Twilight Times Books
Received from author for review
She moves from human host to human host with little memory of the people she's taken over before. Once she's in a new body, it's her job to figure out what in their life has caused someone higher up to send her to them, and then fix whatever is going wrong before moving on to the next person. She doesn't know her name, how long she's lived, or how many hosts she's helped.
When she's dropped into the body of Sydney Turner, she plans on following her rule of not getting attached to the person with whom she's so intimately connected. Don't get attached. Don't want what they have. Just help them and move on. But Sydney's case is different for her, and she finds herself with a very angry Sydney sharing her consciousness and a very problematic past catching up with the young woman who is her new mission.
When going to work with Sydney's mother, she and Sydney meet Lane and his younger sister Shae who instantly recognizes that she's not really Sydney – that she's something more. She finds herself quickly falling in love with Lane and wanting desperately to stay in this life though she knows it's not meant to be. Little does she know however, that Lane, Shae and even Sydney herself are going to change her life as much as she changes theirs.
Imaginative and intriguing, Abithica plucks us from our own lives and deposits us in the life of an entity that defies definition for majority of the book, and like Abithica (we learn her real name toward the end of the story) we find ourselves disoriented but undeniably curious as to what will unfold in the new life we've temporarily commandeered. Abithica's ignorance eases the frustration of our own, and we feel as closely aligned with her as is possible for people on either side of the fictional divide, yearning to discover her purpose in this latest mission as though it were ours as well. The reality of our world easily falls away once we start reading, the sights, sounds, and emotions of Abithica and Sydney's world smoothly replacing them, enveloping us in a tale awash with possibilities, enigmas, and individuals who hold our undivided attention.
Abithica springs to life instantly, her sense of humor about the unfortunate timing of her latest body assignment bringing a smile to our faces as she approaches her unusual existence with an infectious good attitude. Though we laugh initially, we quickly sober as details of Abithica's (not Sydney's) life are revealed, illuminating a suffocating loneliness as she acts as a catalyst for positive change in others but can claim nothing of those lives as her own. She goes through each day knowing a clock is counting down her time with Sydney, but she has no idea how many numbers are left before everything of this mission is but a memory that, with time and new hosts, will eventually fade altogether. Though we acutely feel her longing to belong, she never mopes or wraps herself in a dramatic shroud of self-pity, having only brief understandable outbursts to wish things were different before accepting her role in Sydney's life again and moving forward.
Watching her form a connection with Lane and his sister Shae is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, her moments of happiness with him often overshadowed by her uncertainty as to what Lane is responding to–body or soul–and the incessant ticking of an invisible clock. We desperately hope Abithica will have a moment of clarity and find a solution where all will be well and she can have her proverbial cake and eat it too, but as much as we want it, we also secretly crave the tension that accompanies the possibility that things will not go our way. Though their relationship does move at hyper-speed, our overwhelming desire to see Abithica grab a piece of life and keep it for her own acts as a balm to sooth our averse reaction to their instant love.
One slight drawback to this story is the secondary plotline with the Legnas gang, a group of apparent demons seeking to hurt and destroy lives instead of heal and fix as Abithica does. Their scenes are disturbing and dark to Abithica's light, and while they have a terrifying allure that keeps our eyes glued to the pages however much we might want to look away, this first book fails to provide us any link between them and Abithica herself. Knowing there is a second book that is going to more clearly illustrate the correlation between our sides of good and evil is helpful, but both Abithica's struggles to help Sydney and her affection for Lane against her better judgment are interesting enough that we wouldn't mind staying with her the entire time. Overall though this is a beautifully told urban fantasy story, and I certainly look forward to more from Ms. Goldsmith.
Ms. Goldsmith has generously offered up a signed printed copy of Abithica to give away on the blog today! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight on Friday, July 8th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!