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Bones of Faerie

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Overview

The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so 15-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza’s world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Then Liza discovers she has the Faerie ability to see—into the past, into the future—and she has no choice but to flee her town. Liza’s quest will take her into ...
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Bones of Faerie

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Overview

The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so 15-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza’s world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Then Liza discovers she has the Faerie ability to see—into the past, into the future—and she has no choice but to flee her town. Liza’s quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.

Janni Lee Simner’s first novel for young adults is a dark fairy-tale twist on apocalyptic fiction—as familiar as a nightmare, yet altogether unique.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

It has been 20 years since the war between faeries and humans destroyed everything. Liza, a teenager living in what was once the Midwest, has always been taught that magic kills. When Liza's mother gives birth to a faerie baby with "hair clear as glass," her father abandons the infant on a hillside to die; Liza's mother then runs away, and Liza begins to have magical visions of her own. Petrified that her powers might cause death, Liza flees into the woods with her friend Matthew, only to be attacked by deadly trees and rescued by a woman with magic. The plot quickens as Liza realizes that the woman is connected to her mother's past, knowledge that propels Liza into a dangerous journey into the land of Faerie, in search of her mother. Debut novelist Simner's style is poetic ("A land of steel and glass, of towers and sharp angles. A sky the color of dried blood"), but she only vaguely describes Liza's world. It's hard to understand how, for example, a faerie differs from humans with magical powers, or what triggered the cataclysmic faerie war. Despite the murkiness, the plotting is strong, and readers will want to stay with Liza until her questions are resolved. Ages 12-16. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - David Goodale
Fifteen-year-old Liza lives in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a war between humanity and Faerie. In Liza's town, magic is forbidden, and when Liza realizes that she has the gift of faerie sight, she flees. Liza takes on the quest of searching for her mother as she navigates her way through a devastated landscape still tinged with hostile magic. Her companion for the journey is Matthew, a quiet teen from her village who also has magic within him. Liza's other companion for much of the journey is a mysterious shadow that follows her everywhere. As the story progresses, Liza and Matthew are brought to a different town that encourages magic as long as it is controlled. Liza's journey ultimately takes her into Faerie where she must rescue her mother and lead her back to the human world. Simner creates a fresh, compelling novel in a highly saturated fantasy market. The beginning resonates with tension and pulls the reader into a finely written, multilayered story. Liza, a level-headed, believable protagonist, comes of age as the novel progresses, and female teens will feel a kinship with her. There are several lulls in the narrative, but these are overshadowed by solid characters and Simner's knack for linking the story's many elements into a cohesive whole. Readers will be surprised by the identity and motives of the "evil" shadow that follows Liza. They will also be satisfied by an ending that is optimistic yet not akin to a fairy tale. Reviewer: David Goodale
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7

Postapocalyptic fiction and faeries seem an unlikely combination. However, Simner weaves these strands together to produce a thought-provoking and thrilling story about a girl at war with herself and her own magical abilities. In her world, the cities are dead, and the towns and villages have reverted to a preindustrial farming economy. Society has been devastated by a war between humans and faeries. The natural world has turned against people and exhibits a malign intelligence that it uses to ensnare unwary humans. As the story opens, Liza, 15, tells of how her baby sister, who showed the clear hair strands of those with faerie powers, is left on a hillside by her father and killed by wild animals. After her death, Liza's mother leaves the family. When Liza realizes that she is able to see into the past and the future, she runs away to avoid hurting anyone else with her powers. She is joined by her neighbor Matthew, who turns out to have magical abilities of his own. Together they undertake a perilous journey as they search for Liza's mother, and, in the process, gain a greater understanding of the war and the possibility of a new beginning. Simner perfectly captures the sense of danger with her stark prose and ratchets up the tension as readers slowly begin to unravel the terrible truth of what happened to the land of Faerie during the war. The characters are well drawn, and the resolution is deftly handled, being both satisfying and firmly grounded in Liza's emotional reality. Fans of Lois Lowry's trilogy, which includes The Giver (Houghton, 1993), will thoroughly enjoy this novel.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

Kirkus Reviews
Magic in Liza's barren town is verboten due to a disastrous war with Faerie, and those who are magical are thought to be evil. When Liza realizes she can no longer deny her own magic and becomes plagued by visions of her runaway mother, she leaves town accompanied by her shape-shifting friend, Matthew. The two find their way to a community where magic is the norm. There, Liza is encouraged to follow her visions and find her mother in a place that used to be called St. Louis. The setting, characters and plot are ones every fantasy and science-fiction reader has seen before: the dystopian world, evil faeries, a protagonist with extra-strong, extra-special magic, a hunt for a lost mother. Simner keeps things interesting with a fair amount of action and the constant introduction of new characters. The postapocalyptic environment is haunting but not downright scary-the most frightening things are the people, not the magic. With its dark, sharply imagined world, this will appeal to readers of Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. (Science fiction/fantasy. 12-16)
From the Publisher
“This book has one of the best first chapters I know—and the rest of the book more than lives up to its promise. Pure, stunning, it is impossible to put down or forget.”—Jane Yolen, winner of the World Fantasy Award

From Booklist:
Simner’s first novel for YAs is an attention-catching twist of two piping-hot speculative scenarios—a postapocalyptic-wasteland journey layered upon a faerie-world-intruding-upon-our-own setup. The mood is strikingly dark, and questions regarding humankind’s tendency toward suspicion and xenophobia will loom large in readers’ minds. This will garner a share of fans for its unusual and unsettling vision of a magically dystopian future.

From VOYA:
Simner creates a fresh, compelling novel in a highly saturated fantasy market. The beginning resonates with tension and pulls the reader into a finely written, multilayered story.

From School Library Journal:
Postapocalyptic fiction and faeries seem an unlikely combination. However, Simner weaves these strands together to produce a thought-provoking and thrilling story about a girl at war with herself and her own magical abilities. In her world, the cities are dead, and the towns and villages have reverted to a preindustrial farming economy. Society has been devastated by a war between humans and faeries. The natural world has turned against people and exhibits a malign intelligence that it uses to ensnare unwary humans. As the story opens, Liza, 15, tells of how her baby sister, who showed the clear hair strands of those with faerie powers, is left on a hillside by her father and killed by wild animals. After her death, Liza's mother leaves the family. When Liza realizes that she is able to see into the past and the future, she runs away to avoid hurting anyone else with her powers. She is joined by her neighbor Matthew, who turns out to have magical abilities of his own. Together they undertake a perilous journey as they search for Liza's mother, and, in the process, gain a greater understanding of the war and the possibility of a new beginning. Simner perfectly captures the sense of danger with her stark prose and ratchets up the tension as readers slowly begin to unravel the terrible truth of what happened to the land of Faerie during the war. The characters are well drawn, and the resolution is deftly handled, being both satisfying and firmly grounded in Liza's emotional reality. Fans of Lois Lowry's trilogy, which includes The Giver, will thoroughly enjoy this novel.

From Kirkus Reviews:
Simner keeps things interesting with a fair amount of action and the constant introduction of new characters. The postapocalyptic environment is haunting but not downright scary-the most frightening things are the people, not the magic. With its dark, sharply imagined world, this will appeal to readers of Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375845635
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/27/2009
  • Series: The Bones of Faerie Trilogy Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 530,322
  • Age range: 12 - 16 Years
  • Lexile: HL670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Janni Lee Simner lives in the Arizona desert, where, even without magic, the plants know how to bite and the dandelions really do have thorns. She has published four books for younger readers, as well as more than 30 short stories. Bones of Faerie is her first young adult novel.

To learn more about Janni, visit her Web site at www.simner.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

* Chapter 1 *

I had a sister once. She was a beautiful baby, eyes silver as moonlight off the river at night. From the hour of her birth she was long-limbed and graceful, faerie-pale hair clear as glass from Before, so pale you could almost see through to the soft skin beneath.

My father was a sensible man. He set her out on the hillside that very night, though my mother wept and even old Jayce argued against it. "If the faerie folk want her, let them take her," Father said. "If not, the fault's theirs for not claiming one of their own." He left my sister, and he never looked back.

I did. I crept out before dawn to see whether the faeries had really come. They hadn't, but some wild creature had. One glance was all I could take. I turned and ran for home, telling no one where I'd been.

We were lucky that time, I knew. I'd heard tales of a woman who bore a child with a voice high and sweet as a bird's song--and with the sharp claws to match. No one questioned that baby's father when he set the child out to die, far from our town, far from where his wife lay dying, her insides torn and bleeding.

Magic was never meant for our world, Father said, and of course I'd agreed, though the War had ended and the faerie folk returned to their own places before I was born. If only they'd never stirred from those places--but it was no use thinking that way.

Besides, I'd heard often enough that our town did better than most. We knew the rules. Don't touch any stone that glows with faerie light, or that light will burn you fiercer than any fire. Don't venture out alone into the dark, or the darkness will swallow you whole. And cast out the magic born among you, before it can turn on its parents.

Towns had died for not understanding that much. My father was a sensible man.
But the memory of my sister's bones, cracked and bloody in the moonlight, haunts me still.

•Chapter 2 *

Three weeks after my sister's birth I hurried through town, my breath puffing into the chilly air and an empty bucket banging against my hip. The sun was just above the horizon, turning layers of pink cloud to gold. Most of the other townsfolk were already in the fields, their morning chores done.

I walked quickly past the row of whitewashed houses I'd known all my life. Their windows were firmly shuttered or else tacked with old nylon against the cold. My gaze lingered a moment on the gap among those houses, but then I rushed on, thinking about how I'd overslept again that morning, not waking until Father had slammed the door as he left the house--deliberately loud, a warning to me. I'd already been sleeping badly since Father had cast my sister out, my dreams filled with restless shadows and a baby's cries. Then a week ago Mom left us. Since then I'd hardly slept at all, save in the early hours for just long enough to make it hard to wake again.

I passed the last of our town's tended houses; passed, too, the houses we didn't tend, which were little more than tangles of ragweed with splintered wood poking through. At the fork in the path I caught a whiff of metallic steam from Jayce's forge. I headed left. The path skirted the edge of the cornfields, then narrowed. Maples and sycamores grew along its edges, draped with wild grapes. Green tendrils snaked out from the grapevines as I passed. I knew those vines sought skin to root in, so I kept to the path's center, where they couldn't reach. Plants used to be bound firmly to the places where they grew, but that was before the faerie folk came to our world.

No one knew why they came. No one even knew what they looked like. The War happened too fast, and the televisions people once had for speaking to one another all died the first day. Some said the faerie folk looked like trees, with gnarled arms and peeling brown skin. Others said they were dark winged shadows, with only their clear hair and silver eyes visible as they attacked us. Hair like that remained a sure sign a child was tainted with magic.

But whatever the faerie folk looked like, everyone agreed they were monsters. Because once they were here they turned their magic against us, ordering the trees to seek human flesh and the stones to burn with deadly light. Even after the War ended and the faerie folk left this world, the magic they'd set loose lingered, killing still.

The path ended at the river, though another path, narrower still, continued both ways along its near bank. I clambered down a short rocky slope and dipped my bucket into the water. Our well had silted up again, so the river was the only place to draw water for cooking and chores.

When the bucket was full I drew it out again, set it down, and cupped my hands for a drink. As I did a wind picked up, and I shivered. Mom would be cold, out alone on a morning like this. I knew better than to hope she yet lived, but still I whispered as I dipped my hands into the bucket, "Where are you? Where?"

Light flashed. A sickly sweet scent like tree sap filled the air. I jerked my hands back, but I couldn't turn away. The water in the bucket glowed like steel in the sun, holding my gaze. The wind died around me. From somewhere very far away, Mom called my name.

I grabbed a stone and threw it into the bucket. There was a sound like shattering ice, and then the water within was merely water, clouded by ripples and mud from the rock, nothing more.

My mother was gone. Why couldn't I accept that? I must have imagined her voice, just as I'd imagined the way the water had seemed to glow.
Yet I'd seen light like that once before.

The night my sister was born--the night I'd fled from the hillside, where I never should have been--I'd seen flashes at the edges of my sight, like lightning, though the night was clear. I'd ignored them and kept running, calling the name my mother had chosen but only once been able to use. "Rebecca! Rebecca!" My throat and chest had tightened, but I couldn't seem to stop.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 76 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 76 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Better Than I Expected!

    I was really surprised by Bones of Faerie. I didn't expect to like it so much and I didn't expect the story to go the places it did. I picked it up anticipating the plot to be similar to that of Twilight or Wicked Lovely but was pleased to find myself wrong. Instead Bones. takes place at least twenty years in the future after a war between our world and Faerie, both of which end up being pretty much destroyed. Magic has lingered in our world even post war and people still debate if it's safe or not. In some situations it isn't, like the trees that feast on human blood and flesh. But then there are the people who have the power to heal. Are they safe? Can their magic be trusted? When Liza starts seeing things that aren't really there she leaves her town hoping to keep the people she loves safe. She is joined by Michael whose family was killed by magic and understands what she's going through more than Liza can imagine. When they come across another town Liza is floored to find it so different from hers. With her new ability, Michael and some people from the new town Liza starts to piece together information about how the world was Before and about her mother. I didn't expect some of the twists that came and enjoyed them all. Books these days don't typically have themes, but Bones of Faerie definitely left me thinking. I thought Simner imagined a wonderful story and loves all her characters. I'll be looking forward to more from her!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Good

    Started in 4th grd finished in 8th grd! Intiguing and amazing!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Excellent read for young teen girls.

    As a young adult writer I was pleasantly surprised at Ms. Simner's story. The main character Liza is well written, the story line strong and the action keeps you wanting to read more. The fantasy thread through the story was well thought out and consistent. The author weaves a unique story of magic and reality in how nature changes after a war between two worlds. I will never view glowing rocks or vines the same again, which is a tribute to the vividness of the setting and the characters struggles in dealing with the fall out of this war. The prejudice in which the humans deal with something they cannot control or understand is very well played. It is a page turner and the action kept me wanting to know what happens next.

    If you like the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, you will want to read Ms. Simner's Faerie series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Not my favorite

    I picked this book up at the library because it sounded interresting. I had a hard time finishing. The story was extremly slow paced. This may be better fitted for early-teen age group. I'm not going to read the other 2 books. And thats very unlike me because I always try to finish reading what I started. Oh well!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    My mothr

    My English teacher read part of this book to us in class, and I loved it! This book is really interesting and I would reccomend it to anyone!

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    very good

    loved the book cant wait to finish the rest

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Ashes to ashes

    This was a surprising original read and, despite having such tragic undertones, the plot was never too heavy. I thought this might be another fairy-themed quick read but it was indeed not. Great characters and a world that keeps you on the edge of your seat is what you'll find beneath this book cover. Bravo Mrs. Simner, bravo!

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Series

    The first book was pretty slow but by the end of the book you are hooked. This sequal was very good beginning to end.

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  • Posted April 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good book

    Good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Fantastic read

    Ioved this book and loved how liza overcame how she was raised.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    Loved it!!

    I thought it was great!

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    looooooovvvvvvvvvveeeddd

    i read itbin 1 day

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    An outstanding story

    Wow this was a really great book, finished it in two days. Its similar to The Hunger Games, but with faerie and magic instead! Definitely a worthwhile read. Quick and easy, only 140 pages.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    Fun and Thought-Provoking Read

    Originaly posted at: www.aurorareviews.blogspot.com ***** Not your typical YA faerie book - this well-written story gives us a different look at the realm of faerie vs. humans. A war has destroyed the human world and has left humans feeling as though they cannot trust anyone for fear that they will hurt them with magic.

    Liza, has been brought up to fear magic. She was easy to empathize with as she panics and feels she will be no longer wanted by anyone if she reveals her evil (magic) side. As she flees her town, her stubborn nature and strong will are what help her in the upcoming adventures and keep her moving forward.

    Liza is joined by a few misfits along the way; Matthew, a fierce protector, who is touched by magic and has been hiding it for years; Allie, the best friend with magical healing powers and Tallow a tag-along cat with a humorous personality. The four make a great team and rely on each others' strengths to help them through many obstacles.

    There was a tiny glimmer of romance developing between Liza and Matthew, though Ms. Simner did not expand upon or explore the idea of their budding romance in this novel. It would have been truly exciting to see unfold while they were going through such an emotionally charged journey together.

    The use of American landmarks is quite creative. There are references to different rivers and landmarks from the state of Missouri. The destruction left by the war is so descriptive during the misfits' adventures along the abandoned highways and cities.

    The one thing that is alluded to is that there are always two sides to a story. I think it would be wonderful to see both sides of the history of the war. There are glimpses here and there, but are never really elaborated upon, nor do they explain what started the war in the first place. The fae left the plants and forests to have magic within them that seek to kill humans, which is also not explained. This bit of dark magic makes Ms. Simner's tale that much more interesting and unique. I feel a sequel could be created that may explain the past war and could easily carry on with the characters in their new awareness of magic and it's uses. All in all, a wonferful read that I recommend for lovers of magic and adventure.

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  • Posted July 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Worth While

    Liza was a push forward type of girl. In a world that was devastated and destroyed Between humans and faeries. The idea of even possibly having any type of magic powers marks you a cast out. Liza new born sister was born with the possibility of having powers and she was cast out. This tragic event set a pace for this book. It was dark and powerful. It also gave you hope as to what could be. Liza really made this book. Her ability to step through the fire hoops made the book stand out. This is the first book of Janni Lee Simner I have read. What a great read. This is not like any other book I have read. Bones of Faerie is a worth the time and the money read.

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  • Posted July 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good story concept but HORRIBLE connection to the characters and plot.

    The book had a unique story, but the characters weren't so well developed. Most of the time I couldn't even connect to Liza, the main character. It took me 5 days to read 250 pages, and I'm not a slow reader. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in one night. This book however took so long to get to the main plot. I was half way through the book and nothing exciting had happened except that she left home from one paragraph to the next. There is very little insight to Liza's character that the entire story loses that connection between the book and reader. In one paragraph shes in her town, in the next shes in the woods and its difficult to know what she thought or felt. The only reasons I finished this book are:

    1) I wanted to know if Liza's mom was alive and what happened to her and

    2) I was bored out of my mind and this book was the only book I had access to at the moment besides the owner's manual to my Jeep (and I had already read that -_- )

    So while the concept of the story was unique (and had great potential) it is so easy to get lost when there is such little insight to the main character's thoughts. I was completely disconnected from this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Alright

    Not really my favorite book, though it was good. The plot and the idea behind it was very unique, but it seems to stop short at the ending, and really doesn't close-out like it should. Kind of disappointing.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Memorable Magic

    Bones of Fearie is a book that will ensnare all readers, no matter what you usually read and like. Any age range will appreciate Liza's journey through understanding more about her world, her family and herself. Bones of Faerie will capture your senses and mind. Readers will be launched on an unforgettable journey through lands of carnivorous plants, shadows and a giant arch; both unfamiliar, yet closer to home than you might imagine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good afternoon read

    I really wanted to like this book. the cover captivated me, the concept of a war pitting human against faerie piqued my interest... but I was left wanting more. The story was good, there were many original aspects (I love the faerie's having clear hair), but it just didn't grab me. It was, however, a great read on a rainy Sunday.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    A Good Read.

    I just kind of saw this book in the bookstore and thought it looked interesting so I bought it and I read it in a few days. The book's plot is very good and very original but it did have a bit of sloppy writing and needs a bit of a larger vocabulary. Before every one of Liza's visions, it was always I saw: I saw: I saw: and "GO AWAY" "GO AWAY" by the end of the book, I was sick and tired of the I saw: and "go away" parts. Matthew just seemed like some "possible romance" that the author just threw in randomly to make her story more interesting. Their journey to the Arch dragged on far too long when barely anything happened. I could have skipped over 100 pages of that and not missed a thing. And I would think that a little background information on what was happening to these characters would help. Though I was able to figure it out, I can see why a lot of my friends who read it were confused by it. Other than that, the characters were all connected to the main plot so there were none of those random characters that have nothing to do with the story. The concepts and ideas were well thought out and completely hers. Though it wasn't an action-packed book, it was a nice and quick read and I enjoyed it very much. It really does show you how beautiful nature can be and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good or decent book to read.

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