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Posted February 28, 2014
Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
Living in a small town can have its ups and downs. For Mary, everyone knowing her and her father, who seems to be much too old to actually be her father, is one of the downs. Mary would rather live where she can fade into the background more easily. Mary has never fitted in, and now at fourteen, her father spins an unbelievable tale that she is a Lightbearer from another world, and the last of the kind. Talk about not fitting in anymore, now she is going to stand out, unless she can keep people from knowing. The worst is that there are Lookers out there searching for her. She's not sure she can turn to the only friend she really has in Kristen - she has a big mouth - but maybe the guy she is crushing on. Aiden is a bit like Mary, not really an outcast, but not the most popular boy in town either. Can he be the one to help her? Mary of the Aether follows her story once she learns of her true nature, and what happens as she is sought out by others who want to destroy her. Jeffery Aaron Miller once again uses his unique knack for writing about other worlds to draw you in and to have you totally engaged in the story.
Jeffery Aaron Miller is a wonderful writer who can take you to a fantasy world yet still keep you in touch with the real world and its own conflicts. Mr. Miller just has the knack or ability to create these other worlds that are mixed with our own world, and yet the issues of growing up in this world, poverty, and unpopularity, are intertwined with the lofty goals of the other world. There is so much in his storytelling to admire and to recognize for the youth of today. I find his writing and storytelling abilities to be fascinating. Mary of the Aether is another series that follows Mary and her truth as a Lightbearer and her quest to preserve that as the last living Lightbearer. This is a great book for young adults and teens. The issues they face in the real world are dealt with, while giving some adventure and fun to the whole story with the other world and its own realities.
Posted November 22, 2013
This is the extraordinary story of Mary Lanham. She is a typical fourteen-year-old girl striving to find her place in a mixed up world.
Her father is a very old man and she has taken care of him for some time when the story opens. But the night a crazy man attacks
her and her father, everything changes. Secrets that she has never known come into play as we watch Mary change before our eyes
into a confident young woman.
Because of the attack, Mary discovers that she is the last known person to possess magic. Along with her two friends and
companions, they fight an unknown foe with her new-found magic. Along the way she will experience loss, discover more about
her parents and come face-to-face with the evil that threatens the world. Mary must overcome all obstacles and save everyone from
a fate worse than death.
While I loved all the intrigue and description in this story, I felt that it didn’t start in the right place and that many times, it was
overwritten. I couldn’t understand why this young woman allowed people to tramp all over her even though she wanted to not be
noticed. She went into many situations that no normal, rational, intelligent human being would have caught themselves in and she
continued to make those same mistakes even though it puts her and her friends’ lives in jeopardy.
On the other hand, there were many under-developed sections of the story like why her friends were so odd. There is very little
about their stories but there should be since everything else was described in minute detail. Also, there is little to ground Mary
in the here and now. If it weren’t for her friends, she wouldn’t know about computers or cell phones. Seems to me, if a father really
wanted to protect his child, he would want the most up-to-date technology. None of this is explained in detail at all and it actually
drags on the story.
However, it is a fun read if you can overlook those problems. It’s fast paced and interesting and should keep most people’s
interest especially if one loves magic.
Posted November 6, 2013
Being a teenager can stink! But finding out your identity is a lie, is even more rotten. Or, is it?
Mary Lanham was a plain girl. She lived a plain life, in a plain town. Her house was plain – even her bedroom was plain. She didn’t have a computer or cell phone, and knew nothing about the most current, hot singers. But the day a strange, gray cloaked man came sniffing, literally sniffing – on the ground, face in the grass – around her house, is the day her world changed forever.
Mary of the Aether is an instant, attention grabbing hit! With picturesque scenes and impeccably drawn characters, Miller weaves a suspenseful fantasy of good versus evil. Where Lookers and Devourers roam, and powerful magic, known as Aether, can save. The reader connects with Mary through her awkward schoolgirl crush on Aiden Tennant, her complicated relationship with her mean and mouthy best friend Kristen Grossman, as she tends to her sickly father, John, and as she finds out about, and learns to use, her new gift.
Jeffrey Aaron Miller’s gripping novel, Mary of the Aether, is a fun, fast paced book for young adults and up. Perfect for school rooms and libraries, this first in the four-book series is a must read! Look for the second in the series, Mary of Shadows, for your next fun, suspense-filled read!
Posted October 22, 2013
Mary of the Aether
Mary Lanham thinks her life is a bust—and she’s only fourteen. She lives in a dreary southern town after abruptly moving from Colorado where she and her father lived with Aunt Carol, who is the only other family Mary knows. She’s stand-out bright, but has, naturally, been labeled a nerd and a loser. Her father is ill and prematurely aged for a man of sixty. He is so frail that he spends most of his days in bed, asleep. He doesn’t believe in “modern” things, like cell phones, so Mary, unlike all the other kids, doesn’t have one. Life for Mary consists of taking care of her dad and going to school, where her only “friend” is an obnoxious gossip girl named Kirsten. The bright spot for her is a fantasy she entertains about a boy called Aiden, another outcast.
One day a tramp appears in their backyard. The next, he lies down in the road in front of her school bus, nearly causing an accident when the driver swerves to avoid him. When Mary tells her father about this, he rouses himself, and, in a sweat of fear, tells her what initially seems to be a fantastic, insane story. It seems the Lanthams are the guardians of a powerful magic, the last of its kind left in the world, and that this magic has attracted an ancient force of evil to them. Mary is now launched—along with the unsuspecting Kirsten and Aiden—into an incredible, terrifying adventure.
This is a satisfying fantasy story that can be enjoyed by anyone from YA on. It is well-plotted and well-edited. It begins a bit slowly, but because the tension is skillfully ratcheted up, it’s easy to keep turning pages. I especially liked the descriptions of the claustrophobic, back-water town, and the cast of misfits. Starting in a world which appears dull and ordinary, the author propels the reader into Lovecraftian realms of night.
Posted October 8, 2013
Mary of the Aether is a YA fantasy novel about a shy young teenager who is startled to learn that nothing she believes about her seemingly ordinary life is true. When she is discovered and followed by people who are trained to seek out the last traces of magic left in the world, her father is forced to reveal to Mary the facts of her existence, and give her the item that will enable her to unlock her power.
This novel is convincingly realistic, particularly in its depiction of high school life in a small town. Mary is a teenager living what initially seems to be an unspectacular life. She is an unlikely heroine at the start—lonely, awkward, lacking in self-esteem, undistinguished in any way. She lives alone with her invalid dad. She's got a crush on a boy who doesn't notice her, and her only friend is mean to her most of the time. It's great to see how her confidence grows when she realizes that she has her own unique gifts, and it's a lot of fun to see the changes in the way other people relate to her.
This well-written story flows smoothly, pulling the reader ever deeper into Mary's world. As things grow grimmer and more dangerous for Mary, she finds the strength to face her demons. I was a little let down at the climax, though. Given everything that had just happened, why would Mary leave her beleaguered aunt to go off hiking with her friends, particularly to a place with such an ominous name? Mary might not know what will be awaiting her there, but the reader certainly does. Still the final section of the novel was as taut and action-packed as a good fantasy/adventure ought to be.
Warmly recommended for anyone who enjoys an exciting and well-written YA fantasy.
Posted September 21, 2013
Mary of the Aether, the first book of Jeffrey Miller's Aether Series, tells the story of fourteen-year-old Mary Lanham. She's a typical girl, mooning about her crush on Aiden, the “cutest boy in the world”, her place at the bottom of the highschool food chain in her small Arkansas town, and oh yes – the crazy man attacking her and her father because she is the last surviving heir to a secret that might save the world. The action is fast-paced and Mary's development from an almost-invisible drifter whose only goal is to avoid attention, into a self-aware and confident young woman is well-presented.
Mary and her two allies, geeky comic-book-reading Aiden and abrasive self-absorbed Kristen, use both their flaws and their hidden strengths to battle human and magical foes. At the same time, Mary experiences loss, gains insight into her family and herself, and struggles to understand and accept her newfound heritage.
As a reader, I appreciated the almost timeless feeling of life in Mary's small town. In fact, it was only the mention of her friend's cellphone that anchors the setting in the here-and-now. However, there were a few things that bothered me. Mary's friends were complex, but there was very little explanation for their peculiarities and frankly, it was hard to understand why she liked either of them. But for me, the biggest problem was the usual one in teen-in-danger stories – why would a supposedly intelligent person deliberately and unnecessarily go into an obviously dangerous situation, especially when her life has already been threatened on several occasions?
Still, for readers who enjoy tales of magic and adventure, plus female leads who develop from wimp to kickass, Mary of the Aether is a good choice and a fun read.
Posted December 11, 2012
I liked this book. It's good for my age group. It's about a girl, magic, some really bad people and a terrible monster. Not to give too much away. I can't wait for the sequel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.