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Children of Lightning

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Secrets beget secrets. The curse that befell the Hollows clan has left them incapable of producing male offspring. To extend their bloodline, they have formed a covenant with the serpentine Ophidians, who give them children. In return, the Hollows must keep these monstrous creatures well fed, though the details of the procurement are so abominable that the truth is never revealed to the other clans. In their homeland of Matikki, they live like outcasts.

Through a series of chance discoveries, the secrets of the ancient curse unfold before a warrior named Writhren Hollow. Is her purely female clan the result of a lapse of divine providence, or are the Hollows themselves victims of an enslavement scheme?

If Writhren frees her clan from the covenant, she risks the wrath of the Ophidians and the future of her bloodline. If she keeps the truth of the curse to herself, she is a traitor to her own kind. Either way, she will suffer for what she must do.

This is not a story of redemption, but regret. This is Writhren’s story.


First published September 27, 2014

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About the author

Annie K. Wong

1 book11 followers
Annie K. Wong was born in Hong Kong and lives in Canada, in the west coast city of Vancouver, BC. She has a BA in Business Administration and Creative Writing from Houghton College as well as a Diploma in Film Studies from the University of British Columbia. Although she explored careers in advertising, television and office administration, the desire to write overtook her at the turn of the new millennium. In 2003 she earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College and has been crafting stories ever since.

Her current project is a fantasy series, the prequel of which is Children of Lightning.

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Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for  CCAM&GZM.
310 reviews91 followers
November 11, 2015
I really like the books that, in addition of a pleasant reading, provide me the chance to use and refresh my knowledge in mythology and literature. Children of Lightning presents elements of the universal mythology, from Babylonian and Greek to Christian one. It's not because you need them to enjoy the story, but I've always appreciated a book that pushed me to seek the author’s inspiration source, to pick up on the correspondences and the differences, and most importantly, to savor the artistic way in which the author developed the story, the characters and the newly created world in which they live and ... die.

From The Seventh Realm to the very real group of Ophidia, from a probable ancestor of Medusa (in ancient Greek version, not in the newer version of Ovid) to the universality of concepts and the significance with which the lightning was empowered and using many other aspects and references, the author begins to build the story of our heroine.


Written somewhat as a "historical report", but sprinkled with heroine’s thoughts and concerns, this beginning benefits by an artistic approach that brings value to the story. The elaborate world, the very different creatures, the personal and political ties between them, the details and the descriptions confirm the artistic inspiration of the author, but will also test a bit the attention of the reader. The attentive reader will be delighted to discover the beauty and complexity of the scene in which the story takes place recognizing its coordinates in the heroine's own story. The world is a reflection and a source of motivation for the heroine’s tribulations.

The fundamental theme of the conflict between what it’s written in the stars and free will get new facets by bringing the prophetic curses in the equation and by introducing in the game some supernatural elements even for the epic fantasy world in which the Children of Lightning were created. Death and impossibility of love will put their mark on the soul of the heroine and will trigger new conflicts.

The pace of the story is sustained. The losses and successes do not allow slow moments. Author’s imagination proves a strong violent side, but, what the hell, this is how fights are supposed to be and even the carnage has sense.

As I said above, the Children of Lightning is just the beginning and a continuation - from where, in fact, will begin the real inner struggle of the heroine - it is not only welcome, but necessary to get the whole picture, to see if, at the end, our main character is a victim of her own flaws and she will become a villain, or is a hero as a winner in the battle between Fate and Free Will, finding her true identity and personal dignity.

If you don’t want a common heroine, you will like to read Children of Lightning.

Profile Image for Raph♛.
159 reviews46 followers
November 27, 2015
i received an ecopy from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange of an honest review

Children of Lightening starts off with Mother going in the Ophesians' territory in order to find a mate so as to get pregnant with her third and last child. Mother as a plurian, a snake-haired being created by lightening has to mate with an Ophedian if she wishes to have a baby due to the plain fact that the plurian species is all female.
In the first part of the book we witness mother finding her mate in the Cunning One,giving birth to her child and the rituals that follow the little girl's birth. Named Wriven by her father and Tithren by her mother, the little girl is fierce and was born to achieve victory.with that namesake begins her story.
In the years that follow, Tithren grows.with a fierce character she sets out to obtain respect for the people. From a little girl full of dreams and courage willing to do anything for the plurans, she becomes a woman who knows if hardship,death pain and struggle. and craziness...
I like The Children of Lightning.It is a book full of originality and action that introduces us to a complete new world with its own history,laws and species.
i enjoyed part 1 and 2 but part 3 was really...weird. o.O and it felt kind of rushed.
Profile Image for Jayson Kennedy.
109 reviews
September 11, 2015
This book reminded me quite a bit of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It has a similar narrative style, where the protagonist is on a journey to becoming their true self. Because of the journey style of the story, there is so much that happens in the book, scenes shifting quite quickly, and sometimes years will be covered in a few sentences. It also reminds me of The Book of the New Sun because of the extremely fantastical scenes. This is very imaginative fantasy, going further than most fantasy novels that place themselves in a medieval world, add a bit of magic, and call it a day. This book features a plethora of creatures and a different kind of world than I'm used to encountering in fantasy. In fact, I wish more time was spent on describing some of the other places in the world.
However, like I said, this book moves at a quick pace, never really lingering on any one event or location. The only location that I feel is fully developed is where the climactic battle takes place at the end. Here we have things slow down quite a bit, as the final battle rages for days. Actually something that surprised me about this book is that there are moments of really brutal violence. The descriptions of the fighting is very visceral, and I appreciate that the author didn't hold back on this. It gives the book a nice raw edge, which I always enjoy.
I'm pretty interested in what comes next for this character, because the ending leaves it quite well open as to what direction the whole thing could be taken. Likewise, there was just so much going in this world that it really leaves a lot open for the sequel.
Profile Image for amomentsilence.
327 reviews55 followers
October 5, 2015
2.5/3 Stars.

This was a weird book. I could barely get through it. The premise originally sounded SO incredible and I was hoping for something amazing, but the actual execution of plot, lack of likeable characters and somewhat disjointed storytelling made for an uninspiring and painful experience to read. The writing itself is not bad (thankfully - or else this would have gotten a rating much MUCH lower than this), but good writing could not make up for such a disconnect in concept.

One thing I did enjoy was the original mythology and some of the world-building (not all). I feel like this story could have been better told, and given a bit more structure, which would have helped on all fronts.
Profile Image for Mandii.
21 reviews7 followers
August 17, 2015
Although it doesn't seem to say this anywhere, "Children of Lightning" is a prequel novella to a series Annie K. Wong is currently working on. I didn't know that going in, so I thought this was just a great standalone story, with fascinating mythology and a wickedly strong protagonist. The fact that there will be even more books to come, detailing the life and adventures of Writhren, turned out to be a bonus.

Here's a summary of the book, for those who haven't had a chance to read it yet (the book itself releases on September 27, 2015):

Secrets beget secrets. The curse that befell the Hollows clan has left them incapable of producing male offspring. To extend their bloodline, they have formed a covenant with the serpentine Ophidians, who give them children. In return, the Hollows must keep these monstrous creatures well fed, though the details of the procurement are so abominable that the truth is never revealed to the other clans. In their homeland of Matikki, they live like outcasts.

Through a series of chance discoveries, the secrets of the ancient curse unfold before a warrior named Writhren Hollow. Is her purely female clan the result of a lapse of divine providence, or are the Hollows themselves victims of an enslavement scheme?

If Writhren frees her clan from the covenant, she risks the wrath of the Ophidians and the future of her bloodline. If she keeps the truth of the curse to herself, she is a traitor to her own kind. Either way, she will suffer for what she must do.

This is not a story of redemption, but regret. This is Writhren’s story.

Overall, I found the story to be a solid three-star read. To give it any less would be an injustice, because the story fights hard to earn each of those stars.

It's a fantasy built from the ground up, from the moment of creation to the moment the story begins. The mythology is entirely of the author's creation, and the world is richly built and fine-tuned for consistency, making the world feel alive and real. There's a great balance of action, character-development, and backstory, which I personally greatly enjoyed--in all truth, I feel like I blinked and suddenly I was more than halfway through the story.

The book does have it's flaws, however, and the first, I think, comes from it's misleading age category. It really shouldn't be labelled as a YA, because there's nothing about it that feels like a YA. To say there's a coming-of-age arc for the main character wouldn't be a lie, I guess, but the protagonist spends over half the book in her mid-twenties, which feels a little old for YA readers, especially since the rest of the series (I assume) picks up after the prequel, where the protagonist is already 25. The book just lacks the tension, intimacy, and youthful feel that YA readers hunger for, so I really think it would have been better suited for the adult category of high fantasy.

Another issue I had with this book was it's need for a good proofreader. I documented every editorial mistake I ran into, and I must have found at least two dozen. There were a few misspelled words (i.e. "foetal" instead of "fetal"), a few missing words (this was an issue with consistency, not readability), a few instances of really strange sentence structure (i.e. "they watched from behind shrubs their prey nibbling grass"), a general lack of commas (some of the sentences hardly make any sense without them), and incorrect word choices all around (i.e. "negotiated" instead of "navigated"). There was also a really inconsistent use of slang, which was incredibly jarring to run into; characters, for no real reason, suddenly went from speaking formally to saying things like: "I'm coming with ya" or "Yeah, you're telling me".

In terms of the actual story, there were a few things that didn't make sense, and I'll mention them only because they aren't major spoilers. There's a scene near the beginning of the story, for example, where Writhren stops her sister from killing someone, but her sister afterwards accuses Writhren of cursing their entire people for doing so (apparently, for attacking this person in the first place, they've potentially started a war, so the only way to avoid that would have been to kill that person). What I didn't understand was, if Writhren's sister was really so concerned about starting a war, why didn't she run after the person who escaped? She's super fast and super strong--she could have easily run them down. But she doesn't; instead, she just stands around and watches him get away, while complaining about how this will start a war. It just ended up robbing the entire scene of any tension.

For another example, there's a scene near the end of the book where Writhren and her sister are attacked. Her sister's weapon gets stolen, but the thieves leave Writhren's for some reason. Because it wasn't explained, or touched on in any way (i.e. maybe the thieves were scared of her weapon, or couldn't touch it, or something similar), it just felt overly convenient, which again, robbed the scene of something important. There was no real danger because Writhren didn't lose her weapon, just like how the potential for war didn't feel real because if the danger was real, Writhren's sister would have run after the escapee.

There were also a few loose ends that the author fails to address by the end of the story, which felt strange to remember once the story was over. For example, Writhren kills someone she knows near the middle of the book, and he's never mentioned again. Does no one care that he's gone missing? Does no one remember Writhren was the last one he was seen with? Does no one wonder about what happened to him, at all? Not his family or his friends or his classmates? Apparently not, because no one other than the protagonist ever mentions him again after his death. The problem with this, the big problem with this, is that it makes the protagonist feel invincible, somehow above the law; you, as the reader, never have to worry about her being arrested or being exiled by her people, because no one will ever know about her crime. This happens repeatedly throughout the book, and Writhren always gets away with the murder without being questioned or threatened. Wong misses out on a great opportunity here, because adding more tension to her story would have been great.

If you can look past these (relatively) small things, and you're good at memorizing fantasy names (Wong gave almost everything a fantasy name, which was really, really hard to follow for the first few chapters), this book will be a great read for you. It's a lot of fun, and Writhren kicks ass. She's driven, strong, independent, and she won't back down for anyone. By the time you meet her, you want her to win; and by the end, you're ready to watch her conquer the world.

All-in-all, if high fantasy is something you enjoy, "Children of Lightning" is definitely worth a read.

*A special thank you to Xpresso Book Tour for providing me with an e-Arc of this book in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Rae Sontheyon.
263 reviews17 followers
November 5, 2015
Too Quick To Anger Breeds Dangerous Consequences. . .

Going into this book with the knowledge that this is a prequel to a series will help a reader quickly acclimate to the stories plot, characters, and general story telling. The world in which the story takes place is fantastical seeming to be a mix of mythological and magical. As for the main character, the reader is shown that she is either a tragic hero or the villain?

Named Tithren in hopes of curving her fierce power and parentage, the main character has always felt different from her fellow Pluran kin sisters. Having a warring voice inside her when facing distressing situations has made her feel broken and confused; That is until one day her true nature begins to surface and she learns her true name, Writhen. Feeling for once empowered, her life begins to rise and spiral all at the same time. Writhen wants to become the next Rend Apex to show all of Matikki that a Pluran is meant to rule, as no one accepts Plurans authority to rule when their race consists only of women. During Writhen's mission to become Rend Apex , she finds out the truth about not only the Plurans origins but the origins of the covenant Plurans made with the dreaded Ophidians. Writhen lets her dark nature take over and deeds are done that cannot be undone, leaving Writhen with power that could be her downfall.

Overall, good fantasy book, but it left me wanting more and a tad confused at parts. If you are open to reading a book about more tragedy than happiness, you'll be good. Honestly, this felt like "The Hobbit" to me, a big intro book leading into something more. Now, the story itself was good showing readers the world more characters will be from and that world's history, but some parts just felt too fast paced. Though I really loved all the action, especially towards the end when Writhen basically takes on a ton of Ophidians, I wish the scenes were slowed down a bit so we could digest them instead of going "What the heck just happened?!" So if you are into fantasy set in strange worlds where the protagonist has a life full of regrets and trials on her path to her goal only to achieve it at the cost of everything she once held dear, than this book may be a good read for you.

**I received a free copy in return for an honest review**

------Read more of my reviews at: http://heyitwasfree.blogspot.com/------
Profile Image for Maghon Thomas.
1,301 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2015
First let me start by saying this is one of the most unique books I've ever read. The second thing, because of the uniqueness, I was confused a lot. Lol writhren hollow is, however, a very cool heroine. The younger girl, she's scared and insecure and a little lost in the shadow of her sisters. The older version is both her saving grace and her own worst enemy. I can't explain that without spoilers- sorry. And though some things confused me, the over all story kept me glued to the pages to see how it all turned out.

Writhren is a pluran, a type of warrior human kinda like amazons. But she seems more soft hearted and kinder than others of her kind. She wants to be the amazing warrior, but she finds her kindness a weakness. She's curious and wants to explore, like feelings for a boy who's her friend. But plurans are only supposed to breed with the god like Ophidians- snake like creatures. There's a covenant and a binding in place. They cannot have mates or lovers. And it's not a nice bond either, as those ophidians might eat you instead. And from there, writhren begins her journey to adult hood where she learns some horrible truths and loses many.

There's definitely some creativity in the writing here and though I didn't understand some of the things the author was trying to get across, I still loved the overall story. And though I don't want to spoil anything, I felt for Writhren. I wanted to hug her and help her. I also felt her losses. It's not a really happy story, it's gritty and dark and haunting, but still beautiful. Since this is the prequel o look forward to reading the next book. 4.5 PAWS
Profile Image for A. H. Reaume.
39 reviews57 followers
August 15, 2015
The first thing you need to know is that Writhren Hollow is not your classic heroine. In fact, she tries to be a hero and ends up becoming somebody else. The fact that her journey veers from that of a typical protagonist threw me off a bit when I started reading the story, and it took me a while to get into it. I am so glad that I stuck to it though. By the time I got halfway through the book, I couldn’t put it down and I was reading as quickly as I could so that I could get to the end as fast as possible and find out what happens!

The story is about Writhren Hollow, who belongs to a clan of hybrids called plurans. Unlike her peers, she has more compassion and she is curious about boys from other clans. However, plurans can only produce offspring by participating in an ancient ritual of dancing with vile, snake-like Ophidians, the result of which will always be a female child. The process is a fraught one since the Ophidians are just as likely to eat a potential mate as they are to dance with them. When Writhren was born, her mother gave her a name different from the one provided by the Ophidian she had danced with. This act sparks a series of events that sees Writhren take on the Ophidians and discover the terrible truth behind the ancient covenant that has kept the plurans tethered to the hungry snakes.

I’m not going to spoil anything else, but you should definitely read this book. I greatly enjoyed how well crafted the world and story were. I can’t wait for the next book by this author.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
957 reviews82 followers
November 18, 2015
Children of Lightning is a very odd story. Reading the synopsis, I was intrigued and wanted to read it to discover what, exactly, the story was all about. I had a hard time getting through it, but I was curious enough to finish it. I still don't really know how I feel about it.

Children of Lightning tells the story of Writhren Hollow, a young woman whose clan is unable to procreate due to no male members. Nor can the clan produce male offspring. They have an uneasy alliance with another species known as Ophidians, which are serpentine-like creatures. The Hollows mate with the Ophiadians, and in exchange, keep the Ophidians fed and happy. It's not ideal, but it works. That is, until Writhren discovers secrets and hidden truths, and decides to take matters into her own hands.

The story is labelled as fantasy and adult, but I'd also add in mythology. At first I felt Children of Lightning was sort of sci-fi-esque in nature, but the more I read, the more I realized that it was more along the lines of fantasy. However, when I finished, that's when I decided it was also mythological, in a way. It's kind of hard to describe, and I don't want to spoil anything.

While I did struggle to get through the book, I thought it was a decent read overall. I didn't particularly connect with or care for any of the characters, and it would have been nice to know it was a prequel before starting it, but in the end, I'd have to rate Children of Lightning three stars. Decent, but not really my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Melissa Burcham.
240 reviews3 followers
November 9, 2015
4.5 stars

I was given an ARC book for an honest review free of persuasion from the author or anyone else affiliated with this book.


This book was definitely different from other books I read. While the characters were described well enough for me to visualize them, the setting left something to be desired. I couldn't easily picture the world. I felt lost most of the story. Days would disappear in the matter of a couple of sentences. I also felt that more could be given to the story line. War changed the appearance of the heroine, but how did defeating each of the Ophidians change her physical appearance?

The ending of this left room for more books in this series. Although this book was a good book, I don't know if I will be reading more on this story-line. I felt that the story ended with the end of the book. I did love the characters and their story. I just wish more had been given to let the story flow more smoothly. I will not be giving you a synopsis of the book. I fear that I will give away too much if I do.
Profile Image for Jenn Sut.
547 reviews33 followers
November 19, 2015
Children of Lightning
By Annie K Wong

I was given a book in exchange for an honest review free of persuasion from the author or anyone else affiliated with this book.

A clan of hybrids named Plurans were born from the lightning. The plurals were the only group to be born without a counterpart, so they were dependent on the ophadian to reproduce. Tithren was born when her mother danced/mated with a ophadian. He wanted the child to be named Withren, meaning fierce. However her mother named her Tithren, and she was a very spirited and rebellious child as the youngest of three. Tithren begins warrior training as she comes of age.

I had a hard time starting this book. The beginning goes into great detail on each of the species born from lightning. All the descriptions were lost on me as I was not yet introduced to the story's heroine. Once Tithren/Withren was introduced, I was able to follow and enjoy the book. She is not always likable and does not always do the right thing which makes her a rich , multidimensional character.
Profile Image for Stephanie (Bookfever).
983 reviews113 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 19, 2015
I really hate to do this to a book I received for review but I couldn't get through this book so unfortunately it's a did not finish for me.

Children of Lightning was in one word: weird. I'm sure other people will like this book more than I did but it really wasn't something for me. A little too strange and I wasn't a fan of the writing style either. I just really couldn't get into it and I reached the point where I really had to push myself to read it, which is just a waste of time in my opinion.

What I read of the story left me a little confused, which is also why it was hard for me to continue. I didn't really connect with the characters or story. I just didn't like it all.

So since I didn't finish it, I'm not rating the book because that wouldn't be fair. I don't want to discourage other readers for this book because obviously tastes are all different so I'd say; give it a shot, you never know!
Profile Image for Leigh Anderson.
Author 21 books655 followers
December 26, 2015
Children of Lightning is very well-written. The world-building is fantastic and easy to understand. The descriptions she uses to bring her world to life are very good. The characters are easy to like, which is good because as a journey narrative, you want to go on the journey with them.

I was very surprised to see that this is Wong’s first book because it is just very good. It doesn’t feel self-published, but feels very seasoned and professional. The only thing off-putting about it is the cover. Don’t judge this book by the cover! The cover is simply not representative of the book’s overall quality. Seriously, I don’t even know what that cover is a picture of.

She is definitely an author to watch.
Profile Image for Esther Haddie's Haven.
902 reviews56 followers
August 8, 2015
I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.
The description says it all. I do not feel the need to elaborate on the plot.
My Honest Opinions/Thoughts: This is a very strange book. I must say that I would not have picked this up on my own. I did not really like the beginning with the Ophidians. And I just could not seem to keep reading. I stopped almost mid-way.
Extra: If you are a fan of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, perhaps you might like it.
Profile Image for Kasee Johnson.
5 reviews3 followers
October 11, 2015
I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.
This book was my first real venture into Fantasy / SciFi. And I am hooked! I found the characters very well developed and the settings described well enough for me to easily visualize. I absolutely loved the names of the characters. And the twists and turns kept me reading long after I had planned to set the (e)book down. It reads a little dry, but that didn't bother me. I am really looking forward to reading more books from this author in the future.
Profile Image for Gel.
151 reviews22 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 16, 2015
DNF at 10%

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for providing me a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book was weird. The synopsis hinted at it and it just made me more excited to read it. However, since I'm not in a fantasy mood for like, two months now, I couldn't get myself to continue and finish this book. Or maybe the book itself is the problem. I don't know. I just couldn't get to it.
Profile Image for Books and Soap Book Reviews.
156 reviews16 followers
November 20, 2015
Review Submitted By: Renee for A Biblioromance Book Blog
(Received ARC in exchange for our honest review.)

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes fantasy reads. It is filled with secrets and curses. Follow Writhren as she has to make the choice to free her clan or suffer the wrath of the Ophidians. Her future bloodline depends on her decision.

This book is a good book and well written. The author gives you a story that you want to see.
Profile Image for Peggy.
2,199 reviews37 followers
November 12, 2015

This was a completely different type of book for me. It was way out of my normal reading area and there were several times that I wanted to call it stops on it... BUT, I'm glad I didn't. I actually enjoyed this book! Very impressed with this author!

*Received for an honest review*
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