Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Seeds of Discovery by Breeana Puttroff

Seeds of Discovery by Breeana Puttroff
Series: Dusk Gate Chronicles #1
Genre: Portal Fantasy (YA)
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Quinn Robbins' life was everything she thought a teenager's should be. She has good friends, a family that she loves, good grades, and an after-school job she enjoys. And, she's just been asked out by Zander Cunningham, a popular football player and great guy. But one day when driving home after picking up her little sister from the baby-sitter's, she nearly hits a boy who, after running blindly into the street, mysteriously disappears.

The mystery only deepens as she figures out who the boy is; William Rose, a reclusive, awkward boy from school who always has his nose in a pile of books.

As she becomes more aware of his behavior it becomes more obvious how out of the ordinary William is and how hard he deliberately tries to blend into the background. This only intrigues her more and she finds herself working to find out more about him, and exactly where he keeps disappearing to.

On a whim one night she follows him and suddenly finds herself in a new world. One where William is a prince, literally, and she is treated like a princess. She also discovers that she is stuck; the gate back to her own world isn't always open.

Quinn finds herself smack in the middle of a modern-day fairy tale, on a course that will change her life forever.
"You didn't freak out. You just jumped right in and became part of things."

I am not a fan of portal fantasy. To me it is a weak storytelling choice. The author can explain things to the reader as they're explaining things to the main character. Sure, there's a few exceptions for me. I don't mind it so much if the main character was actually supposed to be from this second world. For example, she's actually a princess of one of the kingdoms, or his parents were from this world but ran away from home. Add points if there is a dose of cultural misunderstanding - subtract points if the main character always uses slang.

However, I read this book for two reasons. Reason number one: it was free. I think I'm kind of obsessed with free books for my kindle. Even if I stop after five pages, I want the book. I give books that I would never actually buy a chance when they're free. Reason number two: I was interested in the main guy. Okay, after I got half done with the book, I was starting to think that, maybe, Quinn wouldn't wind up with Will, but he's what originally caught my attention. You see, usually YA books, especially ones with a touch of fantasy, has a very brooding, jerkass as the main guy/love interest. Will didn't sound like that at all. So I gave the book a shot.

All in all, I'm very glad that I did. Even if it wasn't a thing like I was expecting.

This, at it's core, is a story about family. Quinn's family. Will's family - and let me tell you, his family is huge. Every character in this book is likable. (Well, except for that king wanna-be that don't understand no means no.) Most of the characters in the fantasy portion of the story are one huge family. They behave like family, always there for each other, occasionally getting on each other's nerves, but there. No matter what. The characters were all such a pleasure to read about.

There was a lot less angst than I was expecting (and dreading) from Quinn. Her world has just been turn upside down, but she is a trouper. She's not the sort of leading lady that will get a 'she's totally kick-ass' from anyone, but she's kind and quite competent. She doesn't complain, but she's the tinniest bit insecure - which, to me, is totally believable.

The plot was vastly different than I was expecting. And I loved it for that. There's no big sweeping battle for the kingdom - though I do speculate that one is coming. Instead, you get a terrible plague that is making the children of the kingdom sick. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to who is getting sick, but a terror is settling over the parents. And over the ruling family, too.

This is a kind ruling family. A King and Queen that are both approachable and caring. Princes and Princesses that each have a specific 'gift' decided by their birth order, and are assisting in running the kingdom in the way they are best suited.

For an indie book - heck, for any book - this book is very well edited. The only flaws I noticed was a couple of lacking quotation marks when someone was talking. The did it once when a spoken sentence was mixed in with an action paragraph and again during a monologue. However, I've seen these mistakes in books from large publishers. I'd say that the editing was rather impressive.

This is a fun, lighthearted fantasy story - and I caution you to understand that. If you're looking for drama, angst, seriousness, swordfights, near-death escapes or hideous creatures, look elsewhere. If you'd prefer a conversational, nice characters and kindness filled story, this just might be it.

There are currently seven books (I believe) in the series, with the first four telling one long story and the others being a 'continuing adventures' kind of thing.