Good morning, book worms! I hope your week is going well and is filled with plenty of reading. Mine has been, for the most part.
I have a question for you: if you could choose, would you rather live in reality or in a fantasy world? I love reality, but I always find myself getting lost in fictional worlds. I mean, how can you NOT love fantasy worlds? I’d probably want to live in a fantasy world I could potentially manipulate, kind of similar to Emily’s fantasy world in Riven by Jane Alvey Harris. I had the wonderful opportunity to read Riven, so check out my review below!
Thank you to Film 14 and Jane Alvey Harris for providing a copy of Riven!
Book title: Riven
Author: Jane Alvey Harris
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Page Length: 254
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom’s strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm…the ones she’s trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn’t know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they’re infected and bleeding. She’s pretty sure she’s losing her mind.
Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they’re commandeering her conscious even when she’s awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help.
Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She’s powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment…to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out…
If you would like to see more into the world of Riven, check out the amazing book trailer!
“What is real? Who can say that the stories living inside you aren’t real?”
Riven is a beautifully intricate story about a girl who constantly slips into her fantasy world to escape her harsh reality. Emily’s fantasy world consists of the First Realm, a world with faeries; it was a world that used to bring joy to her and her siblings, until recent events have caused the world to spiral out of control. Not only has Emily’s fantasy world taken a turn for the worst, so has her reality. And both worlds start to collide together, causing Emily to wonder about her well-being and what is real and what is fantasy.
In Emily’s reality, her past is something she can’t seem to let go; dealing with physical and mental abuse and mental illness is something any child would want to escape from. So, Emily escapes to her fantasy world. But the question arises: is it all in her head or is a world that really exists? Jane Alvey Harris does a magnificent job of entwining both worlds together. As the reader, I got a sense of Emily’s disorientation of what was reality and what was fantasy; I felt her pain, her loss, her hardships; but I also felt her magic, her hope, and her fierceness. This broken girl becomes someone so strong, and seeing a character like that helps to make this an addictive read.
Weaving between both worlds, I thought, made it easier to understand Emily’s disorientation. The reader starts to comprehend her confusion, and gets a front row seat glimpse into Emily’s life. Being able to feel and understand what Emily was going through gave an insight to the life she was living and the battles she was facing. The storyline between both worlds becomes a mystery to the reader. There were times when the fantasy world was unexpected and sudden, so it became a mystery trying to figure out when the fantasy world took over and when both worlds collided.
It’s a dark and intoxicating read. Once you start reading, it’s difficult to put down because you get so engrossed in the story and in Emily’s life. You get curious about what is going on and how wonderfully well the author does with blurring the lines of both fantasy and reality. The fight between reality and fantasy is real for Emily and her siblings, and even for the reader. The story is haunting and intricately detailed in a way that makes you shiver with tension and curiosity. Jane Alvey Harris brings a fresh voice to the fantasy genre, one you will not be disappointed reading.
So I ask you that question again: Which reality would YOU choose?