Review: A Red Tale by Nicola Mar

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Title: A Red Tale

Author: Nicola Mar

Publication Date: March 20, 2014

Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/YA

Overview: Stasia goes home to St. Michael after spending the last few years studying Watyrs, the water dragons that are rumored to be encroaching on Earth. St. Michael is not the way it was when Stasia is a child. Normally the Carribean island would be beautiful and warm, but now it’s cold and covered in snow. The whole world is becoming cold.

On the island, Stasia is reunited with Amelie, a childhood friend, and the two start getting into mischief. Amelie convinces Stasia to let her conduct hypnotherapy in order to bring back childhood memories. Stasia then discovers that not only are the Watyrs real, but she was one of them.

For Fans Of: Fairytales, Melissa Meyer

World-Building: I was disappointed in this book’s world construction. There were so many elements to the world that (1) were simply accepted for being there and got no explanations; and (2) were wholly unbelievable. It’s a world with dragons and magic portals, fine, but then on top of it there’s a bunch of humans accidentally killing the diamonds that make the portals work and global cooling (which is treated like something we haven’t considered possible–for reference, we thought that was a concern in the 1970s) AND shaky concepts of therapeutic hypnosis AND an approach to it that pretends there aren’t serious methodological problems. On top of all of that, Mar uses reincarnation. But I guess at this point, why not? A set of two or three of these things may be believable, but all of them together are a bit grating.

There isn’t really a clear and thorough description of Surritz, the world that the Watyrs live in, despite many opportunities for it. Mar describes it as an inverted island without a clear explanation of what that means. The water is supposed to be all around –above and to the sides of people walking around, but there’s no real explanation, then, of how a human would breathe. It’s also supposed to only be accessible to specific humans, but that doesn’t really seem to hold weight–Stasia’s friends pretty much all can get access.

This all being said, there are some well written descriptions of St. Michael’s.

Character Development: I don’t have any real problems with the characters. Stasia was fine. Amelie at least had some overarching motivation throughout.

There wasn’t really any need for Stasia to fight to gain back her memories, or any knowledge of the Watyrs.

Plot: The plot lacked a lot of foreshadowing and moved too quickly from one even to the next, often without tying them together or really dwelling on events’ implications.

Rating: 2.5

Amazon Link:

Book Depository Link: NA

Note: This book was recieved as an eARC via NetGalley


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