Monday, May 14, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: ALL THAT WE SEE OR SEEM, by Kristina Mahr

You know what's the mark of a really well-written story? When the main character makes a choice and you cringe, because you've come to be so invested in her story, you know she's going to get hurt, it's the wrong choice, and you just want to reach through the pages and grab her shoulders and shake her until her eyes rattle and she changes her mind.

Yeah, Reeve, the main character in this book got that reaction from me.

And did you hear me last night when I got to the last page and I didn't want it to end? (Attention, Kristina Mahr, there better be another book following up on this one, and right quick! You cannot leave Reeve and Bran where you left them -- at least, not permanently. Please?) Okay, I didn't shout, I didn't scream, because it was after 11 at night and the rest of the household was sleeping, but there was some mental agony involved. Close to the destruction of Alderaan.

There were a number of cringe-worthy moments in the story. No, Reeve, don't!
And when I ached for her.
And I held my breath, hoping the short moment of sweetness and hope would last.

Okay, what's so special about this book? I really don't want to give it all away. But here are the basics:
Reeve is the niece of the king, lives in the palace, and very realistically, the luxuries she enjoys don't make up for her restricted, somewhat lonely life. And yeah, she's expected to make a marriage to benefit the throne. Her choices all have drawbacks. Some bigger than others. Some, she doesn't discover until it's too late, and turn near-deadly. The only real friends she has are her bodyguards and her ladies maid, and even they aren't close enough for her to tell her biggest, strangest, scariest secret.

Every night, for her entire life, Reeve goes to another land in her sleep. A horrible place, full of darkness and fear and pain and blood. She wakes under a gallows, and often there is a body hanging there. Sometimes she's lucky and it's a fresh body, other times she's not lucky, and these horrible, warped falcons have started to feed. The falcons are also the nighttime security forces in this awful land, where only those with a death wish go outside. Fortunately, Reeve seems to be entirely invisible in this land, so she's safe. But lonely. And unable to stop visiting this awful place in her dreams. Every night.

A few months before the story starts, she discovers a young man whose presence turns the nightmare into a dream, and gives her a sense of company, even though he can't see or hear her.

The story, of course, is what happens when Reeve becomes visible. To the young man and to the falcons and to the evil in that dream land.

READ this one.

Want to learn more about the author and the book and the publisher? Come back on Thursday. Or just go to Uncommon Universes Press, the publisher. There's a big promotional blast going on right now, a blog tour, to celebrate the release of the book.

Note: the publisher provided this book in exchange for a review.

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