Title: Vortex, Return of The Effra 1
Author: Lindsey J Parsons
Publisher: AFS Publishing
Genre: Contemporary fantasy/ romance
I really enjoyed this book. It’s got a lot to recommend it, particularly an unusual story and great characters.
Description: Sam isn’t enjoying university life, she’s disillusioned with her course and having second thoughts about her future. It doesn’t help that she keeps having a scary, recurring nightmare and when she thinks things couldn’t get worse a creepy man follows her back to her room. Damian is unique, he has silver eyes, horns and wings, he is also being visited by a ghost girl. She looks so sad and frightened he feels compelled to help her, but the night he reaches out to save her from a dragon’s fiery breath he gets ripped from his life, his world, from everything he knows. Now it’s Damian who’s lost in an unfamiliar world that’s devoid of magic and full of strange monsters. His only connection with home is Sam who he recognises as the ghost girl. Sam has to put aside her fear and disbelief in Damian’s explanations about himself to try and help him find his way home. But in a world without magic is this possible?
I love stories that cross from our reality to another. It’s a mark of a contemporary fantasy rather than a traditional one and, like this one, such books often include aspects of both urban and traditional fantasy. In our world, science takes the place of magic. In Damian’s world, elves, gnomes and dragons exist. What happens when someone takes guns from our world into a world that knows only arrows and swords? That’s where this story takes us. How would the people defend themselves?
While Damian is fighting to get home and warn his friends and family, Sam and he are struggling with their feelings for each other. It’s all new to Damian, who isn’t even supposed to be capable of love, and Sam often finds his reactions more than a little confusing.
The plot is well-structured, the pacing excellent, the characters well-drawn and interesting, particularly Damian and Apple. There’s no overwriting, and point of view changes from Sam to Damian are clear. Damian’s world is well thought out and the copy appears clean.
The end ties everything up, then sets us up for a sequel.
The only problem, and the reason I haven’t recommended it for listing on this site, is a lack in the quality of the prose. Though most of it was fine and some of it very good, (I suspect this is why the poorer parts stood out so much) there is a tendency to tell rather than show – specifically, an over use of variations of the verb ‘to be’ and some weak descriptions. There is also a spelling problem, ‘alright’ should be ‘all right’. These issues are probably not relevant to the general reader, but they wouldn’t pass an editor in a traditional publishing house so, in its present state, I can’t give the book the Awesome Indies Approval.
Even so, it’s a very enjoyable read.