Friday, 8 August 2014

The Passage by Nabille de la Luz

Title: The Passage
Author: Nabille de la Luz
Series: Beyond Two Worlds #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction, Virtual Reality
Source: Kindle
Pages: 280 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Available at:

Blurb: (via Goodreads)
It's finally Kino's turn to help The Passage; A virtual world with four zones and four tests that all of Zero's young people have to attempt in order to deserve to live in Lumen, far from the radiation that everyone in the world is exposed to. But there's just one thing... if you die in the game, you die in real life.

In The Passage, Kino meets Axel and the others that will be part of her team. But she is different. Kino is covering up something more than a slight mutation in her eyes. Something that she will discover that can change not just her body, but her life and also the lives of everyone in the world.

''The Passage is not anything more than that; a test. And it depends on the score that you ended the Passage with, whether they give you a job or they let you study at the university of Lumen, or if not, you end up being an erotic ballerina or an escort to someone who bought you to avoid your almost certain death in Zone Four. Despite how weird, dirty, and ugly it sounded to have hopes of being acquired by a man, the majority of girls from Zero were anxious for that moment. It was like everyone's fairytale. But, instead of being saved by a prince, it was being bought by one.''

My Review:
After reading the blurb for this novel, I was really excited to put it on my TBR. When the author contacted me and asked for her book in exchange for an honest review, I obviously jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, with so much happening in my life right now, I wasn't able to read it as quickly as I would have liked, but I finished it, finally, and I can finally voice my opinion about it!
First off I loved the premise of the novel. It follows a world that has so much radiation that the only safe place to live is in. Lumen, a virtual world. Of course, you have to fight for your right to live there by going through a bunch of trials, and if you die in the virtual world you die in real life. This was quite the original plot life for me, I had only seen something similar in an anime called Sword Art Online (excuse the geekiness), although I know similar plots in new animus are jumping up all over the place. regardless, I had never READ anything like it and I was pumped to get into it.
Despite my hopes for this book, it did fall a little short of my expectations. There were several things that fell short that affected not only the plot, but the quality of the book, the biggest issue being the erratic world building. With any story that involves a new world that the reader is unfamiliar to, world building is essential. Many authors fall short in this area, so de la Luz isn't standing alone. Saying that though, I found myself constantly confused about the world the characters lived in. Either there was too much information given at once and some of it being a little unnecessary, or only subtle hints or allusions were given that left the reader frantically searching for some more context.

On a related note, the character development also fell a little short. While the characters were excellently described and their personalities were well established, I found that I had a hard time relating to them. While the characters gained knowledge through the novel,  I felt like very little internal growth was happening. However, I am willing to cut the author a little slack on this because sometimes it takes the second book to really see how the characters have grown since the first novel.

Of course, this book also had some great aspects. I think the strongest aspect of this book were some of the scenes. The scenes that involved Kino and her team within the virtual world were excellently depicted. The inner workings and relationships of the team were well described and the whole team dynamic was fun and actionable. The action that surrounded them was fun and engaging and I found these scenes were some of my favourite parts of the novel. Similarly, I loved Neal and his interactions with Kino. Those probably WERE my favourite scenes in the novel. I don't want to give too much away in that aspect, so I won't say anything more except that Neal was probably the best character in the entire novel.

The ending of the novel was shocking and takes the reader by surprise. I don't want to give too much away for this either, but let's just say that it definitely came out of left field. I thought the novel would have ended in a completely different way giving the contextual tools the author gave and the ending that was actually written didn't have much build up toward it and was a bit rushed. I would have liked to see 50ish more pages to go toward the ending so it wasn't so in my face. However, the little cliffhanger we are given does leave the reader interested as to what happens next in the sequel to come.

Having received the BETA version of the novel and not the finished copy, I didn't include any grammatical issues that the book had because thats what editors are for! in addition, I don't know if said author will help with any other minor issues I had with this book, or the ones listed above, so I am really giving the author the benefit of the doubt here and giving her a 3 star rating. This was a very interesting book, and I am sure that the second in the series will be just intriguing if not more so. I can't wait to read it. If you read the blurb and thing that it's interesting, I say read it. The virtual aspect was so fascinating, I was hooked to reading it once I started despite some of its short comings. A great job done by Nabille de la Luz.

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