I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.True Fate by Shayna Varadeaux
Series: True Fate #1
Published by Shayna Varadeaux Books on January 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Strange things have always happened to Nia, and until now she’s written them off as flukes. At nineteen she has seen her fair share of odd occurrences and just feels lucky.
When Nia unknowingly spoke a prophecy on her eighteenth birthday she freaked out her best friend, Rhea. Nia realizes she needs to find some answers. Rhea makes her promise to go and see her Great Aunt Amarie, but she isn’t sure if her crazy aunt could really help.
Nia finds herself unexpectedly drawn to a stranger and begins dreaming of people who seem to know everything about her.
They offer little in the way of information as to how and why. It all feels too real but Nia is unsure, at least until she wakes up with a trinket from the encounter.
When dreams and reality collide Nia will have to face dangers she never knew existed. Ready or not she will have to discover her True Fate
My Initial Reaction…
True Fate has the potential to be a really fun YA fantasy series and I hope that it will continue to grow with the next book.
I almost fell in love with these characters, but not quite. I think my problem was that there were too many of them competing for my attention – although this is most definitely Nia’s story, the other characters’ stories and romances really dominated and confused the plot at times. Case in point, as I was writing that last sentence I kept thinking of character names – Avery, Aaron, Eric, Savannah, and couldn’t remember Nia’s name! I had to go to the book description to remind myself. Of course, that could also just be because her name was one of the must unusual…
Anyway – my point is, I got a bit frustrated with all the side romances that kept blooming. Nia meets this guy Aaron and as it turns out (really early in the book, so this isn’t spoiling anything for you) they have a fated attraction to each other. For these mystical beings (part of the mystery is what they are, so I can’t tell you) soul mates is a literal thing. At first it was kind of cool, but two things really detracted from it for me – (1) that Aaron loved Nia or Nia loved Aaron was said way too often. (2) people seemed to be getting bonded to each other left and right. There was one couple that actually didn’t get bonded and I was waiting for it to happen. It took away the novelty of Nia and Aaron’s bond, not to mention distracted from their relationship. It was like romantic whiplash, everyone was falling in love with everyone!
I also just realized that this is my character section and I haven’t really said much about the characters. But this is the problem – they weren’t deep enough to really talk about. They were a bit too defined by their relationships for me. Nia clearly has a lot of growing to do over the course of the series, because as it stands right now, she’s a bit too wimpy for me. She’s always breaking down and crying. And a lot is happening – I get it – but it’s time to toughen up chica. And the moments where she tries to be commanding felt forced. The men are always breaking down and crying too… I don’t want to sound like I’m not okay with guys crying, I totally am. But it just didn’t feel appropriate here – situations where I wouldn’t really see a woman crying and the guys are getting all teary eyed.
So anyway, the characters lacked for me. As did their dialogue.
However, the world was a definite strong point. I really love this world that Shayna has created. It’s our world, but supernatural beings live among us and Nia is one of them – she’s always known something was different about her, but she didn’t know what it was. But something’s happened and it’s flipping her world upside down. Shayna developed some really cool elements here – a lot happens when the characters are asleep, because the enter another realm and communicate there. The magic potential is very neat too – I would have liked to see a lot more of it, but I see the potential for sure. I was particularly frustrated that (considering all the shifting view points) we don’t really see Aaron developing his guardian powers, just all of a sudden he says he’s been practicing in his sleep. It seemed to me that the story could have really benefited with a few less romantic focuses and little more time really showing us all this magic and the fantastic world that clearly exists in Shayna’s head. I look forward to seeing more of it.
I’m sticking by my 3 star rating because, even though I seem to keep pointing out things I wished had happened, I liked the story enough to care that they didn’t. If it wasn’t good with solid potential, I just wouldn’t care. I think I kept waiting for things to get super exciting, though, and I just hope they will in book 2. True Fate started off with this really exciting scene and then we flashed back and it took too long to get back to that point (and when we did get to it, it didn’t quite fit in. I kind of questioned whether I had actually gotten to it or not, but I assume that I did). So yeah, I’ll just reiterate – more of the action and magic that was super cool and less of the romance.
I have one other complaint that I don’t usually like to harp on, but feel I have to mention – True Fate was still in need of a good edit. I’m not talking about a few misspellings (because then I wouldn’t even mention it). Tense is constantly shifting from past to present tense… you can tell a story either way, but please be consistent. There was also a lot of sentences that were badly punctuated and it took me a second to understand them, because they should have been two sentences or had a comma or something. So I hope that the next book in the series will be more carefully edited (or that this one will get major revisions and a rerelease/eBook update). This was the Shayna’s debut novel, so I’m not going to let this be something that keeps me away from her future books at all.
In the end, True Fate had enough action and world building for me to enjoy the story and I do plan to read the next book. I hope that we’ll see a bit more character focus and get a chance to see more of this fantastic world, because I think they both have fantastic potential.