"The author did an amazing job in her world-building, in crafting such a unique setting and story concept. This story seemed to have it all. It sucked me in so quickly and kept my attention riveted." -Shannon, The Tale Temptress
There is one True World, and then there are the four mirror worlds: fire, water, air, and stone. And each has a magic of its own...
In the Fire World, seventeen-year-old Leah is the illegitimate daughter of one of the realm's most powerful lords. She's hot-blooded - able to communicate with the tempestuous volcano gods. But she has another gift...the ability to Call her twin "Otherselves" on other worlds.
Holly resides in the Water World - our world. When she's called by Leah from the Fire World, she nearly drowns. Suddenly the world Holly thought she knew is filled with secrets, magic...and deadly peril.
For a malevolent force seeks to destroy the mirror worlds. And as Leah and Holly are swept up in the tides of chaos and danger, they have only one choice to save the mirror worlds - to shatter every rule they've ever known...
The Otherselves series is best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Through Fire and Sea
Book #2 Amid Wind and Stone
Book #3 In Truth and Ashes
About the Author
Nicole Luiken wrote her first book at age thirteen and never stopped.
She is the author of nine published books for young adults, including Violet Eyes and its sequels, Silver Eyes and Angel Eyes, Frost, Unlocking the Doors, The Catalyst, Escape to the Overworld, Dreamfire, and the sequel, Dreamline. She also has an adult thriller, Running on Instinct, under the name N. M. Luiken, and a fantasy romance series, Gate to Kandrith and Soul of Kandrith.
Nicole lives with her family in Edmonton, AB. It is physically impossible for her to go more than three days in a row without writing. Visit her website at www.nicoleluiken.com or like her Facebook fan page for updates on her novels.
Read an Excerpt
Through Fire & Sea
An Otherselves Novel
By Nicole Luiken, Tracy Montoya
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Nicole Luiken Humphrey
All rights reserved.
Two men-at-arms threw Leah, trembling, at Duke Ruben's feet.
She risked one terrified glance up but gleaned no clues to her crime from the duke's grim mouth, crooked nose, and scowling black eyebrows. She stared blindly down at the polished floor of his private study.
The castle folk counted themselves lucky in their duke because Grumbling Man, the Volcano Lord of their valley, listened to him — but Duke Ruben also had a reputation as a hard man. Leah's mother often warned her to avoid him.
Did he know? she wondered, not for the first time. Did he have any idea who Leah was?
The senior man-at-arms cleared his throat, his red sideburns bristling. "The weaver's daughter, my lord."
He must know, then. There was no reason to ask for the weaver's daughter unless he remembered his long-ago liaison and knew the weaver had borne him a child.
Heart fluttering in wild hope, Leah raised her eyes, but the duke ignored her and walked over to his desk. He made an austere figure, dressed all in black, as he pressed his seal to a lump of wax. He handed the paper to the older man. "Make haste and deliver this to Lady Qeturah."
"Yes, my lord." Bowing smartly, the man left.
"Send Duchess Yudith to me." The duke waved a hand, and the second man-at-arms backed out of the room, leaving Leah alone with her father. She looked down again.
Black boots moved into her field of vision, and then Duke Ruben tilted her face up. Leah stared fixedly at the piece of red sky visible through the window. He grunted. "You do resemble me. The question is, does your blood run hot or cold?"
Leah didn't know how to answer.
For years she'd urged her mother to tell the duke about her, had dreamed of him settling a small dowry on her. But this was not the warm reception she'd imagined. Her knees ached, but she dared not rise without permission.
"Look at me."
Leah forced herself to break the training of a lifetime and meet the duke's fierce eyes.
A contemptuous smile quirked his lips. "Tell me, what is the name of our Volcano Lord?"
"The Grumbling Man," Leah said after a pause. Every child knew that. Their valley was named after the volcano, and Ruben's full title was the Duke of Grumbling Man.
Crouching down, the duke placed the tip of his ducal seal inside the grate set into the floor over the hypocaust through which heat from the volcano's underground vents flowed. At a murmured word, flames leaped. He picked up the now-glowing orange seal by the wooden handle.
He brought the metal so close to her face, the heat seared her skin. Leah pulled away, but he stood on a fold of her skirt, trapping her.
"Let's try again, shall we?" he said pleasantly. "What is the name of the Volcano Lord?"
Her heartbeat tripped faster. "The — the Grumbling Man." She didn't understand the question.
"No," the duke said with awful patience. "Not the name all call him by — his secret name."
"I don't know!" Her breathing grew ragged as she tugged at her skirt.
"Hold still. Tell me his secret name. By the count of three, or I'll put out your eye."
Leah stilled. She'd never heard of a secret name, but if one existed, it was surely dangerous knowledge that a lowly serving maid shouldn't admit to knowing.
"I don't know," Leah said again.
He lifted one sardonic eyebrow. "How unfortunate. Two."
He stomach pitched. He would blind her. The fact that she was his daughter meant nothing to him.
He rotated the seal. "Three —"
"Isaiah!" Leah blurted her secret name for the volcano, then threw her body sideways, wrenching her skirt free. She rolled onto her hands and knees, tensed to run —
The duke calmly set the seal on the hypocaust grate, triumph in his eyes. The name she'd fancied the Volcano Lord had whispered to her in the darkness of the night must be correct.
Her throat tightened. She had a terrible premonition that the duke wanted something dangerous from her. It might've been better to keep denying her knowledge and merely lose an eye.
"Well, daughter, at least you're not a screamer."
Leah glared at him. "My name is Leah."
"Not anymore. From this day forward, your name will be Jehannah."
Leah blinked. The duke's legitimate daughter was named Jehannah. She waited for an explanation, but just then Duchess Yudith strode into the room, skirts swinging.
Leah immediately bowed her head, peering up through the screen of her lashes; the duchess didn't tolerate insolence.
Yudith frowned down her long nose at Leah, then scowled at her husband. "Why is there ashfall on my herb gardens? The bloodleaf cuttings I procured are especially delicate. You must speak to Grumbling Man."
Despite the duchess's proprietary words, Leah doubted she tended the garden herself. Certainly, her hemline was spotlessly free of ash. Though it was only a day dress, Leah recognized the blue material used in the sleeves and the bandeau holding back her hair from a batch specially dyed by her mother to match the duchess's eyes.
"I have more important things to worry about than your plants!" The duke paced past Leah, and she noticed the ash speckling his boots, black broadcloth jacket, and trousers.
"When the next idiot to slice himself with his sword dies of blood poisoning because we don't have any dried bloodleaf, don't complain to —"
"Enough." The duke waved his hand, cutting her off.
Yudith's thin lips pinched shut.
If the duke noticed her offended look, he didn't care. "You're lucky your garden isn't buried." His black gaze met his wife's. "I spent hours last night trying to calm the mountain down while he grumbled about 'intruders' and 'upstarts' and how he'll 'blast him out of the sky.'"
Yudith's face whitened. Leah stopped breathing. She'd heard the mountain rumble in the middle of the night but had paid it no mind. Despite Grumbling Man's name, he was a venerable old volcano; his valley had been occupied for eight generations now. It was easy to forget that only the duke's control over their Volcano Lord kept their valley habitable.
Duke Ruben, like his forefathers before him, tempered the periodic eruptions so the falls of ash enriched the soil after harvest instead of blighting still-growing crops. Leah had heard tales of valleys settled too early then buried under tons of lava and ash. For the duke to be losing control was unthinkable.
"But ... why?" Yudith asked.
The duke smiled cruelly, as if enjoying his wife's discomfort. "Remember the rumors we've been hearing? Once again, a dragon rides the skies as has not happened in two centuries."
"What —" Yudith wet her lips. "What will you do?"
"Whatever I have to," the duke snarled. "I've sent for Qeturah. She has magic that can drive the dragon away. For a price."
Relief painted Yudith's face. Leah let out the breath she was holding. The small sound drew the duchess's attention. "And who is this, that she should be privy to our secrets?"
Duke Ruben bared his teeth. "This is my daughter. You will outfit her in a decent gown —"
Yudith's flat chest heaved. "One of your bastards, you mean. I will not —"
"Oh, yes, you will," the duke said grimly. "Moreover, you will teach her to behave like a lady."
Leah didn't know whether to be alarmed or elated. New clothing, a place in the duke's family ... it was just like her fantasy. But the duke's hard expression made her stomach fall. He felt no affection for her.
Her knees ached. Leah climbed to her feet. She didn't know what was going on, but they obviously needed her for something.
"And why, exactly, will I be doing this?" Yudith folded her arms.
"When Qeturah comes, she must look at that dirty scullery maid" — Leah felt a spurt of indignation, for his clothes were just as dirty as hers! — "and see a daughter of the nobility."
Yudith's eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"Qeturah's performed her little dragon-banishing trick in three other duchies," Duke Ruben said grimly. "In return, she asks for favors. We can spare a few bolts of broadcloth and bushels of grain, but she's also been collecting noble daughters to be 'trained' in her Tower."
"Jehannah," Yudith breathed.
The duke and duchess regarded Leah with identical, calculating expressions.
Leah's fingertips went cold with dread.
"Qeturah will go home with a daughter of mine, just not the daughter she expects," the duke said, and the couple shared a smile so wolflike, Leah shuddered.
"Qeturah acts as if it's an honor to foster these girls," Duke Ruben said, "but I'm not about to give the Bandit Queen a hostage." He absently picked up a chunk of rock with a large embedded diamond from his desk. "Besides, I have other plans for Jehannah."
Marriage, Leah assumed. Since Duke Ruben's only son had died of a fever five years ago, Jehannah's marriage and eventual children were especially important.
"Well, then." Yudith eyed Leah critically. "It seems I have my work cut out for me. Come, child."
Leah dipped her head respectfully. "My name is Leah."
The duke grabbed her chin. "I told you: from now on your name is Jehannah. As your father, it is my right to name you. Do you understand?"
His grip hurt. Leah refused to cry but gave a small nod to show her understanding.
He released her. "Serve me in this, daughter, and you will be rewarded. Fail me" — he bared his teeth — "and you will live to regret it."
Leah gave a jerky nod and followed Duchess Yudith out of the room, as eager to leave her father's presence as she once had been to gain his notice.
* * *
"She looks nothing like me," Jehannah — the real Jehannah — declared. Her voice sounded too loud in the deserted solar room on the top floor of the castle.
Leah had always been fascinated by her half sister, sneaking glances whenever she could. She'd fancied that, with nobody of equal rank to converse with, Jehannah might need a friend. A sister to cheer her up and braid her hair and whisper secrets to.
Instead Jehannah's snub nose had wrinkled up like a prune at the sight of her new sister. Of course, it had to be something of a shock to suddenly find out one had a half sibling.
Leah well remembered how jealous she'd been when it became obvious that her mother's apprentice weaver, Gulda, had an eye for color and design that Leah lacked.
Yudith studied the two of them critically. "Of course not, dear. You are beautiful, and she is not."
Leah's cheeks flushed, but she'd already earned one slap speaking out of turn, so she held her tongue.
"However," Yudith continued, "she does look like your father, and that is what will convince Lady Qeturah."
Yes, Leah had the duke's dark hair, whereas Jehannah and her mother both had light brown, almost blond, hair. Two narrow braids held back Jehannah's straight hair, a far cry from Leah's messy plait.
"Perhaps." Jehannah sniffed. "But she's not getting any of my dresses. She'll never fit them anyway."
Leah winced at this truth. Jehannah was a delicate wisp of a girl. Not only was Leah three years older, with a more womanly figure, but she spent her days toting water and scrubbing floors. There was nothing dainty about her.
"I'm afraid no dress can make me look fourteen again." Leah tried a friendly smile.
Red splotched Jehannah's fair complexion. "A small bosom is the mark of a true lady."
Leah bit her tongue to keep from laughing.
"She's right about the dresses," Yudith said, frowning. "We'll have to make over some of mine. And the new bolt of blue silk will have to be cut for her."
"Not the blue silk!" Jehannah shrieked. "You promised it would be made into an Ember Day dress for me."
Silk had to be imported from another duchy. Leah's mother spoke of its fine threads with reverence. Leah had always longed to wear silk.
Still ... Jehannah seemed so upset. Guests from other duchies visited on Ember Day. Was there a boy Jehannah hoped to impress?
"Let her have the silk," Leah said. "My mother has some pretty green linen, newly dyed —"
Instead of thanking her, Yudith spoke sharply. "You will not speak to your mother. As far as she and the rest of the castle are concerned, you ran off with some boy."
"I wouldn't run off without saying good-bye," Leah protested. "What will she think?"
"It doesn't matter what the weaver thinks." From the duchess's stone-cold expression, she still bore Leah's mother ill will.
Leah bit her tongue, but she vowed to find some way to talk to her mother before she left the castle.
* * *
Leah's stomach cramped with tension. Despite the abundance of rich food in front of her, she could barely eat. After two days of constant harping about noble manners and bearing, Duchess Yudith had finally judged Leah fit to sup with the duke.
Determined not to fail the test, she kept her back straight and used the obsidian-bladed knife to cut the veal on her plate into small bites. Nobles had meat every day, not just on special feasts, and ate off individual plates instead of dipping their bread in the common pot. Before Leah could convey the tender morsel to her mouth, Yudith asked her another question: "Which duchy lost their heir last year?"
Leah set down her fork. "Smoking Cone. The son, Talibar, was killed by an arrow while raiding sheep from their neighbor, Poison Cloud," she recited.
Yudith had insisted she learn the names of all the duchies and the members of their ruling families. Now that was as complicated as any pattern her mother had ever woven on her loom. This daughter marrying here, this younger son being fostered there, a whole interconnecting tapestry.
"Not Talibar, Talibard." Yudith addressed the duke. "As you can see, she still has a lot to learn."
The duke took a swallow of wine, having already demolished his veal. "She'll do well enough. I thought the idiot's name was Talidar."
Was he being kind? Leah smiled hopefully, but her father's expression remained grim. For two days, no ash had fallen, but the dragon had been spotted at the border outpost.
"We're out of time," he continued. "Qeturah will reach our valley tomorrow." Standing, the duke threw down his napkin. "I have another lesson in mind for tonight. Come, Jehannah."
Jehannah started to stand, then subsided, biting her lip. Yudith and Jehannah avoided calling Leah any name at all, but the duke always called her Jehannah. As if his younger daughter wasn't even sitting there.
Leah lowered her head to conceal her resentment as she followed the duke to his study.
Instead of taking a seat behind the heavy oak table, he crouched in front of the hypocaust grate. She remembered the red-hot glow of his seal and shuddered.
"While you are staying at Qeturah's Tower, you will send messages to me through the hypocaust. Any time she leaves the Tower, or returns, you will notify me. The same with any visitors she receives, or any time the dragon is sighted in her valley."
Leah listened with dismay. "You want me to spy for you?"
He studied her with hooded eyes. "Yes. I don't trust Qeturah. If you find proof she's playing us false, you'll be rewarded."
"With a dowry?" Leah dared ask. "Just a small one," she added quickly.
"Serve me well, and I may arrange a marriage for you. Now come here so I can show you how to send messages through the hypocaust."
Leah sidled closer, careful not to touch him.
"Put out your hand and Call for heat."
Hesitantly, Leah held her hand over the grate and said, "Heat."
The duke grunted. "Not like that. You're speaking to the Volcano Lord — use authority."
"Heat," Leah said more strongly, concentrating — and a pulse of heat pushed out from her fingertips. A warm draft wafted up from the hypocaust vent in response. She'd done it!
"Better," the duke said grudgingly. "But you must be able to Call flame."
He made her practice Calling heat over and over. Sweat stood out on Leah's hairline when she finally produced a lick of flame in the hypocaust.
By then the duke was snarling and pacing with impatience. He picked up a diamond chunk and laid it down again repeatedly, as if he wished he could brain her with it.
"Finally," he growled. "Now watch closely. I won't show you again." He scrawled something in dripping black ink across a scrap of paper. "Be sure to write the name of the recipient somewhere on the message." With his belt dagger, he cut his thumb and smeared blood onto one corner, then Called a burst of flame. The paper caught fire, blackening around the edges. He dropped it in the hypocaust grate, where the orange flames quickly consumed it. "There, that's how it's done."
Excerpted from Through Fire & Sea by Nicole Luiken, Tracy Montoya. Copyright © 2015 Nicole Luiken Humphrey. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the start of a binge-worthy series. There isn't just one world, there are several. And the reflections in the mirror, ice, and water connect them all. Within each world, there are a few people able to pass through the reflection to the others. Leah is one of these people, and her ability to connect with her Otherselves in the mirror worlds makes her a powerful force. I loved how the mirror worlds interacted with each other, with small overlaps and similarities, but also huge differences. I got to really experience Fire and Water, and catch glimpses of Air and Stone, and they all seem fascinating. But, of course, the worlds are in danger as someone is out to destroy them all, throw off the balance, and I'm not sure what happens after that. I can't wait to find out though. With rich characters, several incredibly detailed worlds, and a plot line that is super crazy awesome, this seems to be a binge-read-worthy series. I can't wait to see what is going to happen next. *I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*
Received a reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Through Fire & Sea by Nicole Luiken! Leah is renamed Jehannah by her father, the duke, so he can send her with Queen Qeterah and spy for him. Leah is an illegitimate daughter of the duke's and he's sending Leah with the queen in place of his daughter Jehannah. The queen needs an heir from each duchy or region to be able to send and receive messages with the other regions. The queen shows Leah the mirror hall and explains how there is one true world and four others - air, stone, fire and water. Leah lives in the Fire World and they use fire to send and receive messages and rely on volcanoes for stability of their kingdoms. Leah falls into a mirror while cleaning it and inadvertently sees her Water World doppelganger or otherself, Holly. Nicole Luiken builds an amazing and complex world and pulls the story together seamlessly. This first book in this series concentrates on the characters from the two worlds, fire and water. The two worlds collide when the queen meets her doppelganger in the Water World. Exciting and interesting, Through Fire & Sea is the beginning of a series full of adventure and fantasy, 4.5 stars!
In this book we begin by following a girl named Leah and her life in a world full of volcanoes and dukes who can talk to them. Leah is the illegitimate child of one of these dukes and is forced by her father to impersonate his “real” daughter and leave to be an apprentice with a woman called Qeturah. Here Leah finds out about the true world and the four mirror worlds – fire, water, stone and air. With Qeturah’s guidance Leah learns to call her otherself, Holly, on water world. When Leah finds her soul mate in the son of a volcano lord, she does what she can to help Qeturah save him from a dangerous curse. But as Leah learns of Qeturah’s true objective she has to work with her otherself Holly to prevent the mirror worlds from shattering. When beginning to read this book I was instantly drawn to Leah and the world she lived in. It was interesting and written beautifully and I couldn’t put the book down. I loved learning about Leah’s life and her struggle with her father, whom she had been looking at from a distance for so many years, wondering if he even knew about her. I could feel the pain she had and the eagerness to please him despite how he treated her. I was so into Leah and her life that I really struggled when Holly came along. Her world (which is also the world we live in) was so different from Leah’s and in comparison Holly’s problems seemed so futile and it was hard to care for her. However, a bit into Holly’s POV I slowly began connecting with her too and she grew on me to the point that I loved reading her side just as much as Leah’s. Nicole has written a story different from anything else I have ever read before and she built this world in such a great way that I was intrigued from the very start. I love the fact that our world is simply one of the Mirror Worlds, Water, rather than the True World. It would have been so easy to put us as “the true ones”, but Nicole didn’t and I love that. The book is easy to read and the pacing is steady and not even once did I feel like the plot was stalling. Things happened all the time and there was always something that kept me wanting to keep reading. In the beginning I did feel like the writing was a bit too simple, too sparse in a way. I wanted more details about the world, the characters feelings etc, but as I went along I forgot about all that and found it to be more than sufficient. This is a book I highly recommend reading, especially if you like YA and Fantasy. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
*I received this eBook as a review copy from a publisher at Entangled Teen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* In general, I really enjoyed this book and loved the myths and legends that were woven into the story. I would recommend this book to younger teens who enjoy YA fantasy. As I began the book I was really enjoying. At certain points in the book, I was confused when the perspective would switch in the middle of a chapter. When this would happen I would have to double back to clarify to myself that this was a different character. Also throughout the book there seemed to be many things that were happening, maybe too many things. You would be reading and then all of the sudden there is fire everywhere. Just sometimes I felt like I lost the story and then something big happened. Through Fire and Sea overall was a good book. The only thing that personally bothered me was that sometimes the book had so many different things happening at once and sometimes it was hard to keep track of everything.
“Through Fire and Sea” is a fascinating YA sci-fi/fantasy that begins with Leah, an unrecognized daughter of a hot-blooded duke. The dukes control the volcanoes, making it safe to live on their planet, which is full of fire. Leah’s mother had her out of wedlock and tries to keep her away from her father, but Leah has always wanted to connect with him. At the beginning of the book, she does and learns why her mother wanted to keep her from him- the duke is not a kind or nice man. A dragon has been stirring up the volcanoes wrath and as they threaten to explode, the dukes are summoning Qeturah, a woman with her own duchy, to get rid of the dragon. However, she asks for a big price- sometimes wealth and sometimes their daughters. To protect his legal daughter, Jehannah, he asks Leah to pose as her, so that Qeturah will take her instead of the real Jehannah. The duke’s plan works, and Leah is off to stay with Qeturah instead of Jehannah. We begin to see a relationship to another girl, Holly, as they see each other through the water. Holly is the daughter of a famous director on another world, and she is on a boat with her father when she almost drowns. She is saved by a boy who looks like a merman. We flip back and forth between Leah and Holly, as they both fall in love and learn more about the Mirror Worlds. We soon learn that there is one true world and four Mirror Worlds which have one prevailing element (e.g. fire, water, etc.). Both worlds are threatened by an unforeseen enemy and Holly and Leah will each battle them in their own ways. It is a really intriguing story, and the perspectives of Holly and Leah were interesting to flip between. It’s a relatively long book, but well written and keeps the reader engaged. It moves pretty fast, story-wise. There were a few places where the scenes felt too long, but were mainly there to give character insight into our two leading ladies. Holly was my favorite of the two, and I was glad as we started to glimpse more and more of her life. The relationships each had were really adorable and sweet/romantic. There is nothing more than kissing between them though, so it’s very clean (as YA often are). The Mirror Worlds idea is really fascinating and I’m really curious to see how this series evolves with these different (yet similar) alternate reality-type existences. I also loved the idea of a prevailing sense of a person which exists across experiences (I won’t say more to avoid spoilers). Overall, it is a fascinating and lovely story, and I am excited to read the next! Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Through Fire & Sea is a really unique look of parallel universes. There are 4 elemental worlds like Fire and Water that the book takes place in and one True World. Someone people have otherselves that exist on these different worlds. Through mirror magic someone people can “call” their otherselves and interact with them, possibly even take over their bodies. Of course, in the story you can see how this can be used for good and bad. I think the settings are really cool, especially Fire World. Here there are volcanos that are essentially gods and everything is dictated by their whims. Water is Earth, so nothing new there. I won’t tell you too much of the details so I don’t include spoilers. The characters are the reason why this book is only getting four stars out of five instead of a perfect five. Leah, for the most part was pretty good. She’s strong even in the face of danger and has a real likeable quality. She makes bad decisions and learns from them which is great. I hate it when characters remain dumb especially after they make a mistake. She also cares about her mom. So many parents are written out of YA books that it’s disheartening. Not this one! Holly on the other hand took a while to like. She’s whiny and a little spoiled. I took more than half of the book to realize she wasn’t too worthless. I suddenly liked her and thought her growth as a person/character was realist and valid. Ryan and Gideon…meh. They could have been replaced by anyone. I liked their abilities but their personalities just didn’t stand out. The plot was great. I was kept in rapt wonder about how the two worlds would be tied together. At first I was pretty disgruntled with the change from Fire to Water World. It was so abrupt. I was sure I wasn’t going to like the changes. (Because my track record clearly shows I don’t like that) But like I said I became more and more interested in how the world were going to be tied together. And that ENDING! Yes! It was great. Great job. I’ll definitely read the sequel.
A fast-paced and thrilling tale of otherworlds and otherselves brought to a war with each other by the evil Qeturah rated at FIVE STARS. “Why don’t I give you my cell phone number? Or you could give me yours.” Then she could text him and—He stared at the red bricks. “I don’t have a cell phone. Or a Blackberry or any other type of fruit.” Schwartz Synopsis This novel follows a young 17-year-old Leah. The illegitimate daughter of a duke with a plot for power. She has been living in secret, away from her father under her mother’s protective care. However, her protection is shattered when the duke plots include Leah. She must take her half-sister’s place and follow Qeturah to her tower, where she must spy on the duchess to gain insight into the dragon attacks. Failure is not an option. Leah soon discovers Qeturah has insight into mirror magic and teaches Leah the basics. There are otherworlds, otherselves. A completely new life behind each mirror. Leah unwittingly helps Qeturah gain access to water world and vows vengeance. She must learn quickly, and act surely to save her otherselve’s worlds before it is too late. However, Holly, her water world otherself has other plans. Can they work together for the life of Holly’s world? Or will Qeturah succeed in wreaking havoc on both worlds? Ryan hadn’t had anything to do with her sleepwalking episode. Was she going crazy, after all? The only other explanation was even nastier: that when she’d looked into her reflection, someone else had taken over her body. Schwartz Thoughts I found that the beginning of this novel was quite confusing and somewhat hard to follow. However, as a reader, I was intrigued from the beginning. From the beginning, I also felt a connection to the main character Leah. When she was wronged, I felt bad for her. I wanted things to work out for her since I met her, which, knowing novels as I do should have had me expecting a roller coaster ride of emotions with Leah’s trials. This book provided such a ride. This book played heavily on my emotions. It nearly brought me to tears but also had me laughing at other parts. I was glued to the edge of my seat as I rapidly flipped through the pages. The characters were extremely well developed, which is something quite fantastic given the nature of this book. Leah’s character grew exponentially within the novel. I also found it interesting that even though the book had pairs of characters (otherselves); each pair differed greatly from one another. That to me was exceptional writing. This book is the first in a series, I am assuming anyway, but works just as well as a single. However, I would definitely be interested in reading deeper into Leah’s story. This book was just that well written. Reading the threat behind his words—if she wasn’t a good spy, her mother would suffer—Leah shivered. Recommendation I would highly recommend this book to fantasy readers, young adult readers, and adventure readers who enjoy faster-paced novels with romance sprinkled in. This is worth the read!
I received this ARC from Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review. This was so much more fun than I expected it to be! I'm going to try to describe things without using any spoilers! In this book, there is the True World, and 4 other worlds. The two worlds present here are Fire, which is ruled by volcanoes, and Water, which is our world. Everyone has an otherself in each world. But most people aren't aware of that. It requires magic and mirrors, and knowledge of the other worlds, of course. This story has 2 perspectives, Leah from Fire world and Holly from the Water world. (The back and forth could have been annoying, but I really enjoyed it.) Through a series of events, Leah becomes aware of the other worlds, and learns that she is a Caller, someone who can communicate with the other worlds. But there is someone trying to use Leah's gift for her own evil deeds. In these two worlds, we also have the 2 love interests. They are SPECIAL. And totally lovable. But someone is trying to kill them and destroy the worlds they live in, and the girls must learn to communicate and work together to save the ones they love and the place they call home. Even though they were the same person, they were completely different kinds of people. The author was able to create heroines that I actually really like, and the boys too. I especially loved Holly and Ryan, but felt so much for Leah also. The world that Luiken created was so interesting. The system for using the mirrors and accessing the world was interesting and fun. I absolutely LOVED the fantasy elements used in the book. Everything moved at a great pace, and the end was really exciting. I knew going into this that it would be a series, as everything is now. I didn't know whether to expect a huge cliffhanger or not. But I was so pleased with how it ended. It wrapped up a lot of things, while still leaving an opening for the next book. I mean, there are still 3 worlds that we haven't even been to yet! While I know that Leah will be a large part of the next book, I hope that we still get some Holly and Ryan time. I will definitely be looking out for the sequel! Thanks, Entangled!! **EDIT: I forgot to mention, this book needs some serious editing. But I accepted that as a flaw of an ARC. Hopefully its fixed before it releases!!**
"Through Fire & Sea" by Nicole Luiken was really hard to connect with the characters. I couldn't find any connection to them at all. They seemed so flat and uninteresting. This story is given to the reader with such a unique plot that just seemed to fail when executed out. It seemed like everything was just underdeveloped and not thought out at all. The story wasn't horrible but I think it could have been much better. I found myself uninvested in the story or the characters because I just couldn't get into the story. I really wanted to like this novel, but I just couldn't. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't find myself invested. My advice would be to work on the character development some more and try to write characters that someone can love or invest themselves into.
I wanted to love this book so much. It had such a unique plot. It was intense, complicated, extremely interesting, and fast-paced. Unfortunately, it failed in its execution. There were so many fantastical details that I was in awe of as I was reading but the writing didn't evoke the right emotions out of me to be hooked. The book is so fast-paced that it seems like the authors uses this as her reason as to why the relationships and characters are under-developed but it didn't work. The one thing that will always knock a book down a couple stars for me is instalove, and unfortunately, this book has a lot of it. I definitely didn't hate it and the ending piqued my interest about the sequel. I guess we'll see what the future holds.
I just finished reading this book last night, so it's fresh on my mind. This was unlike almost anything else I've read in a long time, because it was so very unique. Notice I had a little bit of trouble classifying the genre at the top of the post. It is definitely young adult, but part of the story takes place in a fantastical world, while part of it takes place in the real world, and/or the present day/time/place. I don't really want to tell you anything more than that because you really just need to experience this one for yourself. I'm afraid I would ruin it for readers if I went into explaining the concepts of the mirrors and the Otherselves too much more than what the summary has already done. So let's talk characters. I loved these characters. They were so well-crafted. Even though Holly/Leah and Ryan/His Otherself, are mirror images of each other from Fire and Water worlds, they are each completely unique. These are not carbon copies when it comes to personality. I love how the author was able to make them so different while they looked and sounded so similar, and even shared some traits. Leah was smart, strong, and brave, while Holly was smart, world-savvy, but a little more shy. Ryan is sweet, but determined and self-sacrificing, while his otherself is dark, brooding, but nevertheless brave and honorable. I don't read a lot of fantasy-type stories... so typically, the very things about this book that made it so "different" and "fantasy-like", might not have captured me quite so much if not for the characters. The characters made me care about them. They are what pulled me in and made me want to know what was going on, and to really invest myself into these differing worlds. The author did an amazing job in her world-building, in crafting such a unique setting and story concept. This story seemed to have it all. There is a fantasy world, magic, divergent settings, romances to die for, and an amazing villain. The writing was simple when it needed to be, poignant at other times, and tight and fast at others. It sucked me in so quickly and kept my attention riveted. The pacing was spot on, and before I knew it, I looked up and I was done with the book. I will definitely be looking for the second installment in this series. This was an amazing, spellbinding start that swept me away completely.
A dragon, murder, mystery, magic and mayhem! This is the first book in the Otherselves series. The main background to it is that there are five versions of worlds only one of which is the True World and on each version for some special people there is likely to be someone living there who is that world’s version of them. This story concerns people living on the Fire and Water worlds and some key characters who are mirrored on the worlds. Leah is the illegitimate daughter of a ruler on the Fire planet who is sent to live with Qeturah, a witch who seems able to stop an unruly dragon attacking their lands. Leah doesn’t have a good relationship with her father and only goes because he threatens to harm her Mum if she doesn’t do as he instructs her. Holly is the equivalent to Leah but she lives on the Water world (Earth!)) and she has a reasonably good relationship with her father. How the two come to meet each other and their soul mates, how they finally get to work together are key elements to the story. Needless to say, all is not what it seems, but to I still don’t want to give too many details! The story starts well, has a somewhat confusing more like 3* section but that could have been because I read it in fits and starts whilst travelling with a group of friends. However, it is certainly worth persevering through because the final half is fantastic and worthy of 5*. There are some tragic moments in the story, soul mates, murder, dragons, people having their bodies taken control of by their mirror selves, plots, schemes and romance. Generally it is fast paced, full of strong characters and intrigue to keep the reader wanting to know more. The ending is brilliant - totally finishing this story whilst still linking in superbly to the next and leaving the reader eager to learn what happens next. I’ll definitely be looking out for future books in this series! Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.