On June 23, 2014, Ashlee Willis’ first novel will be bestowed on the world:
Her parents’ marriage is falling apart. Fifteen-year-old Posy feels her life is falling apart with it. Retreating to an old library down the street, she selects a mysterious book in a secluded corner and is magically drawn into its story…
Posy finds herself in a kingdom ruled by a cruel and manipulative king and queen who have attempted to usurp the role that belongs only to the Author of their story. The princess has fled and the kingdom is teetering toward rebellion. Posy is joined by the Prince Kyran as they fight with the characters of the story against their slavery to the Plot.
Posy and the prince search beyond the borders of the story for the runaway princess. They visit mysterious places, face horrifying monsters, and fight fierce battles. They make both friends and enemies as their journey leads them into many dangers. But some of the worst dangers, Posy soon finds, lie deep within her own heart.
Now Posy must find the courage and forgiveness needed to save the story and, most important, heal the heartache she knew in her own world.
In return for a fair review, I was given the opportunity to preview the novel.
Each major character in The Word Changers is not what they first appear. Both Posy and Prince Kieran mistrust each other, but must work together against those who have already lied to them. Knots of betrayal and untruths are lain, leading to the epic battles which fill the last half of the book. Because the characters have a good foundation at the beginning, the battles and action toward the end have high stakes and carry their weight.
Posy is an intelligent young women, who is as lost as we are when she first lands in the book’s world. Kieran is a fine leading man, with gentlemanly qualities mixed with a realistic perspective. The characters they meet along the way are bright and colorful, even the characters seeking to betray them.
Magical Creatures and Places
Centaurs, talking owls, mermaids, and a sass-talking mist are part of what populates the world of Word Changers. Deep in the forest are secret paths and dangerous illusions the Posy and Kieran must navigate, powered by a mystical force.
This is a pure-hearted adventure, of good versus evil, truth versus lies, with sword fights, puzzles and challenges, and obstacles that push our characters to their breaking point.
What Could Be Better
I would have liked to see just a little more of Posy’s home in the non-book world. There are hints of what her life was like, but having a more substantial view would have made me more invested in her journey, and the need to return home. I became invested with her within the book world, and gave little thought to her realities back home.
The ending, while satisfying, has a few points which are wrapped up too easily and quickly. The main problem is wrapped up well, but there are a few ends that are too quickly tucked in, and then the book ends. Once again, I think if there had been more of the non-book world, this would have been better resolved. I am not going to say any more due to spoilers.
What We Have To Look Forward To
This is Ashlee Willis’ debut novel, and it is a strong beginning. I’ve been following her blog a while, and I look forward to her future endeavors.
In short, if you like tales like The Never Ending Story, or The Chronicles of Narnia, if you like being pulled from the real world into a world of fantasy, adventure, and betrayal, if you like positive role models and good triumphing over evil, then check this book out.
Side Note: I am working on a final polish of one my novel The True Bride and the Shoemaker this week, and possibly into next week. I might have a post or two next week, but it may take a while for me to reply to any comments.
I am also working on building lightsabers out of fun noodles, but more on that later…