Saturday, September 12, 2015

A mini-review from upcoming novelist Sacha Rines!

I received a submission recently from a lovely young up-and-coming YA novelist, Sacha Rines, who kindly asked if I would be interested in reviewing the first few chapters of a novel she's writing. I love reading new talent - and the story seemed intriguing - so I of course said yes! As a result, I have something a little new and different for you all - a mini preview review!

As far as I am aware, this story is currently untitled, so I will be sharing with you my initial response and summary of the first three chapters that I have had the opportunity to read.

We begin the story with Venia, who is off to a new school for students that all have special 'gifts.' From there, the students of this school arrive and are sorted into various houses based upon what sort of talent they possess (i.e. Propello for those who deal with elements, Curas for those who are more medically inclined, etc.). To be completely honest, I was reminded of the Harry Potter novels quite a few times, but nothing too strong to where it impeded my enjoyment - this was still very much an amusing and unique sample! We soon learn that what Venia is capable of is unique and rather special, and I am intrigued to find out more about exactly what it means.

The pacing is a bit fast, but fortunately that didn't detract from my enjoyment. From the very start, readers are thrust immediately into the story, and there are very few stops or moments of explanation or pondering. While this is good because it easily keeps the story flowing and moving from one event to the next, I think a little bit of fleshing out and more time on certain events could help add a bit more to this story.

I loved Venia's sarcasm and attitude because of how relatable it was. It felt as though I was reading about a real person with many different sides and complexities, not a one-dimensional, dry character who barely thinks for themself. Along with Venia, Rines also introduces us to a nice array of interesting characters. We have the astute, law-abinding Akako, the humourous and boisterous Alvie, the quirky, womanizing Ty, and a slew of others that each bring their own charm and personality to make this story truly come alive.

Rines has a lovely voice full of wit, dry humour, and also charm. She's great at setting a scene and dragging you in, whether you want to or not. I can see this story going far with Rines' strong voice, as I could sense a confidence in both her writing and her clear sense of where this story is going. I really had a great time reading this sample, and did find myself chuckling aloud a few times - always a promising sign, in my opinion.

Based off of what I have read, I would definitely be one to recommend it for those who enjoy humour, a little fantasy, or a nice boarding school-esuqe book. I hope to one day have the opportunity to finish this exciting new story!

If you'd like to contact Sacha, you can reach her at

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