Harica is gifted with the ability to defuse conflicts using her mind. When she is recruited to assist in resolving a war via an arranged marriage, she discovers that the reluctant bride-to-be has similar powers. Princess Jasmila doesn’t use her powers for good and when Harica arrives to help with the marriage arrangements, she fights back and sends Harica into a coma.
It is through this comatose state that Harica discovers a mysterious liminal space populated by others who share her gift. In this new realm, she learns to do things she never believed possible, but soon things spiral out of control.
In the face of a terrifying and seemingly unstoppable adversary, Harica wrestles with the decision to come to terms with the dark side of her gift.
Will she take ownership of it or turn her back on it forever?
I couldn’t say that everything went black. Or that everything went white. Those are both colours, and therefore they’re something. This was a total mass of absence, an aching emptiness, a void so all-consuming I couldn’t even register my own existence. I couldn’t tell where I ended and the void began.
I don’t know how long I was there for, either. Not even time can escape a black hole.
Eventually, somehow, I became aware of myself again. Two arms, two legs, a head. I had a body, and I was bizarrely grateful for it. I wasn’t in the void anymore, or at least not in such a bleak, hopeless version of it. But neither was I in the conference room, or whatever it was, or my room upstairs, or even my room back home. This new space was all white, with no discernible floor or ceiling or walls. But there were voices. I wasn’t alone. When I tried to turn towards them, however, they receded. I saw no one, and I couldn’t pick out anything they said.
I stayed very still in the hope they would come to me. Maybe they could help me get out of here.
“. . . only here for a short time, I think. We’ll see how we can help her.” A woman’s voice. It seemed to be getting closer again. I held my breath, although I wasn’t sure whether I actually needed breath in this place, whether my bodily functions were just a reassuring approximation based on memory, whether I was alive or dead.
4 out of 5 (very good)
THE BECALMER is what I think is the first in a new series. Harica is still at school and is called upon to help stop a war! How, you might ask. Well, she has the ability to use her mind to see both sides and to come to a compromise. When she is approached by a dodgy government agency, she initially doesn't want to help but changes her mind. Her parents are set against it though, for reasons Harica doesn't understand. So she does what any teenager does, and does it anyway. There is more to it than she thought, and she is in danger in more ways than she realises.
This was a gripping read, taking the reader along for the ride. There are enough twists and turns to keep the story interesting, together with typical ideals of the good guys vs. the big bad. The world-building was nicely done, being 'normal' enough but with added Sci-Fi elements. I did find the end a little abrupt even if everything was wrapped up for this part of the story.
A great YA read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book; the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Nick Wilford is originally from Brighton, England and now lives in a quiet town in Scotland with his wife, three daughters and six rescue dogs. Wanting to make a career from writing, he trained in journalism, but soon realized that the fictional realm was where his true passion lay. He enjoys writing speculative fiction, exploring the things that cannot be seen and “making the impossible reality.” Nick is the author of the Black & White YA dystopian series and has also published a collection of shorter fiction as well as curating, editing and publishing a fundraising anthology featuring a diverse array of talent. By day, he works as a freelance editor, and he also enjoys travelling to inspiring locations with his family, listening to music and helping unwanted dogs find loving homes.
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