I recently read a book called River by Ryen Lesli, a.k.a. “The Witch”. It’s a young adult fantasy available for pre-order on Amazon with an official launch date of 6/14/19 with Kyanite Publishing. Before I get into the nitty gritty of this book, let me preface by saying, young adult is not my usual go-to genre. Although, I must confess I read the Twilight series because you know vampires, that’s my thing. 😊
River. Where do I begin? Let’s start with the characters, because great character development is the core to every remarkable book. Ryen nailed it! I love, love, love her main character River. This 17-year-old, and River is a teenager in every sense of the word, foul mouth and all, gets thrust into a world where the rules are in complete opposition from how she grew up; human.
If you’ve ever been a parent of a teenager, or hell, if you recently survived those tumultuous years or are struggling through them right now, you will connect with River. You’ll applaud the tough, no bullshit exterior she desperately clings to, sympathize with the inner chaos only a teenager can experience, and share in her angst with the “f*#@king queen”, her mother. Because what teenager, at some point in a high dramatic fashion, hasn't loathed their overbearing, controlling, out to destroy their life parents. River is a courageous, and inspiring young woman, and Ryen does an excellent job of bringing her to life with all the insecurities and inner turmoil of a young adult.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the two hot, yummy guys in her life. Honestly, I didn’t know which one I liked more. Cat, for his unwavering loyalty and understanding wrapped around a delicious six pack, or Wolf, the angry, sexy beefcake who hides his hurt behind his rage. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Read it to find out.
What’s the next component to any wonderful fantasy story? Yup, you guessed it, world building.
Ryen’s book has it in spades. I can’t say enough about the fantasy world she’s conjured up in that brilliantly creative mind of hers. Ryen’s writing sucks you into a realm so vivid, you stop and look around to make sure you’re still sitting in your living room or bedroom, or wherever you read, and not walking alongside River and her friends in the Banyans.
The attention to detail wasn’t overwhelming or lengthy either. Several fantasy books I’ve read drone on and on about the environment and inner workings of said world. And half the time, I’m skipping ahead to get back to the actual story. Ryen gives you just enough to light your imagination on fire and draw you into the dazzling inner workings of River’s world.
So, even though this was not my normal genre to read, it sparked a need to get my hands on the ten books planned for this series. Yup. You heard me right. Ten books!
Ryen’s story and writing style resonated with me and I believe it will connect with both young adults and adults alike.