Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another - an empath.
The villagers - sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin - welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It's sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.
Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her...
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a "real job" as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.
Everyone who ever went through a tough break-up will feel for Lauren and understand her perils in Empath. If a girl ever needed a hug, it would be Lauren. More than the story about how she ended up in a fantasy world, I enjoyed the story of how she found herself again, went through heartbreak but came out stronger, and how she struggled to move forward. Lauren’s inner turmoil was at least as fascinating as the plot.
And the plot is pretty fascination too. The author has created a vivid fantays world where Lauren is welcomed as an empath, who can connect with other people’s minds. I especially liked The Anghenfil too, a fire-breathing monster with an uncanny taste for empaths. The book is suspenseful right from the start, and it has an interesting cast of characters, the most likeable one being the heroine.
This is a thrilling book that mixes a solid fantasy setting with the heroine’s emotional turmoil and does so in a surprising, but well-executed way. Recommended to fantasy fans who don’t mind a more contemporary touch in their books (Lauren is, after all, still a twenty-first century girl traveling to a fantasy world).
Errr.... 2.5 stars. This book is weird. Most of the reasons why it falls so flat are structure-based. The writing is sound, the characters are alright - nothing to write home about but not completely awful. The problem is how the story is laid out.
First, it opens with someone recovering from a breakup with a character we never see. This is a really hard sell. If the writing weren't well-done, I would have noped out of it right there.
The inciting action is nothing the protagonist did. She's just magically transported to some other world. So all of her personality and character and life and friends - none of that matters in this new world. Essentially, the first few chapters were a waste of time, so we have to start all over again with getting our footing.
From here, things continue to just happen to the character. She doesn't propel the story, things just sort of happen (which is my biggest pet peeve and I get so bored when books do this).
Then there's Cefin. She kind of latches on to the first guy near her age and becomes infatuated with him. I don't feel like she and Cefin had much chemistry or reason to be together at all. I actually found it really weird she didn't want to go home?? I mean she gives that up really quickly and instead daydreams about marrying Cefin in this world and complains a lot about how their love "can never be" like... idk. Maybe, having just gone through a bad breakup, you should work on establishing yourself/getting on your own two feet instead of pining after whatever guy happens to land in your path? Again if they had anything in common or chemistry, I probably would've been all for it, but it seems like they are just... the only single, unrelated people their age in the village. Might as well be into each other.
I only got to page 164 before I was just... so completely not interested in it, that I couldn't continue.
(Also... why didn't she ever just... take the ruby off? That seems like the most obvious solution to all her problems, lol.)
EDIT: Oh, also. Every time the characters shouted, their dialogue was in ALL CAPS. Which just. hnnng. no.
This book surprised me. In all the best ways. I was expecting an epic fantasy but I wasn't expecting the story hidden underneath that one. I wasn't expecting this story to be about someone struggling with their mental health. I think that was my favourite part. There was so much I wasn't expecting and that made the story so much better to read!
I'm not usually one to read about mental illness or mental disorders. It's not something I've been able to relate to or really enjoyed reading. I could really relate to our main character here though. I wouldn't say she had any mental disorders but she had a mental barrier she had to get over. She needed to learn who she was without a guy which I think is something a lot of girls have gone through before. I just found that while she was explaining her situation all I could think was "same, girl". (I actually have that in my notes.) A story is much easier to follow when you share the same feelings as the main character!
What I Didn't Love
I didn't really have anything wrong with this book. The only difference between a 4 and 5 star for me is personal preference. I loved this book but it didn't fully blow me away. (Though it came SO close.) This is actually the first book I gave a 4.5 rating but I couldn't help it!
Who I'd Recommend To
I would recommend this book especially for those going through a break up. After I finished reading this I had to sit down and think for a minute. It's a book for those who like to really feel something after they're done reading.
PSYCHOCAT READS REVIEW OF EMPATH BY S. USHER EVANS
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Originally posted here.)
Having read and loved both of the Razia books that S. Usher Evans has released, it was a no-brainer that I'd be on board with reading EMPATH. She warned me it was very different, and a bit heavier on the feels than the other books. She wasn't kidding.
Having just finished EMPATH, I can tell you a few things. First, this book defies the normal Psychocat Reads Review organization, so just roll with the changes. Second, whatever you do, don't read this book in the same week that you watch the emotionally traumatizing season finales for your favorite tv shows. Just don't. I did, and it was a very bad idea. Third, well the third point will be made as the review progresses, so just hang on to that thought.
It took me two nights to get through the first 40% of EMPATH. I liked the story and the main character, but there was a fair bit of other stuff going on that kept me distracted. The beginning wasn't one that latched onto me so hard that I couldn't put it down to do other things; however, while eating dinner the third evening I settled in to read a bit more. I assumed I'd read some then, read some before bed, and maybe finish it in the morning. I might have been wrong. Not a damned thing else happened until I finished the book.
I did manage to email myself a few notes of things I just had to mentioned in the review. Never mind the fact that I did that from my phone because I couldn't be bothered to stop reading long enough to either go to my computer and type them or find a notebook to write them.
So here's how things shook out for me when it came to EMPATH.
The Characters: As far as the characters go, Lauren is the one you spend the book getting to know. EMPATH is all about her struggles. She's not really coping with her break up, she lands herself in a completely unfamiliar place, finds out she's an EMPATH, and is pushed to her breaking point. So yeah, this story is no picnic. The thing is, this bitch is dealing with issues that a lot of us face. And I don't just mean the issues, I mean the way she tries to bury them, and pretend they're fine. Yep, as far as characters go she's one I think plenty of readers will get.
On different note, Lauren obviously went to the Jenny Fraser school for deterring sexual assault. If you're an Outlander fan that'll make sense. If not, well you're missing out.
Throughout the book, I did feel a bit bad for her when everybody kept looking at her like she'd grown a second head when she would use certain phrases and such. They would look lost, and I was like "It's okay, Lauren. I understood that reference."
Related to that, I'm pretty sure Cefin didn't know what the hell to think when she opened her mouth sometimes. When he fired off with, "You make too many jokes in serious situations." I laughed like an idiot before trying to explain it to him. Well no shit Sherlock. It's a coping mechanism. I'm pretty sure me talking to the book didn't help his level of understanding.
Speaking of Cefin, he makes for a great knight in shining armor, but I loved seeing how the author used the character. It wasn't the traditional path for characters like him, but one that was important to the story being told.
The Rest of the Review: Because EMPATH defies my ability to neatly sort it into buckets, I'm not even going to try. Honestly, after I finished the book, I knew this was going to be one of those reviews that required excessive usage of gifs to get the point across. To try and actually explain things with lots of words would just ruin the journey the book takes you on, and I hate to ruin a good book.
So let's just sum it up like this:
There are a lot of places where Lauren is basically having this conversation with herself ...
Both Lauren and the reader are subject to a fair amount of this during the book ...
The poor girl isn't perfect and she knows it. She even realizes at some point that she might not have made the right call a time or two (or thirty) ...
But if you stick with her and with the story that EMPATH tells, you'll eventually get the point ...
The moral of the story - #SlayYourFears
Jen's Final Rating: 4.5 STARS! There was a point early on where I thought this one was going to end up lower, but when a book can create the feels that this one did, especially in the final chapters, it earns a lot of points. Because finishing this book left me feeling a lot like this ...
But it also left me feeling good about the time I spent with it. There's a good chance those final chapter will break your feels, but they will also remind you that ending up at the bottom doesn't mean you have to stay there.
Psychocat's Final Rating: Our beloved emotionally unstable feline prefers not to admit weakness, but EMPATH was enough to remind her that even she needs to let someone in from time to time. Or at least that's the interpretation I got from her sudden and incessant need to be on me or within 6 inches of me at all times.
I averaged about 20 to 50 pages a day because I was reading this on my phone as a pdf file. Now this story hits really close to home for me, right down to an ex's name that I went through a lot of the same problems with in my relationship. So the first chapter really grabbed my attention. As I plunged farther and farther into the story, waiting to see where everything was leading, I was intrigued constantly. It is worth the read because you truly empathize with the character as she struggles with her new-found abilities.
The plot itself is very different from what I have read before. Most stories like this, the traditional happily ever after happens with the main male and female character. It was not the case with this story and I loved that. It was nice to see the epiphany be found from within rather than externally through another. I like the delicate balance between realistic approaches and trying to fit into a fantasy world. The ending even lent itself into the idea that all was not well yet but the road of recovery has been started. That is something more stories need to show, to help those of us that do feel like we are drowning and push off the realities we wish to deny has happened.
I would say, this is a great story even if I don't count it among my favorites. However, I would use this story as a stepping stone to help someone who was having a harder time reaching out and needed something to bridge the gap. I think if I was some sort of therapist, I would use this story to communicate the how powerful and strong it is to reach out for help rather than do everything on your own.
The lessons found inside this work, and the growth that comes from not just one but quite a few of the characters makes this an easy connection with others when it would be found harder than normal. Even with those of us that suffer anxieties in social situations
S. Usher Evans, you sly devil, I think you empathed me. You must have, because reading this book felt like someone had snuck into my inmost thoughts, turned over all my hidden fears, uncovered all my buried guilts, and threw a light on all my secret hopes...and then shook them all up together, jumped up and down on them while chortling (chortling!) with evil laughter, and presented them back to me with a shared look of understanding and a meaningful nod. Seriously, I know this book will resonate with a lot of people who will feel equally empathed — the quiet ones, the introverts, the "I'm fine" crowd, the ones who endure and endure and endure the burden they won't let anyone know about, let alone share.
There were so many wonderful things going on in this book, just following Lauren's personal journey to find healing and wholeness, to find what she is truly looking for. I really enjoyed the twins and Aerona and the rest of the cast of characters, and I think the author did a brilliant job of capturing those subtle moments of realization as Lauren came to understand herself better. To me, one of the most poignant scenes in the novel was
This was such a good read, especially for people like Lauren. It's a book to read and share with friends who might be going through similar trauma, and then reread and share some more.
Empath is about Lauren, a modern-day girl with dragon-sized heartbreak and anxiety, literally. When she hears a voice that offers to take away that pain, it is irresistible temptation. Transported from the hum-drum of her life and mind-numbing job, she finds herself in a world where mud can be magic, dragons terrorize the village, and washing machines are nowhere to be found. What starts out as simply a quest to get home becomes a quest to gain control of her thoughts, emotions, and fears, and ultimately find release from the hell she's been trapped in. The Anghenfil, the anxiety-dragon of lore, is with Lauren every step of the way, promising that oh-so-tempting easy way out.
Evans' writing has your heart hurting right there with Lauren, and you want her to find happiness just as you would for a dear friend or even yourself. The depiction of depression and anxiety is accurate and done with much care, and while some very important issues are touched on, they are executed most thoughtfully and left me in tears more than once.
The writing was beautiful, the adventure was fun to tag along with, and the feels were over the top. Definitely a recommended read.
(This review also appears on my blog...or it will, tomorrow.)
Lauren is sassy and brassy on the outside, yet anxious and filled with fear on the inside. Her wit will make you laugh while her inner turmoil brings you to tears. I’ll admit, sometimes I wanted to smack our protagonist upside the head, but soon after I’d find myself wanting to give her a hug and tell her everything’s going be okay. Conflicting conflict. Unparalleled parallels.
When finding herself in a strange land like something out of a Celtic fairytale, Lauren remains very real. A modern, twenty-first century gal in a very un-modern world (even calling the bad guy a dill-weed at one point) is funny, folks. Truly entertaining. The author does a great job swirling two completely different worlds into one perfect chocolatey-vanilla-y treat.
Yet, when the banter ceases, Lauren is forced to journey into a place even more disturbing than fire-breathing monsters and wicked kings. And true bad-ass-chick heroism is found when she looks her own fears and weakness dead in the eye and walks boldly through the pain.
Ms. Evans, take a bow… This is a great piece of work! Dig in, folks. You’re gonna love it!!
S. Usher Evans brings us another tale, quite different from the Razia series that I have already greatly enjoyed. With all of the talk in the media about de-stigmatizing mental illness, this book is definitely one to enter in to the discussion. Though some may see the plot as jumping on the fantasy bandwagon, instead, it provides an outlet to explore the depths that a person will go to in their search to escape their pain. Lauren Daily is like so many young women, who seem successful and accomplished on the outside, but are falling to pieces on the inside. As we are privvy to her inner thoughts, we want to scream "No!" every time that she buries one more uncomfortable truth, however, her forces us to do some introspection. Are we like Lauren and trying to hide the pain, instead or dealing with it? Or are we like the people around her, who accept the simple lie that everything is "just fine"? Beware the dragon...
On the surface, Empath is a book about a girl transported into another world, her difficulty adjusting to a different way of life, and her struggles to get back home. Below the surface, this is a story about transitions, heartbreak, and difficult choices. Readers will be able to identify with Lauren and how she tries to move forward once everything she knew about her life changed. This is a well-written book and the author truly conveys the pain that Lauren is going through, so well that this reader physically and emotionally connected with Lauren and felt her pain. Once you pick up this book, you will not want to put it down.
Sometimes, a book just isn't for you. So I think it probably was with me and Empath.
Now, I liked a lot of the characters in this story. The plot and world-building were interesting. At no point did I hate this book -- far from it. While some parts dragged, I was mostly on board.
But the problem was that our protagonist, Lauren, was grating on my nerves from early on.
I have to assume that for most people, they've gone through a bad breakup and this sort of endless agonizing is perfectly expected. But man, to me, who isn't that interested in romance at the best of times, trying to sympathize with someone wallowing so hard in that feeling. It was bad enough that I never really recovered, and Lauren was my least favorite thing about almost every scene. And that just dooms any attempt to truly fall in love with a book.
Like I said ... that's just me though. And it's not helped by the fact that something the book treats as a big twist/reveal seems so clearly obvious from nearly the beginning of the book that it's hard not to think less of her for never once trying it.
That said, I did like the overall plot. Some of the action scenes were a little hard to follow, but mostly they were clear and compelling. The resolution to Lauren's confused feelings about her romantic entanglements was actually really well done and perhaps my favorite part of the whole thing. And I think if I had not come to dislike Lauren so early on, I would actually have ended up liking her quite a lot. So if you're not as bleh about romance as I am, I think you'll probably get a lot of fun out of this.
This book was such a wonderful surprise! I wish I had read it a hundred years ago already. What lovely metaphors Evans uses to convey the pain and trauma of mental illness. Combined with the charming cast of characters and classic fantasy elements, Empath is an encouragement to accept your whole self and move forward into great adventure.
But DAMN I really wanted her to end up with the hot mountain man. Whyyyyyyyyyy.
Empath is many things. It is a fun fantasy tale, with knights and dragons and magic, but it is also an emotional release for its author. As I was reading, I felt so able to empathize with heartbreak and loss--you really feel Lauren's pain. The first chapter hit me hard in particular, and I knew from there that this would be a different kind of book.
As always, this is not a spoiler free review.
S. Usher Evans is a talented writer in that she can really move a plot along without getting bogged down with description and flowery prose. If you're looking for a fast read, then this will do it for you. If you want a big romantic tale between a gallant hero and a modern woman thrust back to a fantasy village--this is not what it's all about. There is some romance, sure, but the book is more about Lauren's journey to, well, finding herself again. My favourite characters were the little redheaded twins, and Mairwan's near death had me in tears--a rare feat for books these days.
Do things wrap up a little too neatly? In a way, yes. Was I sort of thrown that the whole book could have been a coma-induced fantasy that didn't really happen? A little--it sort of made everything that had just happened feel a little weak. But reading the author's note at the end really put things in perspective for me, and the bits that sort of made me think, "Well, that's convenient" were gone. This is meant to be a feel-good piece about overcoming emotional and personal struggles, not a gritty, realistic fantasy a la Game of Thrones. Sure, there's a dragon, but not that kind of dragon.
What I liked most was the relationship between Cefin and Lauren, and that, in the end, she chose not to be with him. Mediocre sex? Yes. YES. Don't get me wrong: I love romance and erotica, but I also adore when realistic scenarios are thrown in there too. Because, let's face it: if he's not banging everything that moves, he's probably a little bit terrible in the sac the first few times. Lauren, girl, I totally feel you: sloppy, messy, gross kisses are a total deal-breaker for me.
There were a few formatting issues here and there, nothing major to detract from the story itself. I've mentioned it in a previous review of another one of Usher's books, but caps lock screaming is one of my pet peeves. Can't handle it.
All in all, this book touched me. I could relate on a lot of levels, and I think a lot of people will feel the same way. Definitely a recommended read!
Lauren Dailey has been having a rough couple of months. She has ended things with her boyfriend after realizing that he wasn't interested in marrying her. She is stuck in a boring, dead-end job. She keeps replaying her breakup in her head, wondering why she couldn't make it work. And worst of all, it seems that everyone around her is happily in love and rubbing it in her face. She feels like she has hit rock bottom...until she is transported to a different world with no running water and a dragon hiding in the mountains. Oh, and she's also an empath.
Anyone who has been through a breakup knows that it usually feels like the end of the world. And in a small sense, it is; it is the end of a big part of your life and it often comes as a shock to the system. Not quite as much of a shock as being transported to a new world and becoming an empath, however, as Lauren quickly learns. She has spent months after her breakup burying her feelings and pretending that she is ok. But now, suddenly, she cannot touch another living thing without being overwhelmed by an onslaught of emotion.
It took me a little while to connect to the characters in Empath, but I eventually grew to care about all of them. Sometimes I was so frustrated that Lauren wouldn't share her true feelings with people, but I understood her anxiety and was able to relate to her thought process. I have been there before - not giving people a chance to grow to love the real me because I assumed they wouldn't like me. I loved that Lauren was able to encounter other characters with the same fears, so she could learn that numerous people, no matter what walk of life or world they live in, struggle with the same worries and anxieties.
Empath was written as a response to a time in S. Usher Evans' life when she felt a lot like Lauren. The story comes across as very personal, but not like a diary entry. You can easily get lost in the adventure and dragon fighting, but you are still left with a wonderful and personal message. Anyone who has lived with anxiety or depression (whether related to a breakup or not) can empathize with Lauren's story. It is a lovely lesson in learning that sometimes you can admit that you aren't ok - and that is ok.
Empath is the sixth S. Usher Evans book that I have read. While I have truly enjoyed them all, Empath has now become my favorite. I hope you will give it a try and enjoy it as much as I did.
Wow the last page or two nearly had me in tears. I think everyone goes through something like this in there life where we feel we do not have anyone to talk to and try to hold it in and be stronger than we really are. such a good read.
This is an allegory at times. The main character, Lauren struggles with depression. We are shown how she tries to appear "normal " when she is really being overwhelmed by her own fears, sadness, and feelings of lack of self worth . The Dragon becomes both her mirror and her means of escaping those negative thoughts. The kings scholar "mind rapes" her-- useing her as a drug to take away his own negative feelings about himself without caring about the cost to Lauren, rather than facing he has a problem that needs to be delt with. In a way, this also shows her a bit about herself. Maybe the king also suffers from depression, it is not clear. What is clear is that many in this story are just as unsure as Lauren about how to find lasting help for their mental and emotional burdens. By recognising this in others, it allows Lauren to see that it is ok to ask for help for herself, which is the first step in defeating her own "monsters". Thank you so much for sharing this struggle with us in a palatable manner so that those who need to, can see themselves and begin the healing process. Well done.
*** This is been voluntary positive feedback of an EPUB title, read using Samsung text-to-speech accommodation for impaired readers.
For some reason, when I picked up the book I was expecting a romance-author-does-otherworld-fantasy vibe, and my expectations were pretty low. That may be why I was so blown away by this book.
It worked as a classic otherworld fantasy, but it also worked as an allegory for depression. As allegories go it was pretty transparent, but that really worked for me. None of the characters were perfect. Even the sex wasn't perfect. It made the book a much better read, and much more relatable. I'm going to be looking for this author's other work in the future.
S. Usher Evans has to be my new favorite author, after reading the first two books in her Madion War Trilogy, I also read Empath and was blown away. This story is Wizard of Oz meets The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit. I was especially impressed with the main character, and how the story ends. Thank you Evans for giving us a great and thankfully not typical ending.
A brilliant allegory, (the subtle kind, not the hit-you-over-the-head kind), but also just a fantastic story. The world of the story is built simply but vividly. The real highlight of the book is the complex main character who has a very vivid inner life - Evans' strongest skill is in her characters.
Evans' plot & character development is not quite 5 stars, but the context of this book and the idea behind it is FANTASTIC. An interesting metaphor for how anxiety and mental illness effects the day to day life, and how escape can be oh so tempting at times. The Anxiety Dragon is an excellent light but heavy read for those who can and for those who can't relate.
The title grabbed my attention. I’m an empath and I was looking for nonfiction books to expand my knowledge and came across this fantasy. The story captured my interest and yet I could relate to the protagonist’s emotions on every level. The writing is actually simple but the characters work well together in weaving a poignant story.
I bought this book at Planet Comic Con in KC after speaking to the author. I devoured it in almost a day. Lauren's struggles (and the author's!) were so similar to my own that it was scary. Perfect book for those dealing with depression and anxiety.
4,5/5 Se non l'avessi vinto un anno fa ad un giveaway, probabilmente non avrei avuto modo di leggere e conoscere questo libro, perchè per esempio non mi è mai capitato di vederlo su Instagram. Ma come spesso accade, almeno a me, i libri semisconosciuti si rivelano essere i migliori. Empath inizia con Lauren, che da due anni non riesce a superare la rottura col fidanzato, mollato perchè non si decideva a chiederle di sposarlo. Lauren è devastata, ma un giorno, entrando in un negozio di antiquario, si butta e compra una collana con un rubino. Ma mentre la indossa inizia a sentire una voce nella sua testa, una voce che le promette che non sentirà più dolore. Poi la terra inizia a tremare e Lauren si ritrova in una terra sconosciuta, rimasta al medioevo, con poteri empatici e costretta a confrontarsi con un drago terribile, l'Anghenfil, che le parla nella mente e vuole rapirla. Lo ammetto, non sospettavo minimamente che mi piacesse così tanto. Forse la trama, detta così, può non sembrare molto originale, ma in realtà nasconde molto più di una trama fantasy e una protagonista che ha poteri che non sapeva di avere. Perchè Empath ruota tutto intorno ai disturbi della sfera emotiva, la solitudine, la depressione, l'ansia e il dolore dell'abbandono. Le affronta con coraggio, mascherandoli dietro un mondo fantasy, ma il succo del discorso è quello. Chi come Lauren sa cosa vuol dire affrontare quelle paure, si immedesimerà perfettamente. E io l'ho fatto, soprattutto nell'ultima parte. Ho chiuso il libro non perfettamente soddisfatta dell'ultimo capitolo, perchè mi aspettavo altro, ma confesso di essermi ritrovata in lacrime. La protagonista all'inizio è piuttosto antipatica, ma matura e cambia durante il percorso. I personaggi secondari sono solidi, ben costruiti e credibili. Ci sono parecchi citazioni ad altre opere, tra cui Harry Potter e Lo Hobbit. Ho fangirlato un sacco ogni volta che ne trovavo una! In conclusione, lo consiglio assolutamente. Manca qualcosina al punteggio pieno perchè appunto il capitolo finale non era come me l'aspettavo, ma entra a pieno titolo tra i migliori libri di quest'anno.
I love this book, and I love this character. Let’s just start there. I could say the book is a triumph (which it is), or that it’s a tour de force (which is just French for triumph), but that wouldn’t mean anything personal to YOU, the next potential reader, so in honor of our heroine, Lauren Dailey, let’s just be real and cut to the chase: this book is a pint of ice cream for your soul.
If you’re looking for a new character to be the very best friend you never had, to help you forget about your own life for a few magical hours and then inspire you to get up and move forward, because if she can do it, you can do it, this is the one.
I fell in love with the main character from the moment I met her, I empathized with her problems (you see what I did there?), and she never let me down. Not once. Not even when she probably thought she was letting me down. (You’ll get it once you get to know her.)
And here’s the best part: she’s real.
Lauren Dailey is not your typical fantasy character. She’s complicated. She’s struggling, and she’s frustrated that she’s struggling, and sometimes she even hates herself for it, and yet she always does her best to keep pushing through anyway, even when it involves a fire-breathing dragon. You have to love that about her.
There is a solid romantic sub-plot, which has its requisite steamy moments but that in the end (trust me, no spoilers) made me want to cheer in a way that very few romantic sub-plots ever have. In many ways, it’s a book about what love really is, rather than what it pretends to be, which had me laughing more than once and left me feeling far more fulfilled than the alternative.
I celebrate this character at forty-something in a way that says I wish I had had her around during my twenties or thirties to smack me over the head. Where most fantasy books leave you sorry to come back to reality, this one leaves you—well, yes, ok, sorry it’s over, certainly, but somehow more ready to handle whatever reality is yours to come back to, nonetheless.
And really, what more could you ask for from a fantasy novel than that?
I read this book after my six year relationship ended, I was lost. I didn't know how to define myself without my significant other, I didn't think I could handle it. Lauren went through similar struggles, but she was more bad ass than I had ever been. I love how S. Usher Evans doesn't characterize her female characters as dependent, little girls who thrive off a mans attention, thus "bringing out the best in them", especially with how a part at the end turned out. Laurens adventure started off with me kind of hating her for how she was acting, but the more I read, I realized that I had followed some of the same thought processes, and it helped me in a way as a person. I know I'm making this sound like it's a self-help book, but I honestly just think this is a very well-written adventure that has a lot of meaning behind it for someone who can relate and inspire you that you can be independent and BE OKAY!! Not only was Lauren fighting off a dragon and trying to find her way back home, there was a psychological growing throughout the story for Lauren and the back plot of that is just amazing.
This is actually my first fantasy book! I adored this book so much, that I've explored other fantasy books and I'm hooked! I really think this is a great book to get started into fantasy, smoothly. It was easy to follow, and a fast read(more like a page turner).
I also adored the romance sub-plot of the story as it was very believable and had it's own complications.