Strayborn (Draev Guardians Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, while she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.
Learn more about her and her books at eerawls.com
- Publication Date : October 14, 2019
- File Size : 1755 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 351 pages
- Publisher : Storyteller Wings Press (October 14, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- ASIN : B07XYRP4R2
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #808,513 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The main critique I would give is Cyrus keeps a couple of secrets. One of them I could not understand, though I was sure the author had a good reason. That reason did come, but not until the very end. It was a secret that bugged me throughout, so I would have just loved to see that explanatory scene earlier. Like I said, I knew it had to be coming so it didn't deter me from enjoying the story.
I would recommend this book to lovers of fantasy of all ages. This is one I will share with my children (ages 12 and 10, who have read Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling).
Full of mystery, the story mainly follows Cyrus, a half-human half-vempar carrying a secret inside herself not even she knows, and Aken-Shou, a pureblood vempar boy hated by his own kind and determined to prove he is not the scourge they all believe him to be.
Through tragedy and plans beyond their understanding, these two meet and become unlikely friends at a school for those with elemental abilities. But no one wants to see either of them succeed expect the ragtag group of kids who share their floor called Harlow.
Between hazy pasts, weird dreams, bring chased by Corpsed, and the possibility of prison for one and the thread of death for the other, Cyrus & Aken will pull you in to their world and leave you wanting more.
This is definitely Christian ya fantasy, and the author did a fine job of weaving faith into the lives of her characters, giving it a real and authentic feel. I recommend Strayborn to upper middle-grade readers and older who enjoy fantasy stories with vampire-like beings, faeries, dragons, elemental powers, and a good mystery to unravel.
1. Cyrus Sole. I completely fell in love with young Cyrus within the first chapter, and when the story deviated from her storyline to briefly introduce a new character, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to know more about her, about how she was going to handle all the things, and where her story would take her, and what would happen next. She starts out as a sort of Cinderella-meets-Harry-Potter, but there are plenty of unique twists and turns to this tale as well.
2. Aken Shou. However, I quickly came to enjoy learning more about Aken Shou, and found him to be a sympathetic character as well. However, he takes a few of life's more difficult blows and it changes him a bit from a quiet, introspective boy into a mischievous troublemaker carrying a grudge and a well of darkness within his heart that he tries to hide. And yet, when he lets his guard down, there's an innocence about him as well that you just can't help but be drawn in by. The friendship that grows between Aken and Cyrus (though Cyrus is a bit reluctant at first) was another of my favorite things about this story.
3. Nephryte. Quite possibly my favorite character in the entire story... and that's saying something considering that about halfway through the book I began suspecting that he was actually a villain. I won't say if my concerns were founded or not... you'll just have to read the book to find out! The characters in general were all well-developed and each of them had interesting and understandable reasons for the various actions they took throughout the story.
4. The Draev Academy. I would have happily spent many more pages exploring this school. I really enjoyed the few glimpses I saw, and would have enjoyed getting better acquainted. In so many ways it felt akin to getting to go back to Hogwarts, and yet it definitely had its own feel and unique elements as well.
5. Elemental Power Manipulation. I loved the way the author took the basic idea of elemental powers that we see in many different stories and gave them her own twist. Instead of just having the four basic elements of earth, fire, water, and air, she breaks the elements down into even smaller components and each of the vempars have fairly specific abilities and focuses when it comes to their powers.
6. The plot and story... lest you think I got overawed by the characters and trimmings... this book also has a well-paced, epic story surrounding the characters as they struggle to achieve their various goals.
7. The world-building. Speaking of vempars, have I mentioned that I went through a vampire-reading phase when I was about 12? I devoured just about every MG vampire book I could get my hands on, most of them were cheesy beyond all reason, but I loved them. I graduated to Bram Stoker's Dracula in high school and actually can appreciate Stephanie Meyers for giving them her own unique twist. (Disclaimer: There are definitely parts of the Twilight saga I take issue with and I wouldn't recommend them to their target audience for many various reasons... but Meyer's making vampires her own thing is not one of the problems I have with the series). I only bring this up because Strayborn also takes the mythical "vampire" and makes it something wholly unique to this fantasy world. While vempars have the classic sharp teeth, they do not appear to feast on human blood, but rather on human "essence" which can be harvested without actually harming the human. Or at least, that's the idea. There is a darkness in the vempar culture that Cyrus begins to discover in the short time she has been living at the Draev Academy. I also liked that other mythical creatures and races were mentioned and seen throughout the story, and a lot of history is described... giving the world a feel of largeness and scope without actually having to travel terribly far. If anything, the scope that is hinted at made me wish that I could have unpacked the world itself a bit more, I feel that there is still a lot I don't understand about Eartha and how it works. I'm still not sure if it is supposed to be some post-apocalyptic version of Earth, or if it is supposed to be completely its own totally-made-up world. Part of what threw me about this is that throughout the book, the Bible is quoted and read and important to several of the characters, which made me feel like this must be some sort of variation on our own Earth.... but that is never made clear to the reader.
A few nit-picky little unimportant things that did not in any way detract from my enjoyment of this story...
I would have loved to see Cyrus spend some more time in various classes and actually learning how to use her powers or at least work on some things like conditioning and strength-training. As it was, there were parts about the end that felt a little rushed and her participation in the big competition was a wee bit difficult to fathom.
The second to last chapter detours away from the main plot and characters to follow a secondary character to his home. While there are important things that happen in this chapter, it sort of came at me out of left field like a baseball zinging the wrong direction and I was left trying to figure out why we couldn't have gotten hints of this earlier in the story, or if it even needed to be in this book at all.
After the Epilogue, there are several additional scenes called "Extra Bites" that sort of felt like I was getting a view of random "outtakes" the way you might see them at the end of a movie after the credits have rolled. Some of them were interesting, but the tone was quite different from that of the book, which was a bit jarring.
Overall, I heartily enjoyed this intriguing, mysterious, fun-filled story about a young girl searching for her place between two worlds that do not want her. I'm not sure if she's found her place yet, but she has found something equally precious: friendship and family.
If you enjoy Harry Potter, the Princess Academy, Percy Jackson, and non-sparkly vampires... I'm sure you'll love this book!