4 out of 5 stars
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Prophase starts strong. We meet Piper, who is trying to be both a regular girl in high school, adoring her boyfriend, and a mother to her little brother, Charlie. Their mother died of cancer, leaving them with a distraught, alcoholic father. Piper fights to balance between coping with all the above and being expected to cook and clean the house. I immediately liked Piper. Her willingness to help her elderly neighbor, Esther, her participation in the school band, her insecurities all added up to a pretty typical, sweet teenager.
As well as helping her elderly neighbor, Esther, she also befriends Esther's cat, Jazz. I loved this character of Jazz, especially as the story developed.
Piper is not, however, a typical teenager at all. When her boyfriend breaks up with her, her world begins to collapse around her. Driving with her friends a few nights later, they are involved in what should have been a fatal car accident, except for Piper's intervention through powers she had no idea she could manifest. Nobody understands what has happened.
When Piper wakes the next morning, she discovers her life has been transformed, and as can often be the result, new issues arise for her to deal with that she never imagined could even exist.
The character development and the description of Piper's life and struggles, her relationship with her brother, and her willingness to help others, including her elderly neighbor, Esther, make Piper a strong and likable character. As a reader, I was quickly drawn into Piper's life and became emotionally invested in her future. It is fascinating to discover along with Piper that everything is not as it seemed, and I do mean everything. Her entire existence is turned upside down when she discovers the real world she was destined to become a major part of changing.
What I didn't like was when the descriptions of the magic become the focal point of the story, taking over from the character and plot development. While it was at first appealing to read of the auras, and manifestations of light, it became overwhelming and pulled me out of the story, which had been so exciting to that point.
In the second half of the book, character and relationship development seemed shallow compared to the amount of effort the author put into describing the physical manifestation of Piper's new powers. The earlier character development was great. As new characters arrived, there was little description or information about them.
I think the author would do this story a great deal more justice by trimming out some of this over-description of the light. It was beautiful to read, but there was so much description, it became difficult to stay focused on the story. It felt rushed when so much was happening to move Piper's destiny forward, but many of the other characters did not develop along with her.
I liked the analogies of cell division at the beginning of each chapter, comparing with the events in the book. The accompanying artwork was fabulous.
I liked the introduction of magic and the magical world into the book.
If there were errors or typos, I have to admit I didn't notice them.
I rate this book four out of five stars.
Prophase is a fascinating story with a great deal of potential. A little more editing to take out the over-abundance of physical descriptions and some fleshing-out of the later introduced characters would make a massive difference to the readability. I will look forward to reading the next book.
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