“Weakness is to give in when you are being pushed to do something you know is wrong.”
Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Maray Johnson explores her new neighborhood, she hardly expects to see a medieval sword fight—especially not one that leaves her first responder to a severely injured boy, who despite all bone-deep wounds, has the nerve to kidnap her into an alternate dimension.
This is Maray’s first trip to Allinan, a world with a falling apart monarchy. It is also how she meets Jemin Boyd, a guard of dimensions, who patrols the borders between the worlds, and seems to have a particular issue with the way Maray looks.
Who is she, and why does everyone she meets look at her with either adoration or hatred? With each new discovery, Maray is left to wonder if she will ever get back home from Allinan. She only hopes that Jemin can help her uncover the truth, before the fates of two worlds are sealed…
Age Group & Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Publication Date: 2019
Format: eBook (ARC)
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review; thank you Angelina J. Steffort for the opportunity to read and review this novel. This in no way sways my review or opinion of the novel.
After posting on Instagram about an opportunity to review her upcoming novel, I OBVIOUSLY jumped at the opportunity. A fantasy and multiple world exploration novel? What’s NOT to love about that plot. After receiving my copy a few weeks ago, I finally got around to reading it … and finished it in a day. Though I have a few woes to mention below, I think this is a great start to a VERY intriguing story.
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains topics regarding blood, murder (mentioned), loss of a loved one (mentioned), torture and violence.
From the very first page, Steffort grabs your attentions as she pulls you into her magical creation. I honestly was SHOCKED with how fast I finished this book. There’s just … SOMETHING about Steffort’s writing that COMPELS you do just read one more chapter … until you realize you’ve finished it. The balance between enjoyable characters, an intriguing plot-line, the fascination of multiple worlds and a fast moving story help create this well-rounded YA fantasy novel that just KEEPS your attention until the last word.
The characters you are SUPPOSED to like are lovely, making this quite a treat for character oriented readers. Maray, our main heroine, is HILARIOUS. She’s sarcastic, full of wit and faces dangers head-on even when she’s terrified. I also appreciate how she simply just doesn’t BELIEVE in the concept of another world right away … it made her character much more relatable and authentic. Jemin, our main hero, is a bit of a downer but still manages to make me giggle with his quick responses. At the end of the day though, he’s a genuine sweetheart. As for the rest of them, they’re all so lovely. They all have their own unique personality traits and talents, making you enjoy each for different reasons. Steffort also succeeds at keeping the characters true to themselves through their behaviours, choices and traits.
Throughout the story, I kept thinking I have the plot pegged … I was SO wrong. To be honest, there are a FEW things that you KNOW are going to happen … but that’s in every book in my opinion. But what BLEW me away was how Steffort kept having me guessing at what’s to come. At the beginning of one chapter, I would think I had the WHOLE story figured out … to realize I was wrong and began developing new theories. This was a lot of fun, since it seems rare nowadays to find a book where the plot isn’t obvious.
The writing style was sometimes odd and confusing. For the most part, Steffort’s writing is wonderful. But there are a number of fight scenes that I found rather difficult to visualize or wrap my head around how EXACTLY it was happening. In addition, there are a few sections regarding the dialogue that felt oddly FORMAL but without the need to be. Phrases such as a teenager saying “I am sorry” rather than “I’m sorry”, or using longer rather than short forms and “lingoes” that are more common to hear during mundane conversations felt out of place. It felt almost too scripted. This isn’t ALL the time, but the times it does appear just felt awkward.
For the majority of the novel, everything felt too fast paced and linear. The story progression and plot just FLIES by, making it frustrating when you’re actually intrigued by the characters and multiple worlds. It felt as though there were parts missing, such as Maray exploring more of the “other” world first and learning more about herself. The timing of the story is also INCREDIBLY short (I think a week or less), which doesn’t give the characters much time to get to know one another and develop stronger relationships in a more realistic manner. If Steffort had timed everything out a bit longer and added some more “filler” content to provide room for character development and GRADUAL plot development, this wouldn’t have felt as rushed.
Though this new world seems rather incredible, there’s little world building elements to help expand on it. Personally, one of the best elements of a fantasy novel is the world building aspect; it’s always fascinating to see how these magical and unique worlds differ from our own. In Two Worlds of Provenance, we’re given a SMALL glimpse into this world. The basics are highlighted and seem spectacular, but the story doesn’t divulge into it much more than “the facts” — the settings are also pretty much limited to 4 or 5 locations, which includes both our world and the other dimension. There simply wasn’t enough for me to get a full grasp of how wonderful this world truly is and how it functions.
Note: This could ACTUALLY be seen as a PRO as well, for some people may not like the complexities of world building but still wish to read a fantasy novel.
Steffort’s Two Worlds of Provenance is an enjoyable YA fantasy novel, providing readers with a number of interesting characters and a rather compelling story. Though the story feels too fast paced, the wonderfully crafted characters and writing style are reasons alone to give this series a go.
I DO recommend this novel if you enjoy:
↠ A wide array of lovable characters
↠ The concept of multiple worlds
↠ A quick and not overly complicated (yet still intriguing) fantasy novel
↠ Unique takes on different magic systems
I DON’T recommend this novel if you dislike:
↠ A lack of world-building elements
↠ A very linear story-line
Have you read Angelina J. Steffort’s Two Worlds of Provenance?