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Orenda #1


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Join forces with a parallel universe.

Dark forces, magical creatures, and the world Lil thought she knew collide when a dream transports her to the strange world of Orenda. Stunned and terrified, Lil comes face to face with her doppelganger, Willow, who possesses the ability to travel between the two worlds. Everything Lil knows logically says that Orenda can’t exist, but a small clue may be proof that it was more than an ordinary dream. With the threat of her sister in danger, Lil crosses dimensions but it may cost her even more than she bargained for.

A sword wielding girl, the eternal suit, and a parallel universe come together in this action- packed Young Adult fantasy adventure that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages. Orenda is the first novel in the Orenda series.

232 pages, Paperback

First published April 12, 2014

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About the author

Ruth Silver

23 books1,112 followers
Ruth Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She has written under three unique pseudo names and penned well over a hundred stories.

She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, "Deuces are Wild", which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.

Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She runs her own book blog and also enjoys photography and traveling.

Her favorite YA genre is a mix of Dystopian & Fantasy which is evident in the upcoming release of her latest book, Aberrant. Slated for release April 2013 by Lazy Day Publishing, it is the first in a trilogy.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Kimi.
93 reviews6 followers
January 6, 2015
Originally posted at Geeky Chiquitas

When I first laid my eyes on this book, I had to catch my breath. This is one of the most beautiful book covers ever - and I am not talking about the model! The lighting, the setting, backdrop and the colors all perfectly mesh together to capture the essence of what this whole book is about. The cover is enticing and just simply magical and jaw-dropping.

Sadly, the book didn't exactly live up to my oohh-what-a-pretty-cover-so-this-book-should-also-be-good expectations. But it was altogether a decent read, and I could say that I enjoyed some of the twists and turns in the story. The plot moves quickly, and for a fantasy book this is a short read with only about 200+ pages. It could've been longer, but at least the story does not get dragged on. It starts with Lil having a weird dream, then she starts to see these people around town and she gets suck into a parallel universe called Orenda. Lil is trapped in Orenda and she wants to go home, but she also has to save her best friend Bray who is kidnapped by Ellith, the evil sorceress. The story is really fast-paced and I liked how it combined some elements of high fantasy, Greek mythology, and fairytale myths. It's really one of those books that is so indie, in the way that its premise is original - doppelgangers, parallel universes, demon sorceresses, all in ONE, where else can you find that?

However, I thought it was heavily underdeveloped and could have been improved so much more than what it is now. I found the characters unremarkable and I did not find myself rooting for anyone or empathizing with them, even the MC. Lil and her doppelganger Willow are nothing alike, but they did not feel like doppelgangers to me at all, I wish there would've been more resemblance or like interaction between the two of them. The other characters were forgettable, but I did like the siblings-from-a-parallel-universe dynamic between Jamie and Lil. The added love story, though sweet, felt superfluous, and honestly a bit like insta-love (which I absolutely abhor with every fiber of my being). They fall in love in like 3 days of knowing each other, and it just doesn't sound believable. I felt like this is one of those times when I simply have to take the author's word for it but not exactly believe it to be true for myself. The story lacked a lot of detail, and a lot of revelations and plot points were overlooked and not further explored. It was also sad that I couldn't even visualize Orenda at all. The world building was extremely lacking. It seems like a fascinating place but this time, I wish the author could've spent a few more pages telling us what we can see, aside from the changing sky colors (which is really awesome by the way!). Orenda certainly piqued my interest, but I felt like there is much more to it than what was in the book, and I hope the author puts more time into describing the world in the second book of the series.

Overall, Orenda wasn't bad; it was actually pretty decent and average. I really really think that this book holds a lot of potential and with just some more edits, it could be actually a pretty awesome read. This book will appeal to fantasy lovers and middle grade readers.
Profile Image for Imani.
484 reviews48 followers
September 8, 2015
guys. I may have not read this book, but this is the most DROP DEAD GORGEOUS COVER I HAVE EVER EVER SEEN IN MY LYFE.

This Book Wins #1ST PLACE for:
The Most Beautifulest Book Cover that has EVER EXISTED ON THE PLANET.
I'm not judging the model on the cover, it's just the backdrop and lighting and everything. it's magical....
Profile Image for Allie.
17 reviews
September 11, 2014
Sooo I loved this book. Did I say love? Yes, yes I did. This book makes me want to travel to the Bermuda Triangle and hope it transports me to another world. Okay, maybe a bit much, but really… The book was a little fast paced but Silver was still able to keep all the details needed to paint a scourge laden picture.
Full review: http://abibliophobictendencies.wordpr...
Profile Image for Nancy (The Avid Reader).
2,281 reviews96 followers
May 9, 2014
I received a free copy of the book from the author for my honest opinion.

Lil has this strange dream that she had been transported to a different world, world that mirrored her own but was different in so many ways. In this new other world Lil meets her doppelganger Willow who has the ability to travel between the two worlds. The dream seems so real to Lil but everything that she has been taught tells her that this other world is not real.

But she meets this guy Rawlie who takes her to this other world. Rawlie is Willows boyfriend and he has brought Lil to their world to help him save Willow from this evil lady who has destroyed their world. Lil is not too happy at first about being kidnapped and brought to this other world they call Orenda but she has no choice but to stay until she can get one them to take her home or she can find a way back to her world. But before she can find a way back to her world she finds out that this evil woman has not only taken her doppelganger Willow hostage she has also taken Lil's best friend Bray hostage as well. And Lil will not leave Orenda until she can get Bray back and they can leave together.

Bray and Lil have been best friends for a very long time he just lives across the street from her so they have practically grown up together all their lives. When Lil is taken to Orenda she meets another guy Hudson whom makes her feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Lil is not quite sure as to what these feelings are seeing how she has never had a boyfriend before. Hudson has some ahh warm feelings for Lil himself and knows exactly what they are. Hudson thinks that Bray is really Lil's boyfriend and that she is just pretending that he isn't but he finds out soon enough though.

Bray and Lil have been best friends for a very long time he just lives across the street from her so they have practically grown up together all their lives. When Lil is taken to Orenda she meets another guy Hudson whom makes her feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Lil is not quite sure as to what these feelings are seeing how she has never had a boyfriend before. Hudson has some ahh warm feelings for Lil himself and knows exactly what they are. Hudson thinks that Bray is really Lil's boyfriend and that she is just pretending that he isn't but he finds out soon enough though.
Profile Image for Brittany.
105 reviews73 followers
August 11, 2014
Ruth Silver is one of my favorite authors, her books are always well paced, original, and beautifully written. She also happens to be the author of one of my favorite dystopian series, Aberrant. Check out my review here: Aberrant

Orenda is a book full of fantasy and adventure. I have been getting tired of dystopian so Orenda was a breath of fresh air. There is romance, adventure, tough decisions, and some strong heroines (Lil and Willow). The idea of a parallel universe is always intriguing to me because it seems somewhat plausible in mind. I am not saying I believe in aliens but I think it might be a bit naive to think we are the only life form in the whole universe . Anyways, Lil and Willow are so very different on certain aspects but very similar on others. They are willing to go to extreme lengths to save the ones they love. To avoid any spoilers, I will just say that Lil is asked/summoned to Willow’s universe because they need her help and she has to decide what she will risk to do so.

I loved this book and it only got better the second time I read it. I already can’t wait for the second book. Ruth is quite extraordinary when it comes to publishing a ton of books so I hope it wouldn’t take too long to get the next one.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
142 reviews5 followers
April 27, 2014
This is an excellent YA fantasy with a little twist of Greek Mythology squeezed in!

The characters are wonderfully written, and quite the cast! Although this is just the introduction, you get to know important facts about each person, or creature, involved. There’s a hint of romance, and a great deal of heartbreak involved. These kids seemed somewhat naive, but brave, and I was impressed with the compassion they showed each other. Lil and Bray were exposed to different sides of Orenda during their stay, with Bray’s being the worst, but Willow and her gang helped them every step of the way.

The background on Orenda is a little hazy, but the author gives enough to satisfy for now. I expect the gaps will be filled throughout the series, but I have to admit that I’m completely satisfied with this book. The writing style is intelligent, easy to follow, and fast paced. Each twist was unexpected and brilliantly placed, which made the story more addictive!

After dealing with a demon sorceress, the darkest version of Tinkerbell I’ve ever heard of, and a few mental bombshells, I am anxiously awaiting the author’s next move!
Profile Image for Kristen Cansler.
282 reviews249 followers
November 24, 2014
Whoa! I really enjoyed Ruth Silver's Dead Girl Walking, so I was excited to have the chance to read another one of her works. Fantasy has always been a genre that I have a lot of love for, but can get easily bored with. Orenda never presented that problem! It was so fast paced and engaging that I was absolutely absorbed!

This book is brimming with adventure and unexpected twists and turns. All of the characters, even the evil sorceress, were so well thought out and I enjoyed them all immensely. Lil was my favorite, though. The courage and bravery that she showed was really admirable. I loved going on this adventure with her!

Ruth Silver is easily moving into my favorite author category. Her books are always so rich with detail and descriptions. It took no time before I was lost between the pages of Orenda. If you love fantasy worlds that promise adventure and a brilliant escape, look no further than Orenda!

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.
Profile Image for Danielle Peace.
12 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the settings and characters of Orenda. Ruth Silver does a very good job setting up the different personalities and changing the view point so you get a feel for everything that is happening. I wish she had taken some more time explaining the differences and mystic side of Orenda. I really hope she gives more detailing in the next book. It's a fascinating concept. My main complaint is pacing and I'm not entirely sure what was happening romance wise. It's hard to describe without giving away spoilers. I understand why the path with the main romance was taken but it feels incomplete and rushed. More like an after thought it finish a plot line.

I would recommend this book for younger viewers. More like tween level. With a little bit of tweaking for that age I could easily see this becoming the next big thing.

**Complimentary copy given for an honest review by This Redhead LOVES Books blog**
Profile Image for T.H. Hernandez.
Author 9 books204 followers
December 31, 2014
Lil discovers an alternate world similar to her own, including Willow, Lil's very own doppelganger. In Orenda, Willow has a younger brother, Jamie, the same age as Lil's younger sister, Jamey. But that's not where the weirdness ends. When Lil accidentally ends up in Orenda, and her best friend, Bray, comes looking for her, her life becomes a nightmare. She's forced to rescue Willow and Bray from an evil sorceress who brought about the Scourge to Orenda and plans on doing the same in Lil's world.

She meets Willow's boyfriend, Rawlie and his good looking cousin, Hudson, who may or may not have a thing for Lil. They go to the Fae for help, and everything culminates in a pretty intense climax, with the door wide open for a sequel and a return visit to Orenda.

The story opens with a bang, but then takes its time getting back there. The plot moves, but also sort of meanders in that movement. All Lil initially wants is to go home, but she can't do that without Willow's help, nor can she leave her best friend, Bray, behind. There were several really good plot twists I never saw coming.

The book is pretty short, particularly for the fantasy genre. Many events are told to us rather than being shown. I think this could have been a really engaging read, where I was completely immersed in the world of Orenda, with a little deeper point of view and drawing out some of the pivotal moments a little more. But the story is definitely interesting and I will definitely read Elfinland, book 2 in the series, when it comes out.

World Building
The world building is good. Orenda is fascinating place, and I would have loved for the author to have spent more time drawing me into it, showing me more of this world. Most fantasy is really heavy on world building, and I felt Orenda could have used a bit more. It's an intriguing place, but I feel like we've only really scratched the surface instead of being immersed in it.

Because Ruth Silver uses third-person point of view, it's difficult to get very deep into any one character and the random head-hopping can be distracting. But the characters are interesting and not stereotypical. It would have been nice to get a little deeper inside their heads, though.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Orenda
1. The Lil/Willow dynamic. These two doppelgangers are not the same and their love/hate relationship with each other is snappy.

2. The Lil/Jamey and Willow/Jamie relationships. I love the sibling love between these kids.

3. Hudson. He's probably the most interesting character in the story. I can't wait to see more of him in the next book.

4. Orenda. Although I feel like I need to know more about it, the pink skies alone have me itching to go back.

5. The infinity suit. Because who doesn't want clothes that can save your life?

Bottom Line
Orenda is a decent first book in a fantasy series that lacks some depth, but is a fun, fast read.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
October 7, 2014
I bought my own copy of this book and reviewed it for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

Love fantasy? Love epicness? How about parallel worlds? Then Orenda will be right up your alley. One of my bookish goals is reading all of Ruth Silver's books, and this is my second one by her. I recently read Dead Girl Walking and loved it. I'm happy to find out Orenda is the first in a series - when I initially added it to my to-be-read list, I thought it was a standalone - and after reading it in one sitting, I need more of Lil and Willow.

Lil thought she was having a dream when she finds herself in an alternate reality - she's still in her house but her family photographs have been replaced with pictures of her with a little boy. No photos of her parents or sister can be found. She's can't find her parents or her sister anywhere. When she wakes up, a small clue leads her to believe it was more than just a dream, and she's right.

It's up to Lil to save Willow in Orenda, the world parallel to Lil's, and if she doesn't, her own world will be in danger, too. I can understand her trepidation in helping out virtual strangers in a world she didn't know existed until a day or two ago. I think for me, I probably would have been like, "Yeah, let's go beat that demon sorceress!" I'm always looking for adventure though - one of the reasons I love reading and losing myself in books. I've never read about a demon sorceress, so that was fresh and original - and I LOVED IT!

When Lil finds out her friend Bray has been kidnapped along with Willow, I admired her for taking up training with a sword to make the rescue. I love reading about romance, adventure, and kick ass characters, and Lil and Willow are definitely both kick ass ladies.

While the pacing was a bit quick for me, I still enjoyed Orenda immensely. It was a breath of fresh air, and I can't wait for more!
Profile Image for Mallowleef.
4 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2014
Note: I do not recommend this book to anyone who avoids reading stories that contain inappropriate content (kissing, etc.). There are people whose religious beliefs have given them a deeper understanding of how two people, who are not married, should act. I had to mention that because I am one of them.

Orenda has reminded of the reason why I am a fan of Ruth Silver’s: dull moments do not exist in her works! She does not exaggerate things and yet she manages to leave her readers wanting for more. How is that even possible?

Anyway, this book is an exciting read from cover to cover. It starts off by giving the readers an insight of what Orenda, a parallel world, is like. Then, it ends with... well, it leaves you wanting for more. (This review contains no spoilers. What did you expect?) As for the romantic scenes, Ruth Silver made me feel like I was in high school all over again. The author took one step at a time establishing the relationship between the lead character and her lover, which made it realistic. Basically, It was the right amount of love thrown into the mix: not too potent and not too bland. Although things took an unexpected turn between the two lovers, I hope to see a sequel to their relationship... in the coming sequel this fall titled Elfinland (Orenda Book 2).
Profile Image for David.
Author 2 books10 followers
July 21, 2014
Orenda is about a girl named Willow, or Lil as she prefers to be called. She has a strange dream and starts seeing people from her dream around town. Eventually she goes with one of them and learns a parallel world exists. It's similar to ours except for the presence of magic. Lil learns that a demonic sorceress is destroying this world and is seeking to do the same to our world. Lil has to work with her new friends to find a spell book before the evil sorceress does or Earth is doomed.
The story is very fast paced, but it is well written. The story combines elements of high fantasy with fairy tales. I wasn't expecting to see someone from Arthurian legend appear in the story. I've also read about the groups of fairies known as the Unseelie Court and the Seelie Court, which are either mentioned or appear in the story. This is something fantasy lovers will want to read.
The h-word is used a few times. The sorceress is mentioned to eat people, though we never see her do it.
We should use our gifts and talents to help others. If we spend our time seeking worldly fame and glory we may lose the things that are far more precious. We should be willing to help those in need.
8 reviews
May 6, 2014
Brilliant writing! Orenda was a breath of fresh air on the fantasy genre. I'm not always a fan of fantasy stories. For me, they're hit or miss. Too often they're slow to build up the plot, with too much information thrown at us in terms of world building. Orenda was nothing like the other fantasy novels I've ever read.

The story follows the girl Lil as she's thrown while sleeping form a dream into a parallel world. When she wakes up, Lil discovers that it might not have been a dream, but doesn't just go blindly into believing it either. The story continues to bulid and grow, showing us her world briefly before being tossed into an exciting adventure in another universe.

Orenda had excellent character development. I loved Lil and Hudson most of all. Bray was great too, especially with Willow when they were held captive. There was some twists and turns, making you wonder what would happen next. Plus the story included dragons and fairies to make the other world filled with magic and show the differences between dimensions.

At the end, the story provided a solid conclusion and also a teaser into a second book the author is writing.
Profile Image for Kirsty Bicknell.
657 reviews67 followers
December 3, 2014
Orenda has a cover which makes me gasp because of its beauty, though unfortunately this time the story failed to capture me in its magic.
I have been a fan of Ruth Silver since reading Aberrant and previously her stories have been rich in description, with vivid and interesting characters. In Orenda, however, her writing style seems different and in my opinion, her characters are mostly one-dimensional. Though the plot moves quickly, events and their repercussions are not fully explained.
At the core of Orenda is the ideas of parallel worlds and doppelgangers, which is intriguing. I was a little taken aback by the enthusiasm of Lil and Bray, who seem unsurprised by the challenges which face them and a little too eager to meet fae and fight magic!
The added romance is sweet, but it feels a little unnatural and created more to fulfil the reader’s expectations than because it is necessary to the story’s development.
Although my reaction to Orenda is a little mixed, it has plenty to offer fantasy readers and think it would appeal to many middle-grade readers, as well as those who enjoy the young adult genre.
Profile Image for Robin.
19 reviews
May 6, 2014
Cover art - 5 stars

Plot - 5 stars The perfect novel for middle grade and teen readers. Easy to get into, but not too basic to be considered boring. There were lots of twists and a huge revelation that I'm confident no one saw coming.

Pacing - 5 stars. Constantly felt like something was happening. I always wanted to turn to the next page. The chapters are considerably long for a middle grade book, so maybe young adult is better suited for Orenda. Either way, it was well-paced. The chapters didn't feel long, and I like to read a lot, so I'm okay with it.

Characters - 4.5 stars. I would like to have gotten to know a few of the minor characters a bit more. Of course they are minor characters for a reason. I was able to connect with Lil, Willow, and Hudson quite well. I liked the dynamic between Lil and Hudson, Willow and Bray, Willow and Jamie, and Rawlie and Willow. Well shaped characters.

Overall - 5 stars
Profile Image for Sandra Stiles.
Author 1 book69 followers
April 27, 2014
I enjoyed the author’s Aberrant series so I figured I would like this series. I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved the idea of alternate worlds. I am not so sure I would like to meet my doppleganger though. For me most fantasy authors spend so much time building their world that I get lost. There is more world building than plot. Ruth gave just enough about Orenda to keep me interested. I look forward to seeing what else I learn about this world in the next book in the series. I believe this is exactly the kind of fantasy book my middle school students will enjoy. Can’t wait to let them know about it.
Profile Image for United Indie Book Blog.
4,257 reviews79 followers
April 28, 2014
Orenda (Orenda #1)

Want to start of by saying the cover art was magical !

The world of Orenda seems frightening yet magical and because of the " dream travelling" I had a bit of an Avatar feel to the story :)

I found the characters well portrayed and each one's point of view is brought across.

After reading Orenda I was pondering on the possibilities of a "parallel universe" and what coukd happen in my dreams !

Reviewed by Heidi
Profile Image for Sharrice.
1,187 reviews64 followers
April 28, 2014
Wow! Orenda is definitely not what I expected. I enjoyed the multi-world and the multiple POV's. All around a cute fast paced story that I read in one sitting. I felt all the characters had great personalities that stood out from one another. While some of the story felt rushed I honestly didn't mind much. Orenda was an amazing place and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Cyndi  Flores.
85 reviews38 followers
May 13, 2014
I really like fantasy type books, and this was no exception, great read and a great world "orenda" is a world you will not forget.
Author 1 book1 follower
June 25, 2022
This is one of my favourite books on the subject and yet it is the sad story of the Huron Aka Wendat nation..

Bird is great warrior and his family was murdered by the Iroquois. He saw in the daughter of the family he murdered the spirit of low daughter. He adopts Snow Falls and he treats her like her Daugherty.

Although the Wendat and the Wendake (Iroquois) share the same linguistic family, as said Bird: "We have been fighting each other since I can remember) Bird has a lady friend name Gosling and there is the Jesuit: Christophe who records everything in a bound book for his supervisor. Bird has another friend: the great warrior Fox. Decimated by Influenza and war parties the Wendat nation suffered.
Profile Image for Ashley Jellison.
32 reviews1 follower
October 4, 2014
*Originally posted at The Word at My Fingertips

All right, I have to be totally honest in my review. Even if it kills me.

So this book had so much potential in my eyes. Seriously. A bunch. I was dying to read it right when I got the email and I was so ecstatic to be chosen to review. But honestly? I could have passed this one and been okay.

It's not that the book wasn't good; it was. It just had some huge things that irked me to no end. That being said, I really really enjoyed the plot. It is such a good idea and I love how the story was put together. It was interesting to go through the parallel world with Lil and her friends. Also, the beginning was great. Seriously set the standard for Orenda.

Now, having said that the plot was good, I'll move on to some things I disliked. I mentioned that the standard was set pretty high from the start. The start was oh-my-gosh crazy and plot-twist-y and simply put, great. After that, the story fell short of my expectations. Again, not because of plot, but because of style, mainly. And a few other key things.

Detail. Detail, detail, detail. It is needed, and a whole lot more than was used. We are thrown into a new world and I couldn't visualize the place well, besides the very obvious sky changes. I wanted so much more thrown into this. Pack it with detail, not unnecessary detail, and it will improve so much. It would also make the characters more realistic, as they are a little vague right now.

I needed more realistic reactions between characters. This is my nitpicky editing here, but the one instance where something really stuck out was when one character's little brother goes somewhere and almost dies. He is healed and then his sister lets him go back in. Wait, what? Yes, she let him go BACK, and only later does she say she'll never let anything happen to him. I'm not so sure about everyone, but if my family member just almost died, they wouldn't be going back there ever, or escaping my arms. Same thing happens later. Lil (who was reported to the police as being kidnapped) returns home and her best friend just hugs her and seems slightly happier than usual. Lil's younger sister does the same thing. I feel like if someone had been kidnapped, the first reaction upon their return would be tears and sobbing and sniffling and embracing. Not just "Hey, you're back!"

There are certain instances in Orenda where characters "reveal" something about themselves or others that, if true, should definitely have been expanded on in the book. Like it's revealed Rawlie is in love with Willow. He didn't even act like that until it was mentioned. Same with this guy telling Lil that her best friend is in love with her. After the initial WHAT?! I got, I got a second WHAT?! because Bray never acted like he even remotely was romantically interested in Lil. She seemed to get some stirrings in the beginning, which greatly bugged me because they weren't explained later, at all.

That leads me into my next point. Love triangle. Okay, some books can pull them off in a way that makes everyone smile and cry with joy. The Infernal Devices trilogy, for me. But usually, I hate them. Ew. Love triangles. This one definitely did not pull it off, because it was thrown in randomly and then never put into play. Hudson tells Lil that her best friend, Bray is in love with her. Then attempts to kiss her. In one scene. What. Yeah, and then it's never ever seen again. Bray and Lil are just friends. No need to make it something it's not so that the other guy has fake competition.

Last thing is really minor, but big to me. At one point, Lil realizes that if she likes Hudson, she will possibly hurt him, and her. So she literally says, "I decided not to have a crush on him." Um, what? As far as I know, and from what I've heard from so many others, you don't just decide if you don't want a crush on someone. That's why they are so annoying. Because you can't control it.

Overall, I actually didn't mind this book as much as it probably looks, but I didn't love it. I may or may not pick up the sequel when it arrives. Not sure yet. It won't kill me to leave the series now. But honestly, Ms. Silver, I hope you see this more as editing than tearing Orenda down, because I really think that a few things, especially detail, will make it a killer series.

Rating: 3 stars
Profile Image for Chyna.
241 reviews123 followers
April 29, 2014
My thoughts...

Lil is from Earth while Willow is from Orenda, a world where everything that is labeled as a fairytale has come true. Lil has been abducted by a boy from Orenda because he believes she can save Willow from a demon sorceress, but Lil doesn’t believe in herself to survive this conquest till she found out they have her best friend in the demon castle trapped alongside Willow. She can’t back out now knowing that Bray might die because fear found its way into her life.

Her reflection was different. Her pale skin had a distinctive creamy glow, and her eyes had brightened to ocean blue instead of their usual faint sky blue. Her long, brown hair now had streaks of blonde highlights She glances down at the tips of her fingernails and noticed they were a midnight blue with yellow bolts of lighting.

I was intrigued by the plot of Orenda so I requested a copy from the author, the eerie cover made it even more exciting for me to read. The design is supposedly revealing the powers of a sacred spring. It looks brilliant, but as I got to read Orenda the world-building came out so weak. The setting came out as blur, I wasn’t sure how I were to imagine this magical place called Orenda. Geographically, Earth is almost similar. The fast pacing of the book made it worse for me and during that hastened event the love interest had been affected along with the ineffectual plot. The reason the story came to fall was because of the unpolished writing. It was quite simplistic and not really detailed or essential to the story, and also that affected the characters. In some ways both the people from Orenda and Earth seemed to have the exact same persona and purpose. The sounded all impassive...even in the most serious situations.

"Please tell me you’re coming up with a plan to escape. I don’t want to become that guy.” Bray gestured to the skeleton on the table in front of them.

Mostly the novel had no individuality. It had upset me for a while and it hasn’t improved, not even when I reached half of the book. Lil seemed to be too trusting from my perspective, there was no explanation why she believes this kind of crap when all she believed in was reality. There’s no such thing as sorceresses or parallel universes.

There’s no bursting of information because they didn’t give much information at all. None of the characters were asking questions why this is happening or how this ever happened, at times they began to question but it didn’t suffice or calm my frustration. The pacing truly did not do justice to the book, it was far too rushed.

I’ll be more careful,” she said. Glancing ahead, she could see Willow, Jamie, and Rawlie waiting for the two of them to catch up. “Good,” Hudson said, reaching for her hand once more. “Just in case.” He smiled, taking her hand in his and locking their fingers together.

I did enjoy the brief moments where Hudson and Lil were intimate with each other. The author made me think it was going to be the first handsome guy to show up in the book to be the love interest, but I was mistaken. I didn’t expect Hudson to show up so smoothly. Warning there will be a love triangle, but it hasn’t fully developed yet in the first book. It is insta-love with Hudson if you’re wondering. There are lots of things indefinitely wrong about their attraction to one another. First off, Hudson was disregarding Lil after their first contact then sooner they began to have these petty conversations with flirting involve. It was fun reading about Hudson, but insta-love has never been in my favor.

The author should improve on her writing skill, plot, world-building, individuality of characters, romance and plot enders. It can be quit predictable at times, but Ruth Silver had her twists that should have come up strong with her weak writing style it didn’t seem that shocking to me. Anyways, some of you might be able to enjoy this book because parallel universes are very popular this year.
Profile Image for June Pace - Schneider.
Author 3 books71 followers
October 6, 2014
I love the premise of this story, the idea of parallel worlds is very intriguing to me, I was really looking forward to someone else's take on the idea. Plus the cover of this book truly grabbed my attention…I was very excited to begin this adventure. It's actually the first time I've considered reviewing a book…that's how much I loved what I saw and read in the synopsis.

The mystery begins on a good note, the characters are believable and the general theme of the book is inviting, it's all exciting and you follow along with the intrigue immediately. It really grabs your attention right away.
However, the jumps in the writing were really throwing me off in a big way, almost immediately. There's an entire scene in the kitchen with her sister eating breakfast and she gets up to let someone in the door and the very next sentence is her sitting in a classroom at school? Huh? I had to re-read to see what I missed, but realized we had simply changed scenes without warning or paragraph breaks. This style of writing, mistakes in punctuation which made it really unclear who was speaking at times, happened so much that I really felt I could not continue reading the book. It seriously challenged me on more than one occasion, and I almost just put it down several times. However, I really wanted to like this book, given the synopsis, and give it a fair chance, so I read on.

The story did become more interesting and I definitely wanted to see where it would go. Although I had trouble with the instant acceptance of the main character's situation, of being thrown into another world (which didn't seem that much different than ours), there should have been more angst or questioning to me. It seemed like everything was a bit of a breeze instead of the shocking thing that it was. Too much detail was left out for me, it was all simple. And without giving anything away, there were two main instances in the story where someone is revealed to be something else and it is so blatantly glanced over that it appears rushed, like the author didn't want to take the time to explain the circumstance, or give more intrigue. I wanted to know more, I was incredulous, why wasn't the protagonist as upset? It really bothered me a lot, there was no urgency or feelings of betrayal at something so astounding…it didn't go deep enough. Instead the day carried on like any other.

Now, having said all of this, I did finish the story and would like to see where it goes, if for no other reason than pure curiosity. Like I said, there are some interesting characters and ideas…I want to know more. I want to know how its all going to end.

And speaking of endings. I was reading on my kindle and when another title came up on the next page I thought it was just a second part of the book, this happens so I didn't think it was unusual. And since the author's way of writing was so cut up at times, it just seemed natural to keep reading. Except that it kind of started in a whole other place and it was confusing, until I got to the end and realized the author had placed a sample of the next book immediately after the first, again, with no warning. It just appeared on the very next page! Happy that I wasn't completely bonkers, I went back to read the last of the first book again and realized, geez, it really did just simply end! It wasn't a cliff hanger that keeps you clinging to the edge of your seat, waiting for the next book to come out….it literally just stops with questions rather than suspense and a situation (one of the ones I mentioned above), with a family member and a room that was a pivotal and shocking point of the story, that went right by without a hick up, like it was no big deal…?!

Even after my personal trial of reading this story, I would have to say that if you love the fantasy/adventure/dimensional thing then give it a try…I see some good reviews, so there you have that. I think the idea is very interesting, but I feel it just needs some fine tuning and a bit more background or something deeper, more world building. Take your time Ruth, give us the juice and it could make a good series.

That is of course assuming the author delivers in the end.
192 reviews98 followers
June 17, 2015

Review copy provided by author.

A plot speaking of parallel words, dark forces, magic and action and an equally intriguing cover, consisting of what I assume is the sacred springs, is why I decided to request a review copy for this book.

While concept-wise, this book is amazing, the fault lies in how it was executed. The world-building, for instance, could have done great things by itself, but it was pretty much lacking. Or rather, absent. We are told what that is, where that is and how it works, but simply in the form of a mere sketch. This is why most things about the world didn't make sense, like the technology in Orenda. (No phones, but they had planes. Okay, brother.)

My main problem was that I couldn't connect with anything. The scenes were anticlimactic. For example, before we meet the villain, it is suggested how dark and fearful she is. I'm not sure what I was expecting but Eilith made me roll my eyes until it hurt. She had literally no remarkable features about her, and was the kind of villain you read about in fairy-tales. She was evil, wicked, unforgiving, and bad. What harm could it have done if she had some personality aside from these witch-qualities? I guess it depends on your taste, but I don't fancy my characters black and white.

Apart from that, the scenes were rather uneventful too. I would expect something more action packed, something more remarkable, to be disappointed every time. Usually, our characters would have some loathe-filled conversation with the villain before their departure. (Usually, with one of them harmed. I mean, dude. What do you expect? She's the villain.)

One thing I noticed, which I'm neither going to claim as an error or do otherwise was the writing. On the larger scale, it was pretty good and simple - in the fact that it lacked details which I would have preferred. But sometimes, emotions or expressions would be defined after the dialogue. For instance:

"I don't understand". Jen said, and furrowed her brows.

sounds a bit awkward (and like they're faking it) when compared to:

Jen furrowed her brows and said,"I don't understand".

I'm no expert, but don't feelings come before words? Without getting too scientific, I felt like this factor contributed to how I didn't connect with the characters. It just felt awkward, be it even if I'm reading too much into it.

Lil and Willow are two characters from the book who are lookalikes from parallel worlds, and I liked neither Lil nor Willow. Lil felt too naive and nice for my liking while Willow felt overdone with her kickass personality.

There's no love triangle so far, but it's fair said that it will develop further into the series - between Hudson, Lil and her bestfriend, Bray. If it happens, it will absolutely pointless because we all know who will end up in the bestfriend zone. Forever. (Psst. It's the bestfriend.) Then again, it is Lil who called Bray a brother so a love triangle would be weird. Very.

Now for Hudson and Lil and their little bunch of lovey dovey feels and romance. When Lil meets Hudson, he's pretty mean to her and deserved a kick or two, but suddenly they're flirting and being cutesy. And before we know it, they're kissing and exchanging love. This, wasn't exactly insta-love but too close to it for me to have liked it. I might like Bray in the future, but he wasn't presented in a way that suggested he was part of the team - he wasn't even there during the "important" events.

All in all, this is a book that lacked character growth, world building, and needs a good dose of originality. If more focus was given to the fact that this was a parallel world, and if things didn't feel silly and emotionless, I might have liked it better.
Profile Image for Ashley Ferguson.
356 reviews23 followers
January 2, 2015
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

The synopsis of this book sounds really fantastic. Parallel worlds, doppelgangers, magic, sword-fighting... it sounds like it has everything for the makings of a great fantasy book! And while all of the parts are there, I felt like the execution was a little bit off. I still thoroughly enjoyed Orenda and will be coming back for more (Elfinland comes out soon! I hope!), but there were parts of this book that just didn't mesh well for me.

I really liked the idea of the parallel worlds, and that Willow is in charge of guarding who can cross between the worlds. I also thought it was really interesting that Willow can go to Earth, but only Rawlie can bring them back. It implies some thinking on the part of the Mystics (who grant powers), since one person does not have the ability to travel freely between worlds. It might be inconvenient in this situation, but it's better overall that way. I'm still not sure how I feel about Lil though. She's actually kind of annoying and way too trusting. Like who visits a parallel world, gets thrown in to the middle of a decades-long war, and just goes along with everything? I certainly would not.

As far as the boys go, I always cheer for the best friend (because hello! Obviously they should get together if there are feelings there!). Bray is so obviously in love with Lil, but she just doesn't see him that way and it's really kind of sad. I mean, I get it, but still. You'd think once someone points it out to her that she would realize it instead of denying everything. Then there's Rawlie, who I was afraid was going to be the love interest. It was just way too convenient, and I'm glad Ruth had other plans for him. I'm sure he's a great guy and all, but he definitely goes better with Willow.

And then there's Hudson. I felt like the relationship here was really rushed and built on pretty much nothing. One page, Hudson is a real jerk to Lil and she can't stand him. A few pages later and she decides he's not such a bad guy after all? I can see where that could happen, but those few pages span a couple of hours and he's trying to beat her up and teach her how to fight with a sword, so I don't think the circumstances really merit her starting to possibly develop feelings for him. It was just really fast and sudden and their relationship took me a little by surprise.

I did really enjoy all of the faerie and mythological elements in Orenda though. I had no idea there were such things as the Seelie and Unseelie courts until recently, but I'm glad I had that knowledge prior to reading this book because it really added to my understanding of Ruth's fae. And I loved that the Faerie Queen is named Morgan LeFay, and I hope there's more about her in the next book(s)! I'm really curious to know more about her and why she takes the things she does in exchange for favors.

Overall, the concept behind this book is really exciting and different, but the execution of it falls a little short. The world-building isn't as in depth as I usually like in a fantasy book, and the characters are left very flat. Especially the villain. The plot moves very quickly - sometimes too quickly - and I found myself confused and having to reread parts to make sure I didn't miss anything. I still enjoyed this book though, and would give it a 3/5!
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,795 reviews31 followers
September 20, 2014
Good book, I had some trouble reading it, but all in all, I enjoyed it!

Full Review from Blog:
This was a pretty good book. I had issues with it, like sometimes the phrasing felt off, or things were explained in a way that I could understand, like I'd have some questions and it felt like I shouldn't have them, or the characters spoke weird for their ages, or for the times, though admittedly, it is a mulitverse series, with differences, but it was still annoying! My problem, is that I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but I didn't want to read it. I just wanted, like, a summary.

The bad guy, Eilith, which sounds a lot like Lilith, which could be something, seeing as they're parallel universes, was a sorceress, and then was it was thought, cursed to be at least part demoness, opened Pandora's box, which in Orenda, all the bad stuff was put back in it.

Speaking of Orenda, who names their world the same thing as a continent, or the other way around? And while naming a world/I think they really mean universe, is weird, I can see it happening in one where travel to others is possible. It's still weird!

Lil was a bit inconsistent. She was leaving, and then she was staying, and before, she didn't want to be trapped, to be able to chose what she was going to do, and then yeah, just because somebody says, and says pretty rudely and not actually answering her question, she goes off to prepare for a sword fight, which is a bit out of left field, especially for a universe that says it's more advanced their ours, you'd think they'd have better weapons, because that's what grows in ability to kill with technology!

Favourite lines: "You have a remote control in your hand." Like, not holding in your hand, but embedded in your had! Is that too cool, or what? "I am one hundred percent capable of beating Eilith in an arm-wrestling contest." Yeah, like she's going to propose that! "You want something to keep the castle warm? Try the head coming from the hell you're spawned from." That'd keep the place toasty warm! "It has wings and is flying at me. I'd say it's different!" Me, too, the weird dragons are different from humans! "Great, there were two of them now." Yeah, more trouble for them to cause!

OK, I know most of this review wasn't the most positive. I did enjoy it, it was just a bit harder to get through, and it pushed some of my "this book is annoying" buttons, of which I only have a few, which just makes the annoyance worse. Yesyes. It really was a good book!
Profile Image for Nicole M. Hewitt.
1,413 reviews283 followers
August 14, 2019
This review and many others can be found on my blog - Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Orenda is a unique new fantasy novel, set in a parallel universe. The descriptions describes it well, so I'm just going to get right down to my review.

The negatives:

Not enough character development.
While I enjoyed this book, I never quite connected with the characters for some reason. In the beginning, we have a good friendship that's developed between Lil and her best friend Bray that seems like it might develop into something more. I think I might have been able to root for that, if it had been developed, but instead we're told (by another character) that Bray is in love with her (we never get this from Bray's POV though) and Lil insists she's not interested and falls for another guy. Supposedly. I just didn't feel much of a connection between them, so when something pulls them apart later, I couldn't bring myself to care all that much. All of the other characters felt pretty secondary and I just didn't connect with any of them. I think the book needed to be longer to really develop these characters.

Somewhat anticlimactic.
It seemed like every time I expected something really exciting to happen, things somehow fizzled out. Specifically, whenever anyone confronted with the villain in the story - I would expect some sort of big showdown and they would just end up sort of talking a bit and then she would let them go. Huh. I guess she had her reasons, but it was sort of anticlimactic.

What I loved:

I really enjoyed discovering Orenda itself. It was an interesting parallel universe that was similar to earth in a lot of ways, but involved magic. I enjoyed the mystery of discovering what this place was, who the people were that lived there and what the similarities and differences between the two worlds were. Lil found that she had special powers in Orenda (in fact, everyone has a power of some sort). I also appreciated that what happened in Orenda was tied in to Lil's life on earth at the end.

This was an interesting fantasy story that will most likely appeal to younger YA readers. I do think it could have used a bit more development, but it was an enjoyable read. I give it 3/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***
Profile Image for Elaine.
179 reviews37 followers
November 13, 2014
I received a digital copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All are my own opinion and is not compensated by any individual, organization, or company. This might contain minor spoilers.

It is beautiful!

I personally think that the book cover of this book is so gorgeous. Aside from that, I also believe that the world of Orenda is bound to be so mystical and beautiful. I only hope that the author gives more discrete personality to the world she created, a thorough description of every inch and every corner of Orenda.

It has little pacing problems.

There are few times where I did not get what was happening at first but I followed thereafter. It’s a little confusing but I was pleased and I was totally fine with the build-up of the cast and the twists. It’s very good. It’s very interesting. I also loved the mild approach romance-wise. I was content with what this book served for now but I hope that the series will get better.

I am excited to know and understand Orenda more.

If the pacing will not look a bit rushed and if the author put more interesting account of the world, I think this would be so AWESOME.

I recommend it to fantasy readers who fancy fairies like Tinkerbell and anything mystic and magical.

This can be originally found here.
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