Monday, November 14, 2011

YA book review: Reborn by Ley Mesina

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 169 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services

Blurb: Lily Westbrook discovers that being half witch and half vampire is more of a challenge than she thought. When her powers mature on her eighteenth birthday, she unlocks a mystery that many witches thought was a legend.

After moving back to her birthplace in Cedar Creek, MA to attend Kensington University, Lily is instantly pulled deeper into the world she was kept from- the world of witches and vampires-uncovering the truth about her past and discovering who she is meant to be.

My review: Reborn is a promising debut novella by Ley Messina. I liked the premise of witches and vampires at war with each other and the one family that can stop it. Lilith, 'Lily', Westbrook, 18, is about to enter Kensington University (built by her father), located in Cedar Creek, Massachusetts. Leaving her beloved Aunt Trudy behind in San Francisco, she boards a plane to her new destination. Having just celebrated her eighteenth birthday, her powers from being half witch/half vampire are manifesting. Lily and her aunt both believe her parents, Nathaniel and Claire, are dead, but as the story progresses, we learn this is not true. Sometimes we are asked to do things we don't want to because someone we love has been threatened. This is the case of Lily's parents.

Lily finds assistance in the form of two vampires, Drew and Xander Von Draco, son and nephew of her family friend, elder vampire Arthur in Cedar Creek. As her powers grow stronger, Lily learns she is the Goddess of the Night (the super powerful Nyx) and the only one capable of ending Samuel's evil plan to eradicate all vampires from the earth. As the leader of the Witches Council, Samuel has free rein to create a special force of witches which are then turned into vampires. Possessing the abilities of both supernatural beings, they become uniquely powerful if they can remain in control of themselves. Within days of arriving, Lily is already forced to reveal her secretive heritage and display some of her powers. There is even a hint of a possible future romance with Xander. As diabolical plots are revealed and their lives threatened, Lily joins together with new allies Xander, Drew, and their witch friend, Roxy, to search for her parents.

I thought Reborn would have been better if it was novel length--that way the author could have expanded upon certain premises and concepts to fully flesh out this intriguing supernatural world. Some of the paranormal aspects of the story needed explanation and a bit more 'showing' rather than 'telling.' I liked the idea of Lily, not really able to fully practice her craft growing up for fear of detection, being placed in an environment where she can freely learn. The addition of letters and journals gave the story a nice historical backstory, but at times I had to go back to connect the names with facts and information. The switch of point of view from the cast of characters--from individual chapters and then from within chapters themselves--gave me a sense of disconnect from the story. I did not truly connect with any of them, especially 'Lily' who is the heroine, and I wanted to since I especially liked Lily, Xander and Nathaniel. 

Peppered throughout the edition I received were typos, grammatical errors, the changing of past to present tense and abrupt scene changes that needed transitioning, which honestly did frustrate me enough to mention, but with respect to the author, I liked the story enough to continue reading. Mesina's writing did hold my interest and with some more editing, Reborn, the first book in a series shows promise for a strong and entertaining addition to the YA paranormal market.

Rating: I liked the story.

Favorite excerpt: ""Well, you've uncovered some of my history; I think it's only fair that you share a little about yours."

She was quiet for a moment. She looked at the trees that surrounded them, listening to the birds chirping in the distance.

"I don't really know much about my family history. My parents passed away when I was just a baby, so it's just been me and my aunt my whole life." She spoke sadly, careful not to mention Arthur.

"I'm sorry to hear that," he said, almost feeling bad for bringing up the subject, but he continued. "So you were born in San Francisco?"

"Yes," she lied.

He put his hands on both of her shoulders so that she was completely facing him.

"Tell me the truth." He stared into her eyes, trying to compel her.

"What are you talking about?" She jerked away from his hold startling him.

"I'm sorry, I -- it just seemed like you weren't being honest with me," he said quickly confused over why his compulsion failed.

Lily felt uncomfortable. "I've got to go." She grabbed her things and hurried back into the building before he could say another word."

Cover comment: This is an okay cover.

Book source: From the author for my honest review.

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