Chimera by Vaun Murphrey,
Book 1 in The Weaver Series.
(Publisher: Artemis Femme, 2014)
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This YA sci-fi novel starts off slowly and requires persistent reading, but halfway through it really hits its stride and the pace picks up – after which it rollicks along.
Cassandra, the protagonist, is a thirteen year old who has witnessed the death of her parents and been incarcerated for eight years. Her jailers seldom speak with her and her treatment has, at times, been brutal. She discovers that she is a member of a group of humans known as Weavers. Weavers have expanded mental capabilities and can travel via an alternate plane to explore the universe. Cassandra is vastly more powerful than other Weavers and herein lies her problem: she will be hunted for her gifts.
My difficulty with the initial part of this book was that there was an enormous emotional distance between the reader and Cassandra. However, I began to wonder if this was a deliberate strategy on the part of the writer. Cassandra’s imprisonment has necessitated that she repress many of her emotions in order to survive, apart from the fact that there is no-one during this time for her to form any kind of attachment to. As the book progresses and Cassandra learns to show emotion and begin to form friendships, the reader is, similarly, more able to connect with the story. If this was strategy on the part of the author, then it was risky, because if I hadn’t been reviewing this, I may have actually stopped reading earlier on, though I’m glad I didn’t.
There is a really great, different, interesting and complex story here, the mechanics of which are well thought out. However much of the first part of the novel felt like it was setting up the story for the bigger picture/next books. The reader is given a huge amount of necessary background information in dialogue between characters, which barely avoided feeling like an info dump and slowed the pace.
The latter half does zip along really well and at this point I found myself not wanting to put the book down. When I finished it, I was disappointed and wanted more – I was glad to see that the first three chapters of the next book were there to read and they really romped along.
The verdict: 3.5 stars and yes I’d read the next ones in the series.