I love reading more than just about anything else and can't wait to share my views with you.
This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Maryah Woodsen is just an ordinary girl. Her family actually comments on her commonness, in the most affectionate manner possible, of course. Then her parents and twin brother are brutally murdered and she is shipped off to live with her godmother Louise Luna. A woman she has never met, but who welcomes her in to her family's home as if she has always been a part of her life. The Luna clan are a odd group of individuals. The oddest being Nathan, one of Louise's sons. What Maryah doesn't know (yet) is that these people are reincarnated souls and Nathan is actually her soulmate. The Luna family is determined to make Maryah realize that she is part of their clan and they are desperate to spark her memories. Can they bring Maryah up to speed, or is Nathaniel doomed to live his lives without his soulmate?
I could immediately relate to Maryah. She's the normal twin. Her brother is perfect, great at everything. Sports, school, people skills, the whole thing. Maryah, on the other hand, is ordinary looking with no remarkable skills or abilities beyond a talent for remembering useless things. When her family is killed and she is injured, so prays for a swift death so she may join her family. Wish denied, and she is shipped to live with the strange family who she just doesn't understand. They all act as if they know her, but she knows none of them. Carson is surly at best and Nathan is so hot and cold with her that she doesn't know what to make and then he does something idiotic, seriously endangering her life, she turns from attracted to him to hating him. But even as she hates him, she can't get him out of her head. She constantly has strange dreams about him. And here, we get an actual reason for that. There is no mysterious attraction that has no reason. We see Nathan's perspective and we know they are soulmates, making it understandable that she would be attracted to him, even against her better judgement.
Nathaniel was a character that rode the fence for me at first. He seemed sweet enough and he obviously loves her, going to great lengths to save her life and make her comfortable at the Luna house, but the balloon ride thing? When she is complaining about missing her family and confesses that sometimes she wishes to die so she could be with them, her plight is understandable. And his anger about her not caring about his families love for him must have been devastating, but the poor girl barely knows them! How can he expect her to accept their love in lieu of her real family when she doesn't know the truth? That bit angered me a great deal, but beyond that, he is a great male lead. He has that whole bad boy look with a sweetheart inside. And his love for her does win me over in the end.
The rest of the cast were a bit much to take in. There are so many people in this extended family that I had a hard time keeping them straight. The ones that appear a lot are easy, like Faith and Harmony and Louise and Carson, but Dylan and Amber we more elusive for me. Every time they were mentioned, I had to rack my brain to remember who they where. It's not a bad thing, just a bit overwhelming. The whole reincarnation concept was a bit much to take in and not explained enough to completely satisfy me. BUT, compared to some of the things I've read lately (::coughs::The Brokenhearted::coughs::), it has much more explanation that I could have been given. Plus it's understandable that they wouldn't want to crowd Maryah's brain with too much information too fast. They only concept I had a hard time grasping was how you choose who you are going to be and the relations. Louise is Nathan's mom in this generation, but she was a sister in a previous life. That's fine. I get that the same family ties won't follow into new lives, but for her to be his mother, she has to be a great deal older and I guess I just don't completely understand the logistics.
Beyond those issues, this was an enchanting read. I once again want to say that I loved how we got to see the reason Maryah was drawn to Nathaniel. It could have easily fell into that instant attraction for no reason if it had been entirely told from Maryah's perspective and I love that it wasn't. It also could have fallen into that horrible love triangle area. It does have a minor one, between Maryah, River, and Nathan, but we can all plainly see that Maryah is never going to have romantic feelings for River, no matter how much he wants her too. I loved Maryah's reaction to all the crazy as just that, crazy. She is scared to tell anyone about her dreams or her "visions" of Nathan from her near death because she knows they'll think she is insane...and normal people would.
I must apologize for taking so long to read it. It has been sitting on my digital shelf for far longer than I'd care to admit. I requested and downloaded it forever ago because it sounded interesting and I really liked the cover but other things just got in the way. I promise not to wait nearly as long to start the next one. The cover, by the way, is perfect. The peacock feathers have such meaning in the novel. It's one of those covers you appreciate so much more once you've finished the novel, which is amazing because most covers are the opposite.
So what what do you really need to know? This little novel packs a big punch, with a relatively unique concept and enough creativity to keep you guessing. It has a lot of heart (and heart-ache) and that must keep reading quality that won't allow you to concentrate on any other book until you finish it. I was supposed to spend the weekend reading Kelsey Sutton's Where Silence Gathers, but I didn't get more than 10 pages into it before switching back to this. I really enjoyed it and if the other two books keep going in this direction, I'm sure to love them as well. :)
****Thank you to Starry Sky Publishing & All Night Reads for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****