Not to insult the authors of other books I've read lately, but those novels were SO LAME compared to this debut novel by mind-blessed author Carol Beth Anderson, who imagined this amazing new fantasy series.
Facing the Sun is the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy following a community whose members are "sun-blessed." If an infant is born facing the sun and receives the blessing from a Karian midwife, they receive power that manifests in a specific area of their body. A touch-blessed person could create amazing works of art; a speech-blessed person might easily persuade others; a stride-blessed person may be able to run extremely fast.
At the time the novel opens, Tavi is born and receives a blessing over her entire body, and everyone in her community, blessed and ordinary alike, impatiently await the abilities to develop in her. Tavi's is a coming-of-age story with an immersive magical experience, delightful humor--and extra pickles.
As Tavi grows into the woman she's meant to be, she learns to trust herself and the ones who love her. Meanwhile, in another town, a sect of sun-blessed individuals have learned to use their magic for selfish reasons. It's an abomination of the magic's original purpose, and in their desire to draw support for their movement, they set their sights on recruiting Tavi.
From the first page, I was enraptured by this world and filled with anticipation for the gifts developing in Tavi and her peers. The action sequences were handled gently, and although I might have felt closer to the action with more active language, I appreciated the tightness and precision in these scenes, where a lesser author would have become sloppy.
The writing was so confident that I was finally able, for the first time in a while, to trust an author to draw an intricate picture of a new world and give me a clear lens through which to view it. She took my hand and led me gently through a shimmering forest of detail, down a dark path where danger loomed, and amongst a family of characters who truly cared for one another. My first few nights I was loath to put the book down and could think of little else as my mind revisited this new world on its way to sleep.
If you're looking for a new, immersive fantasy experience with a wonderful cast of characters, romance, and a conflict with political and religious implications, this new series is the one for you.
For more information about Beth and where to buy her books, visit carolbethanderson.com
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