This story chronicles the struggles of Damon, a “powered” teenager who lives in a special enclave that protects those of his ilk and their families from contact with the “ords.” It immediately becomes obvious that these kids need protection from each other as well.
In this vaguely dystopian setting, it seems that the Powers that Be are leaving the youngsters to their own devices in order to discover how useful they might be; we’re not sure for what, but it probably isn’t good.
As Damon goes through his struggles to find a place for himself, he is confronted by the usual problems that arise at every high school: power cliques, bullying, broken friendships, and conflict with the authorities. It is a multi-layered conflict, and Damon seems to be on the losing end of every struggle.
This losing is a bit overdone, perhaps. Too much downright unpleasantness tends to distance us from the story. For example, the characters are perhaps too realistic. I know teenagers, especially a group of misfits like this story portrays, are likely to be chippy and hard to get along with, but as a writer, you have to strike a balance. You need enough reasonable characters in the story to keep the reader sympathetic. In this bunch, there are too so many touchy twits that I get tired of hanging around with them.
I know it is part of the conflict and part of the main character’s personal development to learn to deal with it, but so much of the dialogue is mildly distasteful that I don’t enjoy reading as much as I should.
However, the action is good, the complicated magical landscape is well controlled, and the main character attains just enough success to keep us optimistic.
This is the first installment of a serialized novel. As such, there is no real ending, just a hiatus in the action, which we hope will be continued in the next book.
Recommended for YA readers and fans of Fantasy, Near-Future and Dystopian genres.(4 / 5)