I was in Utah a few weeks ago and learned a lot. Also met a lot of cool people. A new habit I wanted to form was doing regular book reviews. A cool person I met was Candace J. Thomas, author of Vivatera. And that’s how we reached this review.
I was standing in line for coffee talking with Candace who I met maybe five minutes earlier. I asked about her book.
Basically what I got out of it was magic was a virus, a curse, and your ghost sticks around after you die because it stains your soul. There was more, but that was basically all I needed. After that I bought both her books, Vivatera and Conjectrix. It is a series, with the third book on the way. The review for Conjectrix will come later.
I went to my hotel early, due to a late night, early flight, lots of flying, and a very busy day filled with information and networking. By nine I was in bed with Vivatera. By midnight I turned out my light. Bad Paul.
I devoured the book as it kept me in the pages.
The primary reason I stuck around in the beginning was due to strong syntax and diction. The book was descriptive and a fluid read through quality of craft instead of simplicity of language.
The pacing was unique to most modern fantasy. It was a little more drawn out, though not quite Tolkien level of drawn out. Strong structure, the mysterious hooks for the plot, and interesting characters led to the pacing being enjoyable, where usually I greatly dislike slow pacing.
Our protagonist, Naomi, has a fascinating mystery behind her as she’s wanted by a prince, captured by a boy, and has magical powers that are sought after.
She is an excellent vessel for the reader as we have no clue what’s going on in the world, and up until page three or so, she was just an honest working girl trying to help her adopted family get by. As the story progresses, she learns more and more of the greater world, along with watching her become more powerful in her own right, as she fights with an internal demon.
My only two complaints consist of sometimes the PoV switches weren’t smooth and the ending had a bit of a deus ex moment, just enough that you noticed the fingers of gods playing in mortal lives.
I got past both of these based on the quality of craft and the compelling story.
I give it a 8/10.
Ultimately, buy Vivatera for the strong writing, good characters, and compelling plot, along with a fresh re-imagining of magic in a fantasy world. Along with that, I can assure you Candace is pretty awesome. So buy her books.
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