Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
“We walk among you. Wherever your lives take you within this world, we are there, and we are many. We are not superior, we simply know more…far more…and none of you are safe.”
Sam has always had the gift of reading auras and seeing future events. But since beginning college, her gifts are strengthening-becoming more foreboding. Dark visions she can’t explain haunt her daily. She senses danger but doesn’t know why. Meeting gorgeous Olympic swimming star Trin Kosolov, who shares her extra sensory abilities, only seems to intensify the imminent peril. Sam soon discovers she was born with an identity she never knew she had and finds herself fighting for her life as she and Trin struggle to save humanity from an evil that could ultimately destroy them all.
First thing I have to say is that I really enjoyed Shine. The Venduny are a unique idea – and in this day and age where there are so many authors publishing novels, that’s quite an accomplishment. Second, it’s going to be hard to write a review on this book without including spoilers, so I’ll try my best.
As far as what could have made the story stronger (and take my criticisms with a grain of salt, because my issues are pretty insubstantial compared to how much I liked Shine!). . . there were moments that I found confusing. I really can’t say more on this because it includes some serious spoilers. However, the good thing is that these confusing parts didn’t take away from the story too much – but I did catch myself thinking about it a couple days after I had finished Shine. I think there could have been more backstory to the tale – it might have alleviated some of the confusion – although maybe this was part of the author’s plan – keep the reader confused because the main character, Sam, was confused and stumbling through learning and discovering her powers. I also would have liked to know more about Chernabog. And there was a slight repetition in using “muscular” to describe Trin at the beginning, so maybe this could have been dialed down a little. Lastly, the Russian dialogue (I think it was Russian) was only translated sometimes. It would have been nice if all the dialogue in the foreign tongue had been translated all the time. When I don’t know what something says, it takes away from the flow of the story because I get caught up wondering what so-and-so just said and can’t help but think it’s important.
Like I said initially, I appreciate Freeman’s the ability to create a new supernatural kind of people and power. I’ve been trying to write something original for years, and not just with vampires or werewolves or fairies – you know, the typical supernatural stuff. I’ve been trying to create my own special magical being with original unique magical powers and abilities. It’s a tough thing to do. While the author has a unique legend, the Venduny, control of the elements is not something new. Still, there is enough here to make it an original story. There were definitely parts in the story that made me think, “you know, all of this could be possible!” Oh, and the imagery of the auras Sam sees is pretty amazing, including the differences in the colors and what she can glean from a person’s aura. The powers Sam continued to inherit were pretty neat too, like the transportation and travelling through time thing. And I dug the use of Alexandrite as the Venduny’s stone.
Also, I was so relieved that this book didn’t include a love triangle (well, at least not with the main character, Sam). That alone scores points with me! Not that there wasn’t a romance. No. There was a huge Tease of a romance between Sam and Trin. The spark between Sam and Trin is absolute. And I couldn’t help thinking of Michael Phelps when I read about Trin – guess it’s the whole Olympic swimmer thing. (***spoiler alert*** If there was a part I was disappointed about, it was that Sam and Trin have a lot of intense, sexually charged moments, but they never reach the climax of that. Yeah, Huge Tease. Hopefully Freeman will remedy this in the sequel. Okay, ***end spoiler***).
One of the characters I instantly liked was Vig, Anna’s boyfriend. His character jumped off the pages for me. I can’t put on a finger on why. However, he doesn’t really have a huge part in the book – sadly.
There were a couple of twists at the end that I didn’t see that coming, even though there were times I had an inkling (anytime an author mentions a tidbit here or there, I immediate wonder how that small tidbit is going to be important later on).
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Appropriate for ages 16 & up.
The song came to an end. Sam pushed her hands through her thick hair, hoping the next song would be just as good. But the sound of Vig’s guitar ripped through the club instead, the audience spiking to a deafening volume, her cue to exit. Staying put would get her crushed.
She began an urgent search for Anna, who had gone to talk to Vig near the end of the song. She found her waving from their table and started toward her. Each face she passed seemed to be a guy sizing her up or just flat out pawing at her.
“Hey baby, where you goin’?”
“Want a drink?”
“No thanks. I’m looking for my friend.”
“I’ll be your friend.” This one grinned like a wolf about to pounce.
Totally put off, she began pushing past him, then stopped, glancing back in recognition.
His drunken leering broadened as he mistook her hesitation for an opening. She turned with a shudder. The next face came into view. She knew this one as well, the next, and the next, all familiar. Then it hit her.
Sam’s heart rate increased. She scanned the big club, matching up details with what she had seen the night before. This was it. This was the room. Her breathing quickened, fists clenching and unclenching as she wondered what she should do. Her mind raced as she recounted everything, trying to remember the order of events. Her profound curiosity won out. She had to know what was on the other side of the crowd.
She filtered forward, turning this way and that, one step at a time as she disentangled herself from the many bodies in her way—then froze in place.
Moving through the tightly packed crowd, a powerful golden blue essence spilled through the bodies like luminescent honey, passing each one, flowing forward, coming for her.
She caught her breath, casting her eyes about the oblivious crowd. Vig’s ragged voice seduced the audience, guitars rocked, thunderous beat shaking the walls. Everyone was taken by the show, dancing, screaming, just like the dream. But to her—silence, everything in slow motion, and within moments, she was taken.
Swallowed by an ocean of euphoria, she bent to its will, succumbing, moving forward to the staircase leading to the upper level balcony. She took the stairs one by one, reaching the top driven by this living light.
The crowd began to part, her heart racing. If she hadn’t been so tranquilized, she might have passed out in anticipation of what was waiting for her on the other side. Frenzied energy closed in as the last of the crowd blocking her path gave way, revealing the last thing she ever expected.
Shadowed in the corner, he sat, leaning forward on his elbows, but upon seeing her he leaned back in his chair, exposing a massive upper body and a face she couldn’t turn from.
His masculine jaw and full lips were only outdone by stunning provocative eyes—the most hypnotic blue she had ever seen, scintillating in stark contrast against tanned skin and thick black lashes. Naturally streaked by a lifetime in the sun, his light brown hair hung shaggy around his face. Broad, muscled shoulders extended into sculpted arms and powerful hands.
Sam drew in air, finding it hard to breathe.
While concealing her reaction, his teammates returned with a gaggle of sorority girls in the early stages of inebriation. A break in the music allowed for Chris’s brilliant introduction.
“Trin, dude, meet the ladies!”
Sam’s eyes gleamed. Trin.
He lifted a hand in their direction, his penetrating stare never wavering from hers.
“I’m good.” His velvet voice matched his appearance.
She reeled as a flicker of light danced off his fingertips in the direction of his friends. He was holding them at bay; aware of the energy, manipulating it.
They looked from Sam to Trin and smiled, knowing glances exchanged. Chris chuckled.
“Okay, dude. We’ll leave you to it.” The boys walked away, arms slung around their newly acquired trophies.
Trin stood. His faded blue jeans accentuated the rest of his tall, lean body. Dizzyingly beautiful.
Watching her for a moment, an apprehensive smile crossed his face. “Do you want to sit down?”
“Um, yeah,” she replied.
She moved to the chair he held out, and sat down. She noticed his golden blue aura no longer encapsulated her. It did, however, remain strong and radiant around him. She had never seen energy like this—his whole countenance utterly enigmatic.
He sat down, unearthly blue eyes studying her. But far more noticeable was an overwhelming element of relief coming from him, as if the answer to a long sought question had finally been revealed.
All of her questions remained completely unaddressed.
“Yeah…” she said, still hearing the name in her head. “I mean, I heard your friend call out to you before.”
Trin laughed a little, tilting his head, a trace of amusement in his eyes.
She watched him as he continued to scrutinize her, and still, this feeling of relief radiating off him; a strange emotion to accompany a first meeting.
The band started another song and the volume went back up. Damn it Vig! She wouldn’t be able to hear a word he said. She attempted to read him, baffled by his aura. She could glean nothing from it—unreadable, impenetrable.
He broke her train of thought, calling out through the music. “Are you going to tell me your name?”
About the Author:
Amy Freeman grew up in Salt Lake City in a family of five siblings, one of which is an identical twin. She spent most of her time as a child daydreaming and creating stories. She wrote a stellar screen play at ten, her first full length book at age thirteen, and her second and third at age nineteen. She has been published in Meridian magazine, Moab Adventures magazine and has just released her debut novel SHINE the Knowing Ones —the award-winning first edition in the SHINE series.
Book Two SHINE Angels for Devils is in the works with an anticipated release next year. Amy lives in St. Augustine Florida with her husband and youngest son, Jackson.
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I received a free copy of Shine: The Knowing Ones from Amy Freeman in exchange for an honest review.