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The Life Giver

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The Dreamers are untouchable. They are protected by the Sun God who speaks to them through their dreams: The Life-Giver. They live away from society and are only seen by their Scribes.

But now someone—or something—has begun attacking them.

The Council tried to place the blame on the Life-Giver, but Dreamer Annelie and her Scribe Lyam know better. They learn that danger is buried deep in the heart of the Council itself, threatening their peaceful way of life for good.

Forced to team up with Enoch, a mysterious man who talks in riddles, the trio must race against time to save their underground city from corruption—before their world crumbles around them.

Kindle Edition

First published March 29, 2022

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About the author

Jase Puddicombe

1 book11 followers
Jase Puddicombe is a fantasy author based in Nottingham, UK. They write quiet, introspective fantasy with a focus on characters and relationships, especially platonic or familial. Their debut novel, The Life-Giver, is due out March 29th 2022 with Parliament House Press.

Jase is nonbinary, asexual, and greyromantic, and uses they/he pronouns. He's also disabled with severe ME and HSD. When not writing, he can be found curled under an electric blanket with a hot chocolate, or playing with his guinea pigs.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for MC Gélinas (Wanderlust Ereader).
237 reviews14 followers
July 8, 2022
4/5 ⭐️

It is a very good mix between The City of Ember and Da Vinci Code, but make it YA.

The society is forced to live underground, and only the Dreamers can interact with their sentient sun, the Life-Giver, through the dreams. He then can give them advice, demands or tasks. The job of their Scribe is to write every word down, and pass it to the Designers so the Dreams can be achieved. This system is what secures the stability of the society so all the people can be safe.

« For the Dreams are fundamental,
And in their practice and harmful delight lies our destiny.
The Dreamers are our salvation.
Should any harm come to them, plaque will fall upon us all. »


A Curse plagues them all and attack the Dreamers while they dream. A golden eyed Scribe tries to help them and break the curse, but everything he discovers is not has it should be, and all his beliefs crumble.

Four well deserves stars for this great book that shows how romantic relationships in YA books can be beautiful and sincere without being the main purpose of the characters. 🤍

Lyam & Annelie are the perfect exemple of this. Their relationship is built on trust and empathy. We know they are in love. The words and writing of the author is showing us their affection without being out there and explicit. If that is what you want (I’m looking at you smut stans 😅) it is not what you will find here!! But you will find a story with depth and flawed characters that can evolve in a flawed society.

I loved the pacing and the writing style. I was hooked from the first chapter. There was no big plot twist and everything was pretty much predictable, but it doesnt undermine the spiritual evolution of the characters and the society that was wonderful to discover.

But! There were few moments that made me scratch my head and wonder. Lyam only slept 6 hours in 6 days and that is not believable at all 😅

There were few other details that were not accurate or too convenient. (‘We would need proof of the mischief of the villain. Oh, here is a key to a mysterious key on a mysterious box in a mysterious place no one ever saw in the middle of the library. Oh and that box has everything we need!’) but it’s their first book, and I see great potential in their work.

Thank you Parliement Marketing for the copy! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
3,946 reviews2,175 followers
Want to read
April 1, 2022
Already want to give this one a 5 🌟!!!! And I just got the ARC!
Profile Image for Inkstained.pages Inkstained.pages.
Author 13 books62 followers
March 29, 2022
I honestly loved everything about this story. The author weaves a beautiful tale of magic and intrigue that I was sucked in from the very first chapter. 📖

Scribe Lyam is young and devoted to his beloved dreamer. But when he fears that Annelie is in danger, Lyam is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her--even join forces with the mysterious Enoch.

I was so impressed with the world building and character development; I never would have guessed this was a debut novel. The author definitely hit this one out of the park. <3
Profile Image for Mirto.
21 reviews
February 5, 2023
This book is set in a really intriguing world, where people live underground and only a select few can have contact with the sun (the Life-Giver). We follow one of these people, a Dreamer, and her Scribe, the only person she can have contact with as they unravel this weird society's mysteries.

Something I really loved about the Life-Giver was the beautiful friendships. It was very refreshing to see a Young-Adult book that tells a love story, but with no romance attached. When I saw that the author was part of the asexual community and greyromantic, I was even happier with it - teens who are part of the a-spec will find in this book not only understanding and representation, but also a tale where they too can fit, they too can have these relationships and there's nothing wrong with it. The author is also diagnosed with several disabilities, namely physical ones, and also gives disabled people a voice in their book. I especially loved how even though it was clear there was a disability, it was just a part of the story and not a plot point. It's so important to show that disabled people are much more than their disabilities and deserve to have their own adventures, that are not related directly to their disability.

This having been said, I didn't give a 5 star review because some parts of the plot itself felt a little rough and because there was a lot of repetition in some of the characters actions (Lyam licked his lips a lot, which i understand can be seen as a nervous tick, but it didn't quite work in my opinion).
Profile Image for Nikky Lee.
Author 20 books48 followers
June 20, 2022
The Life Giver by Jase Puddicombe is a YA fantasy with a compelling mystery and a good dousing of dystopia. Think City of Ember meets The Giver. For some reason it also gave me Laputa vibes. Maybe it was the crumbling, abandoned city in the world above that did it. This book sits at the younger end of YA and more advanced MG readers are likely to enjoy this one too.

Our protagonist is Lyam, a Scribe chosen by the Life Giver—the sun god who brought life to the world—to care for a Dreamer, Annelie. Dreamers can talk to the Life Giver in their dreams and the sun god’s will is passed from them to the Scribes who then hand it on to Designers who see the god’s will carried out in society.

Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But something has gone wrong.

The Dreamers are being attacked one by one and the Life Giver can’t protect them. To prevent his Dreamer from being next, Lyam must break from tradition and the rigid rules of society to uncover the conspiracy behind the attacks.

While I was initially confused by the setting as I was unsure if this was a second world fantasy or a more futuristic dystopia, I soon stopped caring and just went along for the ride.

One particularly refreshing aspect was seeing a non-romantic relationship front and centre in the story. The depth of friendship between Lyam and Annelie is lovely.

The last third of the book was particularly riveting. While I knew what the outcome would be, for me the draw was not so much knowing what would happen but how. So much so, I was hanging out for the moment when Lyam finally gets above ground, as I was dying to know his reaction to the outside world—a world that readers like myself take for granted.

In all, The Life Giver is a fairly quick and easy read ideal for tweens and teens who enjoy quieter fantasies with less emphasis on the big battle scenes and more focus on unpicking the mystery as our Scribe-turned-bumbling-detective increasingly finds himself going against expectations and tradition to protect those he cares about.
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,530 reviews190 followers
March 31, 2022
A very different type of YA story that tries very hard to express that romantic love isn’t always the be all and end all. Imagine a world were terrible things have happened and the people survive underground guided by those chosen few who when they dream communicate with the Life Giver, that quintessential power in the sky that brings us joy, warmth but can equally be terrifying. Yes a sentiment Sun but not all is well as something dark, insidious and dangerous is happening. Dreamers are in danger but one brave Scribe will bravely take chances he never thought he would take and his Dreamer will sacrifice herself if need be to save their world !
This was as I’ve already stated a very different kind of story that surprised and initially confused me. As they say “ life will find a way “ and to survive and indeed thrive sometimes you have to cut the rot. I very much enjoyed this journey that we take with the characters and whilst yes admittedly it took me by surprise initially I’m very glad I had to opportunity to read this authors debut novel.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Profile Image for Aja! (The Overall Showman).
60 reviews5 followers
April 27, 2022
Rating: 2.5 stars.

Verdict: The Life-Giver themself will think of this review as blasphemous.

— find more reviews like this on my blog 🎩

Review:

I don't want to appear hateful, so I must say: I did not personally enjoy this book as much as I should. Initially, I picked this up because of the The Priory of the Orange Tree comparison in its description but then after reading the first few pages, I knew right away that these two are not alike at all. Just a heads up, if you're picking this up for the same reason.

Society has gone underground. Only the Dreamers have access to the Life-Giver, their Sun. Underground, there exists a system led by chosen individuals: the Speaker (the leader), the Dreamers (the ones who communicate with the Life-Giver through dreams), the Scribes (the ones who write everything Dreamers dream, and their only companion), and the Designers (the ones who interpret the dreams and put the interpretations to fruition). However, this may not be all it seems. This book begins when a Dreamer was attacked in their dream and soon things started crumbling, with Lyam (our protagonist, a scribe) soon made to question the foundations of the very system he valued dearly.

Lyam has golden eyes—eyes that are only known in legends—which allow him to see the sunlight without hurting, a fact that is shown to him by a strange individual with the same golden eyes. I will not give too much away, but this book started with the conflict without first introducing us to the world. This then led to what seemed like an unevenly-paced narrative throughout the book. Don't get me wrong, I think the plot itself is carefully crafted—formulaic, even—that every rising moment made sense until the climax was reached. However, it made the narrative stale and almost not exciting to read at all.

This book is plot-based, and at some points, it felt like Lyam was only floating through the said plot. He is perhaps one of the most indecisive main characters I've ever read, with almost no will of his own (he always needed urging from the background characters). This takes us to the issue of how some of these characters felt flat and lacked motivation. In addition, some of them were introduced much later on and we never got the chance to get to know any of them before they were put into danger, giving us no reason to care for them at all. I've also noticed some inconsistencies (albeit small, not necessarily plot holes) in the narrative. These things, I fear, can't be explained in detail here for that would guarantee a lot of spoilers. That being said, do approach me when you've read the book and you think differently. I may be being too harsh on this, considering I came in with great expectations. I do think, though, that this book could have been better if it was more concise. Take out some of the scenes, or at least make them shorter by changing up the style of the prose. I'm personally not a fan of the prose used here. It's overly descriptive with regards to movements but fails to deliver a narrative with a voice that flows naturally; some phrases are repeated way too much ("Lyam swallowed" 112 times throughout the whole book, according to my Kindle!) that it gets annoying. This, however, is small and it could get unnoticed by some readers… I hope?

Overall, I understand that this is a debut and that I'm in the minority here. Many people seem to love this book and maybe you would too! Due to this reason, I'd still recommend this if you're looking for an easy YA fantasy read that centers around friendships rather than romantic relationships. That, by itself, is almost unheard of in YA fantasy and I'm glad that exists here. I know this is not a pleasant review—and I really didn't want to give such a review—so please know that I'll still pick up a book from this author the next time they publish a new one. I'll be happy to change my mind!

Huge thanks to the Parliament House and NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Profile Image for Allie.
175 reviews3 followers
March 29, 2022
This is the author’s debut novel and they hit it out of the park! I’m always so impressed when authors can create fictional worlds that are well-built. One of the things I love about this book is the representation. It’s not very often I’ve read a book that includes a character using a mobility aid, in this case a wheelchair. Another element I enjoyed was the focus on friendship. We place such importance on romantic love that we don’t always focus on the different types of love that exist. This book focuses more on the love that exists in friendships. As I keep saying whenever I review an ARC, I’m horrible with spoilers so I tend to say less 😅 If you’re into high fantasy and character-driven reads, this is a great option! I’d definitely look out for more books by him👏🏽 A huge thank you to @jasewrites via @parliamentbooks for this ARC. I leave this review voluntarily.
1 review
Want to read
March 15, 2022
An enthralling tale set in an alien world featuring characters with human-like traits such as fear, loyalty and bravery and others who are self-serving and corrupt

This exciting and imaginative debut novel by Jase Puddicombe will live in the memory long after the last page has been turned
Profile Image for Ellie J..
287 reviews1 follower
April 12, 2022
5/5 stars
Recommended for people who like:
magic, intrigue, looming apocalypse, disability rep, magic

Big thanks to NetGalley, Independent Book Group, and the author for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I will admit I was a bit nervous at first going into this book since I read The Lost Dreamer last month and it has a similar concept with Dreamers communing with the gods (and the very first chapter of this book is called the last dreamer). But this book is 100% different from that one. Other than the Dreaming aspect, which really is only similar in name and needing to be asleep, the two stories have different arcs, character types, settings, adventures, etc.

This story was pretty interesting. Everyone lives underground, but worships the sun. The whole living-underground-previous-end-of-the-world gave me 'City of Ember' vibes, which was cool. I thought the take on celestial gods was interesting as well. The sun wasn't just something that had been sentient but wasn't anymore or that people just decided to worship, but actually was sentient.

While the book does give off City of Ember vibes, it's much more dystopic, which is interesting. The Dreamers are kept in seclusion to keep them 'sacred,' and there's a whole bunch of rules about who can do what in relation to them. There were times where, from the outside, I wanted to shake Lyam for how he was thinking and behaving, but then I had to remember that he's been spoon-fed this his entire life and doesn't really know any better.

Lyam is the main narrator for the story and is one of the Scribes (i.e., caretaker for a Dreamer). He was the youngest to be have been selected, along with his charge, and strives to do a good job. He's 18, so an adult and capable of doing things on his own, but there are moments where it's also clear just how young he still is. I think Puddicombe struck a nice balance between having Lyam be someone who has had to take care of things on his own basically since he was 9 and also being someone who is still very much a child himself.

Annelie is a secondary narrator, in that she's Lyam's Dreamer and only narrates the Dreaming portion of the book. Honestly, there's a ton of stuff going on in this book to keep Lyam's parts interesting, but I do like Annelie's the best. The whole communing-with-the-literal-sun thing is interesting and I wasn't sure at first how much of it was literal vs. metaphoric, but no, the Dreamers really do talk to the sentient sun. Where Lyam was able to offer a look at their physical world and characters, Annelie is able to show us the magic of the world and the other Dreamers.

The relationship between Lyam and Annelie is very sweet and it really comes through how much they each care about one another. Annelie was 6 when she had her first Dream, and Lyam 9, so they've essentially grown up with only each other for company (though unlike Annelie, Lyam could go home for visits when he wanted). Lyam is the one tasked with taking care of Annelie, but Annelie does the same for him, making sure Lyam eats, sleeps, etc. when needed.

Enoch is the big side character we get to see, but I had trouble getting a feel for him. Overall he's a pretty chill dude, but there are times when he comes across as incongruent (i.e., seems pretty angry but nothing comes of it). I wish we got a bit more background with him, or perhaps a better conclusion for his arc. Tasmin is the other big side character, and she feels much more filled out than Enoch does. Tasmin is the head Scribe and was previously a mentor to Lyam, so she comes across as fairly motherly. I liked her and her charge, Nethan, and was glad that they were consistently in the book.

One thing I do wish was different, though, is that I wanted Lyam and Annelie both to have more agency. Lyam is able to move around the city and do things, but he needs repeated, large pushes in order to get stuff done. On the opposite side, Annelie is confined to her tower not just by the laws of their city, but also because she can't really walk very well and wheelchairs don't seem to be a thing underground (they are above ground, so she does get a wider range of mobility, but only much later in the book). Annelie is much more likely to be an active agent and so it's a shame that she only really gets to be one at the end, then certain things happen where she's only ~sort of~ an agent.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and thought the concept was intriguing. I would've liked to see more agency by the two main characters, and perhaps a more resounding conclusion for Enoch, though.
Profile Image for Tessa.
60 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2022
First off a big thanks to NetGalley for this advanced copy! This being an advanced copy hasn't affected opinion of this book. I did get this copy after the book was already published, I'm not sure how, but I did.

Let me start off with saying that the cover is absolutely what drew me in for this book and then the plot made me stay! There is so much to say about this book, but one of the biggest things is that I really loved it! This was definitely a solid 4 star book for me!

One of the things I loved the most was the fact that this story doesn't actually have a romantic plot to it at all. The entire story focuses on doing something for the love of family and friends and this I found was super refreshing for myself as I tend to read a lot of books that have a romantic subplot to them!

I loved so many of the relationships that we see throughout the book. I loved the relationship between Lyam and Annelie! They have such a close relationship and yet at no point does it ever cross a romantic boundary, like I was expecting it to, but it fully shows how close they are and how much they care for one another. I also loved Lyam's relationship with the other characters in this book beyond Anni. His relationships with Adan, Tasmin, Jorin, Enoch and many others are really well done and show how well Lyam's character interacts with others beyond Anni.

I also just loved Lyam overall as a character, His character is so well done and so well crafted. I love that the author made Lyam a character who when faced with great odds doesn't all of the sudden become this super brave character. I loved that Lyam remained true to who his character was throughout the entire book. He remained this scared, but determined character who when faced with fear got through it on trembling legs and with uncertainty following his every choice. He wasn't a character who made the right choice all the time.

I also loved the plot of this story! The idea of a sun god and certain people being able to converse with him and those conversations directly affecting their society was so amazing and so cool. I also loved the added mystery of when things start to go wrong and how someone so beloved can suddenly become the enemy of the story. I also found the story really well paced out and while the main climax of the story does happen in the last like 100 pages or so the rest of the book wasn't dry or boring and really kept things moving. Plus being able to actually see the dreams from Anni's perspective was a great way of keeping all the parts intertwined and well connected.

I did find some errors while reading, but since it was an advanced copy I'm hoping they were fixed before printing. I also found it semi-weird that the author would says "forwards" instead of just "forward" as it wouldn't make sense when reading the sentence. There was also a mix up in one of the chapters where a guard is called a scribe when he's not. I also found the descriptions of some of the characters pretty vague and that could have been on purpose as to make it not the focus of the story, but I feel like Lyam isn't really describe besides us knowing he has gold eyes, brown skin and glasses. I honestly couldn't tell you what color his hair was.

Overall, I really loved this book and I can't wait to get a physical copy!
Profile Image for Neamhain.
119 reviews1 follower
June 14, 2022
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

The world of "The Life Giver" is an interesting one. A society of people that live entirely underground, and whose society is guided by a mysterious god. The god is a sun deity called The Life-Giver. The Life-Giver communicates their will to their people through a mildly complicated system of Dreamers, Scribes, and Designers. But when something goes awry with the Dreamers, the Council tries to lay the blame at the Life Giver's feet. Our main protagonists, a Dreamer named Annelie and her Scribe, Lyam, learn of the conspiracy created by the Council and set out to fix the corruption that lies deep within their society's heart. The worldbuilding was cleverly written and was slowly rolled out so that as you read, you learned more and more about how the world of The Life Giver functions. The relationship between Annelie and Lyam is an interesting one. It's very clear that they love each other deeply and are on the level of soul mates, but the story never makes it romantic. Their relationship stays fully platonic and familial. This is a lovely change of pace since a lot of YA stories would have thrown in a random romantic subplot for no reason. Enoch was also an interesting character, though it's obvious he is meant to get the plot moving. The speed of the plot was a bit rocky for me; it moved along at a decent pace but slowed down to almost a snail's crawl in the middle. It picks back up near the end of the story, however, so it's just a small hurdle to get over. A slow down in plot isn't really a make-or-break part of a novel either way. The world of The Life-Giver is so unique that I'm struggling to compare it to any other type of fantasy book. The concept of magical dreams is nothing new, but the way this story uses them, makes the concept feel brand new. The mystery of the book is what really drove me to complete the book. I wanted to know why the Life-Giver was acting how they did, what was really going on with the Dreamers, who the heck Enoch really is, and so on. If it wasn't for my intense desire to find out the answer to the mysteries, I probably would have struggled more with that plot dip. All in all, The Life Giver has an amazingly created world, with characters who are easy to connect with. After a small look, it appears this is the author's first book! I loved this story, so I will be looking out for their future works!
Profile Image for Neamhain.
119 reviews1 follower
June 14, 2022
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

The world of "The Life Giver" is an interesting one. A society of people that live entirely underground, and whose society is guided by a mysterious god. The god is a sun deity called The Life-Giver. The Life-Giver communicates their will to their people through a mildly complicated system of Dreamers, Scribes, and Designers. But when something goes awry with the Dreamers, the Council tries to lay the blame at the Life Giver's feet. Our main protagonists, a Dreamer named Annelie and her Scribe, Lyam, learn of the conspiracy created by the Council and set out to fix the corruption that lies deep within their society's heart. The worldbuilding was cleverly written and was slowly rolled out so that as you read, you learned more and more about how the world of The Life Giver functions. The relationship between Annelie and Lyam is an interesting one. It's very clear that they love each other deeply and are on the level of soul mates, but the story never makes it romantic. Their relationship stays fully platonic and familial. This is a lovely change of pace since a lot of YA stories would have thrown in a random romantic subplot for no reason. Enoch was also an interesting character, though it's obvious he is meant to get the plot moving. The speed of the plot was a bit rocky for me; it moved along at a decent pace but slowed down to almost a snail's crawl in the middle. It picks back up near the end of the story, however, so it's just a small hurdle to get over. A slow down in plot isn't really a make-or-break part of a novel either way. The world of The Life-Giver is so unique that I'm struggling to compare it to any other type of fantasy book. The concept of magical dreams is nothing new, but the way this story uses them, makes the concept feel brand new. The mystery of the book is what really drove me to complete the book. I wanted to know why the Life-Giver was acting how they did, what was really going on with the Dreamers, who the heck Enoch really is, and so on. If it wasn't for my intense desire to find out the answer to the mysteries, I probably would have struggled more with that plot dip. All in all, The Life Giver has an amazingly created world, with characters who are easy to connect with. After a small look, it appears this is the author's first book! I loved this story, so I will be looking out for their future works!
Profile Image for Georgina Power.
321 reviews4 followers
May 12, 2022
The Life-Giver follows main characters Lyam and Annelie as they are Forced to team up with Enoch, a mysterious man who talks in riddles, the trio must race against time to save their underground city from corruption—before their world crumbles around them.

“The myths were reality in ages past”

The concept of this book was a really unique and new one to me, with Dreamers being untouchable members of society who are protected by their Sun God (the Life-Giver), however the Dreamers are separated from society and can only communicate with each other in dreams or with their designated scribe who take notes and shares their dreams with their designer. However, something sinister is lurking in the dream world and the underground city, and thus our main characters must try to save the world.

The world building in this book is amazing, and it is really easy to envision everything the author is describing, this is definitely a young adult novel, as our MCs are 15 & 16, and I really loved their friendship throughout the book, you could tell just how close they are with one another, whilst the author did a fantastic job and shying away from any romantic ties, I found that really refreshing for a fantasy novel!

I found that the start of the book is a bit slower, however the pace and the action definitely increases throughout the book, and around the 60% mark I found that the pace had doubled, and I was fully engrossed with the book becoming a real page turner. I think the only thing I found slightly unrealistic was the time scale in which the book took place, to me it is a bit surreal that the “evil” plot was discovered and triumphed over in six days a little unrealistic., but this is a fantasy novel.

The book is split into six parts with only 19 chapters so is a very easy and quick read, and I especially liked the fact that each part of the book starts with a new dream that Annelie is experiencing, I feel this helped to keep up with how much time has passed too. Plus, the ending was absolutely lovely, and I am unsure whether this is going to be the first standalone fantasy novel I have read, if it is likely to be a series, there is no doubt I would read more about Lyam and Annelie!
Profile Image for Leighton.
906 reviews7 followers
April 20, 2022
Thank you to The Parliament House and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Life-Giver by Jase Puddincombe is a stunning YA fantasy with dystopian feels. The story revolves around Lyam, who is a Scribe for his Dreamer, Annelie. The Dreamers are the voice of the Life-Giver, the Sun God who protects their society. As a Scribe, it is Lyam's responsibility to protect Annelie when she dreams. But will he be able to protect her when Dreamers start dying one by one in horrific ways?

Here is an excerpt from the Prologue, which is from Annelie's perspective:

"Hot. Everything was hot.
She didn't know when it had happened, but she was Dreaming. She must have slipped into sleep much faster than usual. Had she had time to reassure Lyam? To pull her favorite red blanket up to her chin? To complete the ritual in full?
Too late either way. She was already floating before the wild expanse of the Sun.
The air crackled with heat around her. Sweat broke out on her forehead, her arms bruising from the intensity of the flames, the entire field of her vision overtaken by oranges and reds and yellows too bright to look at directly. She put her hands up before her eyes, sheltering behind them, familiar with this scene but still shaken to her core."

Overall, The Life-Giver is a very dark YA fantasy that will appeal to fans of The Golden Compass or The City of Ember. Although this book is not a dystopian novel, the authoritarian rulers and the strict rules definitely gave me dystopian vibes. One highlight of this book is how terrifying it is. It literally gave me nightmares right after reading it.

If I had to complain about 1 thing, I would say that I wish Annelie had played a larger role and had more opportunities to use her powers. The book is very much Lyam's story and about his journey. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of YA fantasy, I highly recommend that you check out this book, which is available now!
Profile Image for Jennie Artemis.
338 reviews1 follower
March 31, 2022
TL;DR: Weirdly marketed fantasy which is far simpler and less radical than expected
(eARC provided by Netgalley)

Processing The Life-Giver was a strange experience, because I felt like I had entered the book on false pretences: its official blurb comped it with The Priory of the Orange Tree, which is incredibly disingenuous, as the two books share no significant similarities at all. That meant I had entered with a set of expectations and frameworks wholly inappropriate to this book, which doesn't help it (appropriate comps are important!). On its own terms, TLG is a generally straightforward fantasy dystopia, in which a strange and mysterious world is gradually explained and explored. All the familiar aspects are there, just with their particular flavour of worldbuilding. It's generally fine and inoffensive, with a mostly clear plot and readable prose, but there were some sticking points for me. I was thrilled at the prospect of exploring Annelie's disability and also her relationship with Lyam, which I understand to be intended as queer platonic. But this really isn't Annelie's story at all, as she is more narrative function than full character; as for the QPR, it doesn't get enough attention to show how it is not just a romantic relationship that has been skipped over (I don't want to overdo it on "good representation", but I feel if you're going to champion ace/aro relationships, you need to make sure there isn't this grey area where people will just read it as romantic). All that, coupled with the weird ideological place it ends up landing with regards to authority, made this read (of a book I probably wouldn't have requested without its false comp anyway) a really disappointing experience despite any strengths the book has.

Rating Breakdown
2.5 stars rounded up to 3
3/10 in personal rating system
Profile Image for Sachi.
97 reviews4 followers
April 6, 2022
( Thank you Net Galley for this ARC! )

Although featuring a familiar concept - entering dreams - Jase Puddicombe did a fantastic job in making the story and the world totally unique.

Words cannot describe how good this book is!

The ambience and overall tone is so well-developed. That, along with the little exercepts at the beginning of the chapters, truly made me feel the omnipresence of the Life Giver.

When things were becoming suspenseful, I could actually feel my stomach tightening and my breath being held. I was so immersed in this story - utterly attached to the characters and the events that surrounded them.

The complex relationship between the Dreamers, the Scribes and the Designers was really well written. You could see how much Annelie meant to Lyam, and their friendship was truly beautiful. Lyam’s character as a whole was full of depth and I admired his loyalty, dedication and bravery when dealing with his obstacles.

I loved the underground city world that Jase Puddicombe has created - it was described intricately and was a very clever concept. The myths and history were so interesting and I could clearly picture every scene in my head.

The pacing was excellent. I never felt bored for a second, and each chapter perfectly followed on from the last. I really liked the progression of the plot and as well as the ending.

As soon as I finished reading this, I placed an order for the hardcover copy which should come with some Life Giver accessories!

Very excited to own this incredible story!
Profile Image for allyson. ✩.
137 reviews2 followers
April 24, 2022
tysm to netgalley, jase puddicombe, and the parliament house for this arc in exchange for an honest review

˚✧ 3 stars

— You deserve a different life to the one you’ve been given.

the life-giver is a novel that had a lot of potential but didn’t act on all of it. the world building was beautiful and the system was intricate and clearly thought out. that as a reader made my experience better reading and i didn’t feel like i was reading a diy harry potter remake.

where i felt that the novel fell flat was with characterization. lyam was not a memorable character and i also didn’t feel interested in his cause. obviously i wanted everyone to be happy 😭 but i just didn’t feel as though there the perfect hero for this novel.

i also think that the author needed to expand on the dreamers and the relationship with their scribes??? it was just presented in bits and pieces but i felt like it was an after thought.

i loved loved loved the fact that romance was not the center of this novel. it was so perfect that i could screammmmmm. this was a gorgeous novel that WORKED W/O PEOPLE BEING IN LOVEEEE. it held its own structure without the need for a love interest. it was amazing and perfect and my favorite part of the entire thing.

i’m so excited to read what’s next from this author!

— He felt something jolt in his chest at seeing her again, his arms instinctively reaching up for her.
Profile Image for greyreads.
233 reviews35 followers
April 13, 2022
3.5 I received an ebook ARC from Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion in any way.

First off, I want to say that it was very unjust to this book to compare it to The Priory of the Orange Tree. These books are so different, I haven't even read PotOT and I know that these two books have *nothing* in common. So if you're going to read this, don't expect it to be PotOT. Secondly, this book reminded me a lot of the book The City of Ember. Anyways, let's get into the pros and cons.

PROS:
-Lyam and Anni have such a queer platonic relationship, it was great to see proper aro/ace representation.
-Disabled rep!
-The concept was fascinating.
-The pacing and writing were good, and kept me reading even in during parts where I wasn't interested.

CONS:
-unfortunately, I started this book expecting something a lot different, so my expectations were to be quite honest, not met.
-While I loved the concept, I didn't totally love the way it was executed. The world building felt kind of off, some of the explanations left me confused. Honestly I was pretty confused about a lot of the world. Also the religion? And the Lifegiver? So many questions.
-The ending felt too easy, like it all ended so neatly and to perfectly.

Overall, this was not a bad book, and I did mostly enjoy it. Plus points for disabled and aro/ace rep!
Profile Image for Llewelyn.
27 reviews1 follower
April 17, 2022
Contrary to what the cover would have you believe, Life Giver has no snakes. Gold is important, but no snakes. I really had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book, but it was a wonderful read in-between study sessions.

Something is wrong. Annelie first notices in her dream state, when visiting with the Life-Giver, but when she tells Scribe Lyam what is happening, neither of them know what to do. The structure that their society is built on is riddled with lies, and they don't know who to trust. Enoch, the mysterious man with gold eyes like Lyam, seems to want to help, but as the stakes get higher, Scribe Lyam has to make a decision. Very thorough world building, funky underground society stuff, a solid 7/10.

--- SPOILERS AHEAD ---
 
Ok so first off, I am really bad at names. I fully read Annalie as Annie-el, which was super fun. A lot of the names in this were similar to modern names, with like a few letters changed, and that just wasn't working with my brain. They were good names, just not when you are sleep deprived.

The plot was very interesting, and had solid pacing. It was weird that like, nothing went wrong. Their plans were never foiled, they weren't caught, they just did their little thing. For such a long book, I think I was expecting more tension and stakes.
Profile Image for Lily Rooke.
Author 3 books93 followers
May 3, 2022
Annelie is a Dreamer, living isolated from society with her Scribe, Lyam. As a mysterious entity begins attacking the Dreamers, Annelie and Lyam must work together to save their society from falling apart.

The Life-Giver takes quite a risk in comping to The Priory of the Orange Tree, and personally I think that's a bit of a marketing mistake, because it sets the book up as something that it's not, and may leave readers unnecessarily disappointed. I definitely got big Children of the Whales vibes, personally. I can see so much potential with the world of The Life-Giver, but I wish a little more of the richness had been explored on the page. A potentially exciting plot ended up feeling somewhat bloated, and I think if the characters had stronger motivations and greater urgency, I would have found it more exciting to read. Annelie and Lyam have a gentle, warm queerplatonic relationship, and I found myself wishing the aro/ace rep had been leant into with more confidence and surety. I would have loved for this aspect of the story to have featured more strongly, but that may be a matter of personal taste compared to the author's vision for the story. I can see fans of The Wind on Fire series enjoying The Life-Giver.

I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of The Life-Giver. These opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Nicki Markus.
Author 63 books258 followers
April 3, 2022
The Life-Giver had an interesting premise that held my interest from start to finish. The world building was mostly fine, but a few times I found myself wishing the story had been spread over two books, as I felt there was room to expand the world building further. I also would have appreciated longer to get to know the characters. Lyam was the best formed, following by Annelie, but a few other characters, particularly the antagonist, could have been more fully developed, as we didn't have long to get a real sense of their backgrounds and motivations. Also, it was only when I read the author's end notes that I realised the relationship between Lyam and Annelie had been intended as aro/ace. That could perhaps have been illuminated further in the text, as I really didn't read it that way at all; I'd taken them as friends, and had then been thrown a little by the exchange of "I love you"s as the book closed. But, despite these small wishes for change, overall The Life-Giver was an entertaining read with a fascinating storyline and will appeal to fantasy fans looking for a standalone read. It gets 3.5 stars from me, but I will round up, rather than down in this case.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Hazel Emma.
24 reviews
April 20, 2022
Scribe Lyam is devoted to his Dreamer, Annelie, one of the chosen few who can communicate with The Life-Giver, their sun god.

But something, or someone, has begun attacking them.

Lyam and Annelie must team up with the mysterious Enoch to save their underground city before it collapses around them.

I found this book to be somewhat mediocre.
Firstly, the world-building was very well done, you felt immersed in their underground city.

The plot, however, was rather weak and moved at a snail's pace. I felt like about 40% of the book was unnecessary, and didn't add anything to the plot or pacing of the story.

Some characters were well fleshed out, but Lyam was extremely indecisive, honestly a bit of a wet blanket. Also, Annelie was a bit one dimensional, she didn't really have a personality outside of being an extension of Lyam.

Overall this was a fairly decent read but had a few flaws.

Thank you Netgalley and The Parliament House for this ARC.
Profile Image for Ash.
28 reviews
June 3, 2022
The Life-Giver is a very well written standalone fantasy novel. The world building was very detailed and very interesting, but it did end up slowing down the plot. The main character Lyam was very enjoyable to follow and I loved the relationship between him and his dreamer, Annelie. It was refreshing to see a strong and close bond between two characters that does not turn to romance. I wish we saw more of Annelie in the book because she was an interesting character.

The plot itself is predictable with twists you see coming, but I didn't mind with the world and strong writting making up for the weaker plot.

I definitely recommend this book to those who love stories with great world building and don't mind a slower plot.

Thank you to NetGalley and The Parliament House for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lia.
155 reviews3 followers
April 15, 2022
Thanks, Netgalley and publisher for the opportunity to read and review!
A really nice read, although the details and execution regarding the world building leave a lot to be desired. I think the concept and main idea behind the story structure is really good, but the execution isn't perfect. But the book's strong point is the emphasis on the relationship between the main characters and everything relating to that is done beautifully. Emotionally I'm very invested in these characters. I just wished there was a balance between a well-dveloped world and setting and the essential character development!
Profile Image for Sam B.
134 reviews1 follower
July 3, 2022
I want to start by saying it's refreshing to read a standalone fantasy. Also, hinted ace/aro rep! It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I understood the world and got to know the characters, I did really enjoy it. I felt there could have actually been a bit more development of the world and a better pay off in the end, but overall, a well crafted story highlighting important bonds.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Rain Reads.
117 reviews1 follower
May 18, 2022
The story was unique and captivating. The plot was well developed and well written. The characters are intriguing, but some of the characters' backstories are not completely detailed.

A society that lives underground, the setting was fascinating and unusual. People's lives depend on dreams. The dreamers are the direct connections to the Life-Giver. The chosen scribes write the visions and deliver them to the designers to interpret and implement. All seems fine until a plague attacks one of their dreamers. Only the help of a mysterious man with gold eyes can save them.

I like the engaging writing style of the author. It did keep me reading until the end. The story plot was predictable but the author delivered a well worth ending.

Many thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Annarella.
10.1k reviews94 followers
April 23, 2022
A fascinating, riveting, and compelling story!
Great world building and storytelling, interesting and well developed characters.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
June 29, 2022
Thank you Parliment House for sending me an early ecopy of The Life-Giver! I loved it sooo much!!!

So if you’ve been around for awhile you know I’m picky about my fantasy. I personally love world building and lots of background so I tend to gravitate towards series that provide that. Standalone fantasy books are hard for me to get into for this reason. But The Life-Giver has done what I thought was impossible and made me fall in love with a standalone.

I got swept up in this world of Dreamers and Scribes. I thought it was an interesting and unique concept for a world, the Dreamers and their Scribes are each other’s whole world. They are placed in small huts removed from the general population and the Dreamers are never allowed to leave again. The Scribes are their only human contact and naturally a very intense and beautiful platonic relationship forms. This platonic relationship meant so much to me. There was no romantic anything and that made me so so happy. And it was done so beautifully.

Jase Puddicombe did an incredible job of fitting an entire world into this one book. They packed everything in so well that I was excited and couldn’t stop reading but I also felt like I got all things I needed from the book. Jase’s ability to bring forth rich characters, a full world, action, suspense and true ride-or-die friendships was amazing and this was their debut! I’m very excited to see what they produce next.

My only small complaint is I wish there had been a prologue to help explain the hierarchy a little bit. I felt a little lost at first and never really understood the structure of the government all that well. But other than that I loved the book, I loved the writing and these characters and how much they cared for each other. There was so much joy for me that it was these platonic relationships that was a guiding force in this story.

I highly recommend this YA fantasy debut! I was really enraptured with this and I hope more people read it and love it. I’m so glad I read it and I hope you will be too.

TW/CW: captivity, violent nightmares, violent death, murder
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