Book in Review: Orenda by Ruth Silver8:30 PM
Author: Ruth Silver
Publishing Date: April 13th, 2014
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Rating: 3/5 stars
Join forces with a parallel universe.
Dark forces, magical creatures, and the world Lil thought she knew collide when a dream transports her to the strange world of Orenda. Stunned and terrified, Lil comes face to face with her doppelganger, Willow, who possesses the ability to travel between the two worlds. Everything Lil knows logically says that Orenda can’t exist, but a small clue may be proof that it was more than an ordinary dream. With the threat of her sister in danger, Lil crosses dimensions but it may cost her even more than she bargained for.
A sword wielding girl, the eternal suit, and a parallel universe come together in this action- packed Young Adult fantasy adventure that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages. Orenda is the first novel in the Orenda series.
Sadly, the book didn't exactly live up to my oohh-what-a-pretty-cover-so-this-book-should-also-be-good expectations. But it was altogether a decent read, and I could say that I enjoyed some of the twists and turns in the story. The plot moves quickly, and for a fantasy book this is a short read with only about 200+ pages. It could've been longer, but at least the story does not get dragged on. It starts with Lil having a weird dream, then she starts to see these people around town and she gets suck into a parallel universe called Orenda. Lil is trapped in Orenda and she wants to go home, but she also has to save her best friend Bray who is kidnapped by Ellith, the evil sorceress. The story is really fast-paced and I liked how it combined some elements of high fantasy, Greek mythology, and fairytale myths. It's really one of those books that is so indie, in the way that its premise is original - doppelgangers, parallel universes, demon sorceresses, all in ONE, where else can you find that?
However, I thought it was heavily underdeveloped and could have been improved so much more than what it is now. I found the characters unremarkable and I did not find myself rooting for anyone or empathizing with them, even the MC. Lil and her doppelganger Willow are nothing alike, but they did not feel like doppelgangers to me at all, I wish there would've been more resemblance or like interaction between the two of them. The other characters were forgettable, but I did like the siblings-from-a-parallel-universe dynamic between Jamie and Lil. The added love story, though sweet, felt superfluous, and honestly a bit like insta-love (which I absolutely abhor with every fiber of my being). They fall in love in like 3 days of knowing each other, and it just doesn't sound believable. I felt like this is one of those times when I simply have to take the author's word for it but not exactly believe it to be true for myself. The story lacked a lot of detail, and a lot of revelations and plot points were overlooked and not further explored. It was also sad that I couldn't even visualize Orenda at all. The world building was extremely lacking. It seems like a fascinating place but this time, I wish the author could've spent a few more pages telling us what we can see, aside from the changing sky colors (which is really awesome by the way!). Orenda certainly piqued my interest, but I felt like there is much more to it than what was in the book, and I hope the author puts more time into describing the world in the second book of the series.
Overall, Orenda wasn't bad; it was actually pretty decent and average. I really really think that this book holds a lot of potential and with just some more edits, it could be actually a pretty awesome read. This book will appeal to fantasy lovers and middle grade readers.