Book reviews and more!


Published on December 8, 2013

The “hero’s journey” story is an evergreen of children’s and Young Adult literature, since the process of triumphing over adversity through self-knowledge and personal growth is eternally relatable. Sure, most teens don’t have to assemble a magical army and defeat Death Eaters, or elude assassins in the Hunger Games, but the central mythology is a powerful one for people at the cusp of adulthood.

This kind of story only engages us when we find the central character compelling, and Kaitlyn Hoyt succeeds admirably in making us care about the magically gifted but self-doubting Ryanne Arden. In Reaching Retribution, the final book in a four-volume series, Ryanne and her allies must unite their supernatural powers to combat a would-be dictator who plans to seize absolute power through magic. Hoyt makes this familiar plot her own with her characters’ authentically adolescent points of view, complete with impatience, impulsivity, and ignoring their elder mentors’ wise advice until it’s almost too late.

Hoyt’s a fine storyteller, and the mechanics of her magic battles are consistent, while most of the action is well paced. More rigorous editing might have helped improve the clarity of the dialogue-heavy expository scenes; overall, though, the series is an impressive achievement for a young self-published writer.

Filed under: Reviews

Comments are closed.