~ VIVATERA ~
Author: Candace J. Thomas
Series: Vivatera #1
Published By: Shadesilk Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2019
Genres: Sci Fi & Fantasy , Teens & YA
Source: Netgalley *Please See Disclaimer*
~ SYNOPSIS ~
The king of Southwick has fallen, and his six daughters have disappeared into hiding, each protecting a magical element that will keep the balance within the world of Parbraven. But when one of the hidden girls is captured by an evil set to obtain them all, the fate of the magical world shifts. The solution rests on a simple farm girl named Naomi, who knows nothing of this world, nor of the awaking magic stirring inside her.
Naomi Bucklingdown has no idea of the importance of her survival; her only clue is a mark on her neck – An interweaving star. In a fast moment Naomi’s life changes forever when she discovers a young woman with the same unusual mark on her neck, but before she can reach her she is kidnapped; spirited away by a mysterious stranger, Reynolds Fairborne. Reynolds alone knows the secret of Naomi’s identity. Only he knows the danger she would face if she were ever discovered, for the Kingdom of Parbraven is poisoned by magic and the only hope for survival lies in a secret only Naomi has. This is where her journey of discovery begins and her true identity is about to be revealed.
~ My Spoiler-Free Review ~
agic, adventure, and something dark are all things one might expect to follow reading such a quotation. Sure enough, Candace J. Thomas does not disappoint, and readers are left scurrying after Naomi Bucklingdown, the protagonist of Vivatera, as kicks it off with her running for her life.
However, we are not only following Naomi’s story, Vivatera recounts the harrowing adventures of Reynolds Fairborne, Zander, and several other characters – all experiencing their own struggles in different parts of Parbraven, the magical world Thomas has created. Chapters are written from a third person point of view and at times several chapters can follow one character’s travels before switching over to a different character elsewhere. This type of gradual change is very beneficial – especially in a book that is setting up for readers to read future books in the series.
This fact, that Vivatera is the first in the series, is important to keep in mind because many of the critiques about this book stem from the time spent setting up the world, characters, and other background information .
Several times I found myself wondering who a referenced character was and/or if I was supposed to know that individual or if it would be revealed later on. This was because Thomas repeatedly introduces historical figures, other characters or mythical creatures in the world of Parbraven without any follow-up. Sometimes this technique of waiting to reveal more works out, but this was happening so often, it distracted from the main story.
Typically, I am engrossed by the main character of a book simply because that is who the author reveals the most about, making it easy to form either a love or hate relationship with and for that character. Unfortunately, Naomi did not stand out in either a positive or a negative manner for me, neither did Reynolds – though, I will admit his anguished background gave him more depth.
Speaking of Naomi and Reynolds, one has to wonder about their relationship. It is hinted at the back of the book, it is hinted from the first chapter and it is something that lurks over the entirety of the story. Now, I love a good mystery, but while reading Vivatera this relationship began to feel forced – especially because it is just THERE in your face right from the get-go. Of course, by the end of the book, it is established that there is a proper reason for their connection. Nevertheless, when first reading the book I almost felt like this was making a farce of the cliché, “love at first sight”. I believe Thomas could have spent more time exploring Naomi and Reynolds relationship and connection without making it feel forced or simply as a means to keep the plot moving.
Despite these critiques, Vivatera is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Young Adult books.
Quite simply put, Candance J. Thomas did an amazing job with the world building in Vivatera. Readers will be transported into a magical world where nothing can be expected because everything is fresh and unique. In many ways, it feels like watching the beginning of the universe itself, which I suppose is true in this case since it’s the first book in the series 😀 .
Thomas also does a superb job on exploring how magic can exist in her universe and how it can be utilized by creatures and humans alike, this left me wanting to see what will come next in the series simply to see how things will progress further.
I mentioned character depth and development as a critique earlier, but I must also mention it as a positive in regards to the side characters.
Candance J. Thomas deserves credit for making me fall in love with several of the side characters, such as Zander and Ferra. Ferra’s wild and quirky nature really made her likable, while other characters were relatable and more realistic, providing a depth to their backgrounds and personalities that made me want to learn more about them or follow them.
Maybe that should be the summary of Vivatera because more of often than not readers will find themselves discovering twists that are not always predictable and this, dear readers, is the real power behind the intricacy with which Candance J. Thomas weaves her story.
Overall, I give Vivatera (3 / 5):
World-Building: (4 / 5) Character-Development: (2 / 5) Reading-Enjoyability: (3 / 5) Average: (3 / 5)
I did not end Vivatera with a million and one unanswered questions – something I am eternally grateful for – nor did I end the book with a burning need to immediately go out and buy the next book in the series. However, Thomas’s ending provides closure to the majority of the questions that popped into my head during my reading and it does so in a way that feels like a natural conclusion to this current chapter in the lives of the characters we met. I genuinely want to pick up the next book just to know what will happen to Naomi, Reynolds, and the rest of the gang in the future – it makes me want to read until the last star, the brightest of all, finishes its journey across Parbraven 😉 .
Look at the title Vivatera, which can be broken down to Viva and Tera. Viva is used typically as an utterance of spontaneous feeling in the Romance languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian expressing one’s desire for someone, or something else to live. Tera is similar to Terra which is Latin for country, region or even earth. Now I cannot tell for certain what Candance J. Thomas meant, but I interpreted the title Vivatera as a shout out for the world Thomas is creating to live and flourish.