I think by now we have all realised that I have a thing for young adult fantasy books. Writing in that genre I need to keep an eye on what is current and trending. As well as the fact a lot of these books are fantastic, better then adult fantasy which tends to start replacing plot with sexual content. Which unless you are Anne Rice or Christine Freehan isn't always going to work! Rushing through the local library printing out some acting CV’s for my trip to London last week. I paused along the young adult section looking for something new. After picking up a few books, I noticed the bright red and white contrast of this book cover. It looked interesting, so I skimmed that back and took it with me.
Reading it on the train, I found myself in a rich landscape with very real feeling characters you can quickly become caught up with. Sure enough it isn't the first book in the series, just a spin off but that wasn't enough to detract from the main storylines. If you want the first book, then you want to get your hands on Finding Sky.
The world revolves around a group of people called savants, who have special powers. Sort of like witches but with only one skill. Like Angel can control water, or other people can read others. They can all talk telepathically, which they keep to a minimum because there are people who hunt their kind trying to make them expose their powers. Savants have a soul mate, a perfect match which they are searching for. When complete the couple will be stronger then ever.
If they become complete. It isn't for sure. Just because they are soul mates, things do not always work out. Angel is 17, young, impulsive. She hates hiding her skill, even around her friends. She goes to college, works in a band where the lead singer (Jay) hits on her. When she refuses his advances he kicks her out of the band. Before they are due to play a huge festival gig which would have made them all. Even though Angel's violin solos are a huge part of their act.
That all changes when she is asked to go locate her friend (Will's) soul mate. The savants have been tracking her for some time, but she moves around too much. Eventually they realise she moves around tour dates of a certain band. Which means they need someone on the inside looking to work out who she is. Which means Angel needs back in the band.
She manages it, with some cost to herself. At the festival Jay doesn't treat her fairly, just as a session singer. Ooops that means Angel needs to step up her game. And oh, finding herself befriending someone from one of the coolest most happening bands just manages it for her. A band that she is invited to play with. The only problem is Angel finds herself drawn to a young man herself.
Marcus, the lead singer of Gifted which is the warm up band for the act she is stalking looking for Will's soul mate. Marcus who hates her. Marcus who writes a harsh song about her. Marcus who assumes she is just some fan girl trying to use him to find a way into music. Even when she reveals her savant skills, he still hates her. Thinks she spiked his drink, and he is high.
That is until Angel gets kidnapped by the kind of people who would very happily murder savants to get what they want. Then he has to decide, stay in denial and allow her to die or accept himself and save the life of the girl whom he hates and loves in equal measures?
This is a fantastic book, suitable for all ages. Not just the teenagers it is pitched to. Exploring problems with fame and growing up that young people need to think about. Not just the romantic ideals of fame and fortune. I love that it admits that love isn't easy, you need to work for it. Instead of the normal chick flick idea of a happy ever after.
I look forward to reading more of Joss's work.
Sarah Beth James