4 stars
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Sophia Violet and the Fiery Orb by Evangeline Greene is a fantastic coming-of-age story filled with action, adventure, intrigue, and epic world-building. Sophia Violet always felt different. She has an invisible friend that can transform into animals, mysterious wolves stand vigil at her window, and her eyes are a shocking shade of violet. When Sophia enrolls at a new school, she hopes that she will fit in for once.
At school, Sophia discovers amazing and unbelievable things about herself. She accidentally learns that she can transform into animals, much like her invisible friend Luna. She also discovers that she is not entirely human. She is from Chiralis, a planet that gains energy from ultraviolet light. Additionally, and much to her delight, Sophia is befriended by a few girls who share her Chiralian heritage.
After a successful school year, Sophia goes with her peers to a camp that, unbeknownst to her parents, is for Chiralian students. Sophia grows closer to Darva, Brill, and Luna, and they help Sophia learn more about her alien roots and her newfound abilities. Sophia also learns that the planet’s energy is waning, and their only hope of survival is finding a missing orb. Sophia and her friends work to find the orb in the hopes that it will restore the ever-fading power of the Chiralians. However, others with sinister motives also search for the orb.
Sophia’s unusual violet eyes, as well as her bee pendant, hold the clues to the missing orb. Can Sophia and her friends find it before time runs out or before it falls into the wrong hands?
Sophia Violet is a fantastic protagonist. Adopted at birth, she is now fourteen. A loving daughter and a kind friend, Sophia is a clever and amiable young woman, and she matures as she learns more about herself and her past. Smart, strong, and complex, she is a dynamically developed and admirable character. Furthermore, other characters in the novel are equally well-developed. I like Lindon Doubletree, the bumbling and loveable Chiralian that helps Sophia on her quest. Her human parents are funny, loving, and a bit clueless. Cru, one of Sophia’s peers, is sullen and secretive but still thoughtful and caring, and his grandmother is desperately wicked and threatening. Minor and major characters remain unique and defined throughout the novel.
My favorite part of the book is the friendship between Sophia, Luna, Darva, and Brill. They are a smart and fierce team, and their relationship exemplifies the awesome capabilities of young women. Brill is loyal, Darva is brave, Luna is mysterious and spunky, and Sophia is determined. Their relationship grows as the story progresses, and each teen becomes more self-aware and self-assured.
The world-building in this story is also worth mentioning. When Sophia goes camping with her school, she learns to use her powers. Soon she and her friends transfigure into an array of animals, from mice to lions. Some characters have special powers that enable them to stop time or see things that others can’t. Many characters practice transmigrating to various locations around the globe. All of this contributes to the amazingly creative setting. Furthermore, part of the story takes place on Chiralis, Sophia’s home planet, which is vividly described and unique. The author’s skill in creating such a detailed and immersive world is masterful.
Additionally, the themes of the story offer powerful and thought-provoking messages about prejudice, friendship, the toxicity of secrets and deception, and finding oneself. Early in the story, Sophia reflects on her fears of school shootings. She also notices how desensitized society is to mass shootings. Later in the story, the importance of self-worth is explored. “But no one, no matter how much they try, can be something they’re not. Being true to yourself is one of the most important lessons to learn in life.” These messages are relevant and include topics that teenagers and adults can relate to.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is a fantastic novel with great pacing and empowering messages. It is also impeccably edited and doesn’t include profanity. Readers in middle school or older who enjoy science fiction and strong female protagonists will love this story.
Sophia Violet and the Fiery Orb
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