4 out of 4 stars
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Looking for Dei by David A. Willson is an exciting fantasy novel with strong characters and a well-built fantasy world.
Nara lives in a poor fishing village called Dimmitt. She and her friend Mykel are looking forward to the upcoming announcements. During the announcements, the village’s youths will be cut by a priest of Dei with a ceremonial dagger called a ceppit, that is imbued by magic. The ceppit is supposed to reveal a person’s gift. No one in Dimmitt has been revealed to have a magical gift in decades.
Nara has long had powers that her guardian Bylo urged her to keep secret. Before the announcements, she realizes the ceppit is not imbued with power. No one in Dimmitt can be revealed to have a gift, because the power of the ceppit is needed. A harvester is needed to imbue the ceppit, but Dimmitt is too poor. They could never raise the money. The priest has been lying and deceiving the village for years.
Usually gifts do not appear without the ceppit, but Nara is different. She sneaks into the place where the priest keeps the ceppit and imbues it the night before the announcements. The next day does not go as planned, however. Nara is not revealed to have powers. She is relieved, because Bylo wanted to keep her abilities a secret. But when Mykel is cut with the ceppit, it is revealed he is cursed. He starts to die, and Nara rushes to his side, using her powers and a prayer to Dei to save his life. Bylo takes them and runs. They have to flee. People will be interested in Nara’s powers for nefarious reasons, and as a cursed, Mykel will be executed.
This book had wonderful worldbuilding. That’s a very important thing in fantasy. The fantasy world has to be real and fleshed out, and the magical system has to follow a set of consistent rules. It was one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time.
The novel had good characterization. Even minor characters were fully fleshed out and realized. The characters were people the reader can really care about. The book also did well in regards to female characters. There was good representation, and a lot of strong, powerful female characters.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is the best book I’ve discovered through OBC thus far. Any reader who has enjoyed young adult fiction such as The Hunger Games or the Divergent books will enjoy Looking for Dei.
Looking for Dei
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