Today I have a review of the Altar of Reality! Altar just released, and it is a fantastic read.
On to the review!
I very much enjoyed this book. I think I can put this squarely in the 9 out of 10 category. I really enjoyed the story, and it was clever and well told. There were parts that felt thin to me, but that’s probably because I’m more used to the giant tomes of fantasy.
The premise of this book knocked me off my socks, to be frank. I loved that we got to hang out with MC who had epilepsy, and that her seizures were part of what made her powerful. It was a very refreshing take on main characters, and I very much enjoyed it.
There was a lot of angst in this book. Now, to be clear, if you are ready a YA book and you are moaning about the Angsty Teenagerness of the book, maybe you should consider reading a different age category. Part of the teenager experience involves the difficulties of being caught between childhood and adulthood. What this book did really well was give the MC the opportunity to have a very normal teenage experience coupled with the very exotic other world dystopian. I have to say, I thought that was masterfully done.
I wish we had gotten more of the dystopian world. I felt like there could have been more there, but when the book is split between two realities, it can be hard to present two fully formed worlds. That being said, I loved the idea and premise so much that I really didn’t mind at all, and would have followed this book for a long, long time.
The love interests. The problem with multiple love interests is that, for whatever reason, there are people who fall on both sides of any equation. I didn’t like one of the people in the triangle because I felt like those character’s actions came from the willful desire to manipulate another character, and that made me dislike that individual very quickly. I know that’s something real people have to deal with, but it made it hard to care for the manipulator later, even when bad things happened to that character. However, the split world made it really easy to understand why the other people involved in the triangle would forgive the manipulator, and this part was masterfully done (even though I never forgave the manipulator).
Lastly, the ending. I’m going to put this part in a different color, so if you want to read it you can, but otherwise, it’s going to contain spoilers.
SPOILERS. Highlight to read:
The ending is a complete cliffhanger. This book is not a standalone, and there is no closure in this book. As I got closer to the end, I was expecting some sort of wrap up, but nope, it cuts off at the knees. At least there is no question as to whether there is a sequel or not.
Altar of Reality, by Mara Valderran
Genre: young-adult, dystopian, science-fiction romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: January 22, 2015
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson at Gothic Fate
Sixteen year-old Madeline has struggled with epilepsy for most of her adolescent life, leaving her something of a social pariah. Things go from bad to worse when she wakes up from her first grand mal seizure in an extremely unfamiliar world but surrounded by familiar faces. Her hometown is in ruins, the aftermath of a Cold War turned hot.
Thomas, the boy that stomped on her heart a year ago, and his brother Brandon have been hiding her away since the explosion that killed her parents. The Lord Commander, now running the southern territories, believes Madeline died with them and the brothers need to keep it that way.
The biggest problem? The explosion happened when she was twelve.
Madeline isn’t sure what to believe. The brothers insist her memories must be of a dream life she created while in her coma. But when she returns to the reality she knows, they insist this war-torn world must be the dream. She doesn’t know if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion or teetering on the brink of insanity. As she finds herself flipping between the two lives, her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur.
About Mara Valderran:
Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.
Her debut novel, HEIRS OF WAR, has been met with great reviews and was featured on Wattpad in 2013, raking in over 600k reads. The series continues with the second book, HEIRS OF WAR, CROWN OF FLAMES, released in Summer 2014. Her short story “The Austenation” will is included in the Borderlands Anthology and she is looking forward to publishing her young adult dystopian ALTAR OF REALITY with Curiosity Quills Spring 2015.