Wander Dust by Michelle Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Exciting and magical YA, can't wait to read the next...
The story opens at Sera's birthday dinner. Her father, engrossed in his flirty girlfriend, barely acknowledges his daughter's presence, which is probably why he doesn't notice when a mysterious, and obviously evil, woman in black takes an interest in her. It isn't until Sera collapses to the ground under the fiery weight of the woman's attack on her mind, that he realizes something's wrong. Of course, Sera can't tell him what really happened. She's not even sure of it herself.
Reality crushing events continue to haunt Sera to the point she begins to doubt her sanity even as she discovers clues to the mysteries of her past, present, and future. When her father sends her to live with her aunt in Chicago, she soon realizes that insanity is the least of her worries.
I love how the author weaves together a bit of steampunk and magic into the story. I'm a steampunk newbie, at least in books, but I know enough to recognize elements of it in this book. The gadgets, the animated metal guardians, and the larger than life technology with an old world flair are hard to miss. I also dig how they use some of the gadgets in conjunction with their powers.
As for the magical aspects, I was happy to realize this is a story where a young girl discovers she has powers, and that she discovers them on her own and thinks she's losing her mind makes it all the more interesting. There are some similarities to Harry Potter in that there is a magical school, and like the wizards in that other series, those that share Sera's gifts have formed a secret society and keep themselves separate from the "normals." The magical system is solid and consistently applied, which is important to keeping the fantasy believable.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next book in the series. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy YA, with a touch of magic and romance on the side. YA steampunk fans may also find this book to their liking, though I'm uncertain how closely this story conforms to the genre.
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