Leya: Sphere of Vision Book One (first edition titled Desiccate)
In a world where eye color may determine your future, Leya is born with one green and one blue eye. Will this diminish her potential or provide the exceptional opportunity to become a Double Vision Mistress?
Even if she fulfills her gifts, Leya must learn to control her impulsiveness and quick temper or she will be stripped of her powers in a painful and crippling ritual. Unfortunately, Zendra, a devious Novice knows exactly how to raise Leya's anger. But the Mistresses, struggling with significant problems of their own, seem blind to Leya's dilemma. How much should she risk in pursuit of power, prestige, and wealth?
REVIEWS OF LEYA
4.0 out of 5 stars - Intriguing new fantasy series.
By C. J. Anaya Author of The Healer Series
This fantasy book was a fun and intriguing read. Leya is a young girl accepted as a potential Mistress for the Sphere of Visions. Any young girl with the potential for Visions, which is a particular affinity for something such as water, earth, growth etc., gets to train and develop her talents for two years in the hopes that her Vision will fully develop into something that can be used to help others in the community. It is also advantageous socially and financially. Leya has the opportunity to train, and sets off in the hopes that she can make her life and the life of her families a bit easier.
I enjoyed Leya's character simply because she was wonderfully flawed. Her natural propensity for acting before thinking things through, her impulsive nature and her quick temper were somewhat refreshing to read about. I tend to run into main characters that may have obstacles to deal with, but rarely is the obstacle themselves. I don't think this gives a character any room for growth or development if they aren't flawed like the rest of humanity is. Through several costly mistakes she is able to learn the importance of responsibility in regards to her gift and the way she uses it. To seek out the comfort and security of others instead of using it to get even or teach someone a lesson is difficult for her to learn, but her challenges eventually become her strengths.
There is some romance in this, but I had a hard time at first understanding why the relationship between Ballard and Leya was basically glossed over. We didn't really experience the journey of their courtship or the connection they made to one another though it is clearly stated that they are in love and Ballard is easy to like and latch on to. In other words there were hardly any set ups or pay offs. The author's intent became clearer when it was made obvious that Ballard's character wasn't, for reasons I shall not specify here, going to continue on in the story. Tears were shed at this point, but you'll have to read it to find out why.
I enjoyed Leya's friends and the main villain in the book. Their interplay and dialogue made for some interesting reading.
The battle at the end between everyone's gifts added an element of tension and conflict which carries through to the second book. I loved the way the author described the battle. Descriptive eye candy is how I would label it. Though the book doesn't end with a huge cliff hanger it leaves unanswered questions for the next book in the series. This is a solid first installment in an interesting and thought provoking fantasy. I highly recommend it to all fantasy lovers.
5.0 out of 5 stars - Fascinating and Excellent!
By Julie Elizabeth Powell
I was lucky enough to be sent this book for an honest review and yes, I loved it!
It is original and unique in many ways - the idea of the visions and how they are manifest, the 'school', the divisions the...I don't give spoilers.
Leya is an interesting and complex character, with all the flaws of a real person, rather than some characters I've read in other books who are wooden and uninteresting. She has talents - hence the story.
I don't like to give away anything that could spoil it for others but will say that this story is filled with the unusual, magic of sorts, good versus evil, strengths and weakness, relationships and so much more. It was a little disconcerting how some parts jumped ahead so quickly, but that didn't deter from my complete enjoyment of the tale.
There is obviously more to come - and really I cannot wait. I loved the writing so much that I have since bought a copy of the start of another series by this author (Dawn's End) and look forward to more.
5.0 out of 5 stars - Nice story suitable for young adult and upwards.
By Ann M Pratley
This story I thoroughly enjoyed. The story line of Mistresses and Misters with different kinds of sight that they are naturally born with was something that easily made me attentive to read right through, and it was a really lovely story. It isn't always a happy story line - there is sadness in the book - but it is a good story line. As mother to a teenager I would be more than happy to hand this to them, and would say that there is nothing in there that would alarm me if a child/'tween' of even as young as 11-12 years were to pick it up.
REVIEWS of Desiccate
Amazon.com: 4.5/5 I loved that this story felt exactly like you were in the head of the main character. For the first half or so, that meant being in the head of a fourteen-year-old girl as she interacted with other teenage girls, and all of the friendships, backstabbing, jealousies, rivalries, etc. felt completely real…from what I remember of adolescence. To me, the strongest element of this book is the characterization of these girls. They feel very, very real and believable, despite their supernatural/magical quirks.
4/5 I loved reading this book. The author's writing style is beautiful and she knows how to tell a story. She holds your interest from the first page to the last.
4/5 So if you're looking for a fantasy, coming-of-age, I'd suggest giving this one a try. The unique magic system was a great idea.
5/5 The Sphere of Vision series has started out wonderfully, and I am eager to see what's next for Leya and her friends. Perfect for young readers who love fantasy (think Lorien Legacies for girls) or older readers alike. I kept comparing it to George RR Martin's Game of Thrones books which I loved, only a less violent, more teen-friendly version.
4/5 I thought 'Desiccate' was a well-executed example of the young adult fantasy genre, and I'm sure fans will enjoy reading it.
4/5 The writer takes you on a wonderful journey through a fantasy world of magic and mystery as a young woman learns to trust her instincts, abilities and dreams. It's a highly relatable premise wrapped in a unique environment.
4/5 The characters and plot are realistic for their environment, vivid and descriptively written. The story line flows well with a fair amount of action.
Definitely an enjoyable read!
4/5 Overall, it was a very enchanting read and fit nicely into the fantasy genre.
Once Upon a Twilight
You know, this was a great read. Being in the head of a fourteen-year-old girl has never felt more real. Bonnie captured all the teenage problems to a T. Everything from the nature of young friendships, the backstabbing/jealously/rivalries, insecurities, peer pressure, children/parent issues to balancing study with friends....As an ending, this book is very well-written, an enchanting read with great description. A young adult book which can be enjoyed by anybody any age and I would recommend it.
I was impressed by Leya’s character development, and the changing of her personality as she grows up and matures. The world of the Mistresses was well-fleshed out, with enough detail to make the world feel tangible. This book builds up to a powerful climax that leaves the reader hungry for more.
Although the villagers rose with the sun to work the fields, attend to the animals, bake their bread, and begin their long list of chores, for me, Leya Truelong, this was a day like no other. Today, Wren River was touched by the fantastic.
As smoke from the brick ovens rose in thin columns over the thatched and wood shingle roofs, I left the village and headed down a path toward a clearing in the woods. Perhaps, this year, for the first time in my parents’ memory, a fourteen-year-old from our village would be chosen. Perhaps it would be me.
I looked down at my soft, brown, suede boots, ankle high, with wrap around fronts that tied on the sides. They were stained and worn. I wished I had something prettier to wear, but at least these were solid and in reasonable shape, unlike my dress, which was held together by a whisper and a prayer. Ma had lent me a lace collar to hide the frayed neckline. Perhaps my boots would count in my favor. The Mistress of the Sphere of Vision might recognize that I was not a frivolous, pampered girl. Not like the tanner's daughter, in her glistening leather shoes. Not like the silversmith's daughter, whose canvas shoes sparkled with silver buttons. Not like the mayor's daughter, Jenifair, in red satin slippers lined with felt. My boots were those of a hard-working, serious young lady, one who had to labor for everything she owned.
Every spring a Master, and every summer a Mistress, each from their own Sphere of Vision, came to the village to examine any fourteen-year-olds. They rode in on their great horses, wearing majestic robes that cost more than we could save in a year. Sometimes there was no one of the right age, so they rode on without pause, or they avoided the village altogether. This year there were four girls to be judged.
I saw the first three return rejected. The tanner's daughter seemed angry. The silversmith's daughter seemed bored. Jenifair, who already had everything a girl could want, seemed embarrassed. I was waiting on the doorstep for her return. Unexpectedly, she said, "Good morning," as she passed our little cottage. I was so shocked; I didn't think to respond until she had gone. Usually she looked through me as though I was made of glass.
I guess she was hedging her bets, just in case I was accepted since she wasn't. At least, I didn't think she was. Wouldn't she be excited? But, this was just one of many opportunities for Jenifair. Her future was already bright. For me, this was the one and only chance to break free of a life of drudgery and fear. One possibility for happiness or heartbreak, and it all depended on my eyes.
Since the announcement of our upcoming examination, I had expected the village girls, led by Jenifair, to continue mocking me for my clothes, shoes, rough and red hands, and crooked teeth. Instead, they hadn't said a word. I realized they had no more control over the outcome today than I did. Their wealth, education, and social standing were worthless when evaluated by a Mistress. For one marvelous moment, I was their equal.
A mourning dove called, its plaintive notes breaking the silence. "Don't run, don't run," it warned.
I wanted to run. I wanted to fly. To be there. To have it done. To know. To know now.
I fought the urge to race down the dirt path. It was foolish to hope, but I could no more crush hope than I could turn inside out.
I had not had a chance to see the lucky two girls travelling with Mistress Sangra. They had been chosen from previous villages. Maybe they were ordinary peasant girls like me, with dreams and hopes, and theirs were coming true.
My youngest brother, Albair, told me those two chosen girls were refilling water bags and buying food supplies in Wren River while the Mistress examined prospective Novices.
“I heard the Mistress spoke Granjese,” said Albair. “She’s light-skinned and stocky. I think she may have originally come from our region.”
A Granja Mistress. She would understand our struggles. Being one of us, perhaps she would be more inclined to overlook my faults. But, I wouldn’t speak Granjese to her. Ma insisted we speak Esfera, the cross-region language developed by the Spheres. I could speak Granjese; I wouldn’t be able to survive in Wren River without it. But at home, we spoke Esfera, the language of the educated. I had never heard anyone from outside our region speak it. I hoped my accent wasn’t terrible. Would she admire my effort or think I was putting on airs?
I was the last scheduled for the Mistress to consider. I examined my surroundings, suddenly aware that this might be my last summer in Wren River for a while. The morning sun illuminated purple clusters of mock vervain and sunny coneflower that lined the winding trail. I felt as though the radiant flowers were wishing me good luck. Wealth, fame, power, could be waiting for me at the end of the trail. No more thrice patched clothes. No more rationing coal. No more eating the wormy vegetables and selling the best.
Without intention, my feet moved faster and faster toward the clearing where Mistress Sangra waited. "Think before you speak or act," was Ma's advice. "Consider all the consequences of your choices. I know what it's like to be young and I don't want you making the same mistakes I did." Advice I heard often, for good reason. She never did confess what her mistakes were though.
I realized I was rushing. It would be a poor first impression to arrive out of breath and windblown. I forced myself to slow. Be calm, be calm. I took deep breaths. I smoothed back my long auburn hair. When had this trail become so long?
This opportunity would never come again. I was terrified of being chosen and all that would mean, but, being rebuffed would be even more unbearable. I was the third child of five in my family to be examined. When Thomis turned fourteen, and later Maark, neither had been selected by the Masters to attend their Sphere of Vision. Ma hadn't said a negative word, but I saw the hopeful look extinguished in her eyes when neither of them was chosen.
On the other hand, the Masters had a reputation for harshness. Some Pesca and Miniria parents refused to let their sons be examined. Understandable, considering the wealth of those regions. I had never heard of a Granja turning down the opportunity though. We forest and farm people could never match a graduate of a Sphere for wealth or power. Even our mayor did not come close. Still, I was secretly relieved that neither Thomis nor Maark were chosen. Rumor said males were not the same after their time with the Masters. I did not want to see my brothers broken.
Even though the Mistresses were reputed to be kinder, it was not an easy thing to leave one’s family. This morning, I had avoided looking at my mother's face. I had gone about my chores as though it was an ordinary day, until the appointed time. The Mistress had arrived in Wren River last night and stayed, with the two selected girls, in the best inn. She hired a local woman to set up morning examinations with all the fourteen-year-old girls. I barely slept last night considering what might happen.
In the clearing, the Mistress stood with her hands tucked in the opposite sleeves of her long red robe. I felt the woman's eyes studying my every step. I took another deep breath, trying to calm my pounding heart and forced a shaky smile to my lips.
"Step into the circle, Leya Truelong," said the Mistress in Granjese when I approached. Her voice was strong. She was but a snippet taller than me. She wore her long, flaming red hair pinned up in complicated braids. Intricate, fine leather sandals with silver studs graced her feet.
I noted the circle carved into the sandy earth, and stepped inside. The Mistress stepped in to face me.
I replied in Esfera, "What should I—"
"Sha," ordered the Mistress.
I clamped my mouth shut. A light wind rustled the leaves on the trees and passed through my thin green dress. Mistress Sangra placed her hands on my shoulders and, with wide unblinking eyes, stared into my face. My heartbeat surged in my ears.
Bright red eyes, like a ripe tomato, studied me. I suppressed a nervous giggle at the thought. Some Visions were worth more than others. I'd heard of a woman who had the ability to control cloud formations. The best she could offer was a little shade. Surely, a Mistress should have a powerful, important Vision. What was the point otherwise?
The Mistress leaned in closer. When her red eyes burrowed into me, mine stung to the point of tears. It felt as though something tunneled through each iris and into my brain, like a peppery worm. Her fingers dug into my shoulders. No one told me it would hurt so much.