I review books for indie authors–free of charge! To kick off 2021, let’s start with my review of THE JOURNEY by Verity A. Buchanan!
Verity A. Buchanan
Fred Thorne must shoulder the full care and protection of his sisters after a fire leaves them homeless and friendless. He sets out to follow the last advice given to him by his great-aunt: Take the girls to Menevace, to the refuge home. But the road to Menevace is fraught with bandits, famine, and unknown dangers.
The Journey follows the three Thorne siblings through rejection, captivity, and an increasing downward spiral of guilt as Fred fails time and time again to protect his family from the dangers of a hostile world. Can the Thornes find a place of rest and safety? Will their journey ever end? Dangerous cities, breathtaking creatures, and an incredible adventure awaits in this debut novel by Verity A. Buchanan.
MY HONEST REVIEW
This novel is led strictly by a character-driven plot, resulting in vivid and well-structured characters! We follow siblings as they search for a new home in this coming-of-age story, and the story itself, while it could have used more plot and stakes, was well-written. The debut author has a unique voice that I look forward to read more from.
However, I think the story was best fit for a middle grade audience. Middle grade audiences do well with character-central novels. This novel reminded me of Sarah, Plain and Tall, only it is marketed as YA and is fantasy, so if it had been marketed to MG (I think it fits this category better, it is very clean and easy to read!), I think it’d be perfect as-is. As a middle grade reader, I would have loved this! It has great characters, doesn’t linger on any scene or subject, and the descriptions are pretty!
In regards to story, also, it was extremely well-timed and all too easy, most of the time. Every time a bad thing happened, it was immediately fixed with no repercussions. I found myself feeling like each event was just a lead up for another timely, rather unbelievable plot device, which I didn’t enjoy.
However, as a YA novel, it failed to deliver a YA novel’s balance of character and plot. I would give this to a middle schooler, not a young adult, so that’s still a win! It’s a solid MG novel, if it had been published and marketed as such.
This novel deals with themes such as loyalty, bravery, and courage, as well as a sense of belonging. I really enjoy these themes! This book was no exception! A super well-woven tale that got great themes across without being preachy or dry.
Debut author Buchanan has a solid grasp of what makes character’s tick and did a splendid job at weaving a character-driven tale. I thoroughly enjoyed Fred, finding him sweet and likable. I enjoyed the sibling relationships and how each of them had to grow as the story progressed.
This being said, the characters’ arcs were mostly rushed. I don’t have a clear understanding as to why Marjorie suddenly changed. I think Sandy’s rush to love her baby sister was also random and unfitting. Fred had the best arc, however, and I did enjoy the characters overall.
Also, I will note another thing regarding characters I found too timely, in spoilers. They continued to find their siblings. That’s sweet, but it became hard to believe after the first sibling. Also, how could their older siblings just forget they had a home? It was unrealistic they would just start a new life without returning home, ever. And no one was upset about this, either. Very strange.
I received this book as a complimentary copy and this review is my own. Overall, this book was a good novel, with strong characters, sweet description, and perfect build up for a second installment! I encourage you to try this book out if you enjoy clean Christian fiction, fantasy, retellings, etc, or if you want to gift a young reader with a fun novel!
3 stars, rounded to 3.5!
Verity is, by and large, friendly. An ENFJ with a strong bent for teaching and helping people, she channels her passion into tutoring, customer service, and writing vivid, complex characters who fight through their brokenness to new healing and hope.
While Verity’s writing tends to display several trends, such as the beauty of common things, familial relationships, and high fantasy settings, she dislikes defining herself by a single genre or set of themes, because she writes for the characters — and you never know what story a character will want to tell next.
When she’s not writing at positively heathen hours, Verity can be found making love to her Kimball piano or chewing through her latest stack of quality indie-authored books. Check out her Goodreads for recommendations.
Kicking off 2021 with a sweet Indie read is amazing! If you’d like to request a review, you can contact me via my contact page! For more reviews, check out my Goodreads and Amazon, or my Instagram for fun bookish pics!