(The Thirteenth, #1)
by G.L. Twynham
Publication Date: November 20, 2009
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Formats Available: eBook, Audio Book, Paperback ~336 pages
Book Blurb: Imagine starting at the end and finishing back at the beginning. This is the story of a teenage girl called Valerie Saunders who is about to be thrown through time and space. Being bestowed with abilities beyond her wildest nightmares, she discovers that she not only has to deal with turning eighteen, her first job and an unwanted tattoo, but also magical powers and intense urges to fall in love. She envisaged she would spend her life blending into the scenery, not blowing it up!
Val has a calling, but which side is dialling her number?
Valerie Saunders (Val) is about to turn eighteen and she just got her first job working for an antique/first edition bookstore. She also starts having vivid dreams and mysterious pain. Then a tattoo just happens to appear on her arm on her eighteen birthday: the Zodiac symbols in a circle with a backwards 'y' with a dot above it in the middle. Then after an encounter at the shop, she realizes she has powers. Val has no idea what is going on so she turns to her best friend Delta and the owner of a tattoo parlor for help (who she doesn't know). No one knows what is going on but they will try to find answers, but what they get are more questions. Why is this happening? Where did the powers come from? Who is behind it all?
The beginning of The Thirteenth started out with a bang and I was hooked. Everything that happened to Val came at a frantic pace and just as one episode ended another began. I really liked the premise of the story: a girl with powers that found her that she can't run away from, but there were time that the plot became somewhat predictable. Each challenge she faces is more extreme than the next, but each trial is so short and could have been better explained. It isn't until the end that I am completely surprised by the events. I am baffled by who the bad guys are! I am even more surprised at the origins of Val's powers - sorry no spoilers!
The characters are likeable, but not quite fleshed out. I would have liked to see more interaction with her Scooby Gang. Then there was the fact that Val seems to trust nearly everyone she meets with her secret (except her parents). Then they all turned around and believed everything she said - not quite realistic, but it did make it easier for the story to progress. I know that this is fiction, but you still want things to feel like they could happen. Val also accepted her "powers" really fast, but when everything keeps getting thrown at her one right after another, she would have to acclimate quickly. My biggest pet peeve was the grammar and copy editing. I don't mind a few mistakes here and there, but when they are so distracting that it pulls me from the story, that is when I get annoyed. The Kindle formatting isn't the best either so you have to be hyper aware of who is speaking as there aren't correct paragraph cuts.
Despite my misgivings, I could not put the book down. I had to see what was to come of Val and her friends and see who it was that kept tormenting her. There are some really good things about The Thirteenth. I like the author's ability to add humor to dire situations and her metaphors and sarcasms are hilarious. I also really enjoyed the tiny hints that are left throughout the book. Looking back I can see how well she tied certain aspects together, but until you read the ending they don't always make sense. So, the ending is a complete turning point and I am excited to see what will happen next. Not only were there huge revelations, but the whole genre of the book expanded! There are three books out in the series - The Thirteenth, The Turncoats, and Nyteria Rising - and one due out this spring. I will definitely be reading on to see more of Val's adventures!
FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.
The TattooA young woman stood alone looking up at the night sky, a cool breeze effortlessly caressing her slim frame as darkness closed around her. At long last it would be her turn to be part of something that had been her destiny since birth.She moved on, passing the pond; she caught her reflection in the water and smiled. The time had arrived; the moon had reached the tops of the trees. On this particular evening, the shadows of the dense woods, mixed with the bruised sky made the adventure that lay ahead seem all the more exciting.As she left the village behind and made her way into the woodland, her body filled with anticipation. She began to run.Knowing instinctively where to go, she weaved like a needle in and out of the undergrowth, dodging the trees as if they were merely smoke trails rising in front of her.She was moving swiftly when an unfamiliar sound suddenly stopped her dead in her tracks. A strange crackling in the air made every hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Something was very wrong. She span around, trying to find where it was coming from, but soon realized it was everywhere. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it stopped.She had cautiously started to move forward again, when the silence was shattered once more by another wave of sound. In the confusion, her foot caught under a loose tree root, causing her to fall awkwardly into a pile of leaves. Before she had time to stand up, she heard violent screams coming from the distance. These weren’t joyful cries; the cries of pleasure and happiness she had been expecting. These turned her blood cold and left her paralyzed where she lay on the wet forest floor, her heart pounding.After a few seconds, she gathered enough courage to slowly lift herself up and move forward again. She was suddenly very frightened, aware of the risk she was taking just by being there. She darted to an old oak tree, hiding for a moment in the shelter of its huge trunk.Cautiously, she edged around it. Everything was quiet again so she leant the top half of her body out, to see if it was safe. In that split second a ball of light came towards her, travelling at amazing speed and growing as it came, until it seemed to be the size of a mountain.When it hit her, its power engulfed her whole body and she was instantly lifted off the ground. She screamed helplessly as it raised her into the treetops.Her ears filled with a piercing noise, like nothing she had ever heard before. Her whole body felt like it was burning up, yet still she kept rising and rising, until she was high above the trees.Then the light and noise stopped as quickly and as it had started. Her upward flight came to a violent halt, and she began to fall. As she tumbled through the trees, the thick branches scratched aggressively at her clothes and face. The ground came towards her at terrifying speed. The scream that was struggling to escape her was silenced when she hit the ground with tremendous force. Her body filled with pain, the taste of warm blood filled her mouth, and she slipped into unconsciousness.
Born in Wellingborough in 1972, Georgia was brought up with her two older brothers in a sleepy Leicestershire village until at the age of fifteen, her parents decided to move abroad, taking her with them. A new country and a new language helped her come out of her shell and for eleven years, she lived and worked on the beautiful island of Menorca.
Georgia wrote short stories and poetry from an early age but her real passion for writing didn’t truly emerge until she was 31. Writing for her own web site and articles for magazines helped to support her and her daughter. After meeting her now fiancé, she was given the encouragement and opportunity to write full-time and the rest is history.
Georgia felt there was a need for a strong British female heroine. She also wanted a main character that had a normal family, with problems that most teenagers/young adults in this country might be experiencing and could relate to. And so Val Saunders, daughter to Mike and Susan Saunders, was born.
Georgia spends time with her daughter in their home in Leicestershire and her life is filled with promoting her books, writing and walking her dog Milly, the Jack Russell.
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