Sixteen year-old Madeline has struggled with epilepsy for most of her adolescent life, leaving her something of a social pariah. Things go from bad to worse when she wakes up from her first grand mal seizure in an extremely unfamiliar world but surrounded but familiar faces. Her hometown is in ruins, the aftermath of a Cold War turned hot.
Thomas, the boy that stomped on her heart a year ago, and his brother Brandon have been hiding her away since the explosion that killed her parents. The Lord Commander, now running the southern territories, believes Madeline died with them and the brothers need to keep it that way.
The biggest problem? The explosion happened when she was twelve.
About the Author:
Mara Valderran is an author of Young Adult and New Adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things Sci-Fi and Fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.
Her debut novel, HEIRS OF WAR, has been met with great reviews and was featured on Wattpad in 2013, raking in over 600k reads. The series continues with the second book, HEIRS OF WAR, CROWN OF FLAMES, released in Summer 2014. Her short story “The Austenation” will is included in the Borderlands Anthology and she is looking forward to publishing her young adult dystopian ALTAR OF REALITY with Curiosity Quills Spring 2015.
Today, I have the pleasure of being part of the Review Tour and sharing my review of the new novel release with you. I'm an avid reader of the Young Adult genre, no matter what the sub-genre is. Altar of Reality does a great job by throwing you into a dystopian world, with a little romance and science fiction aspect.
The intrigue starts on the first page of this novel with, "All I did was blink. Blink. Desk at school. Blink. Hospital bed." Obviously, time was moving too fast for Madeline, the main character to determine where she really was and what was going on with her. The reader really wants to know too, so they continue to flip the pages. Fast. This is a good thing.
It is followed soon after, with an introduction to Thomas, a guy Madeline shares a painful history with. They share a conversation, when Madeline asks him, “How… how long have I been in the hospital?” and he answers with a pained look on his face, “Four years,” he finally choked out. “Since the attack.” She immediately senses he knows what has happened to her, but she doesn't remember, so she starts to pelt him with questions, wanting answers. The author does a great job in creating the questions that the readers want to know too.
Unfortunately, Madeline's romance sparks with Thomas, Brandon, and Austin, felt slightly forced throughout the book, but not totally unreal. Sometimes, it was comical even. I just didn't feel the love. There was no instant emotional connection and quite honestly, it didn't matter to me, who won the girl. Of course, I may have been hoping for Thomas, because of the painful past, but truthfully, I can't tell you who wins Madeline's heart in the end. You'll have to read the book for that. Although, not that I'm picking favourite characters or anything, but my favourite line was spoken by Austin, "You could die, Madeline," he yelled back, and balled up his fists in his lap. "Do you even know what happens to you if you die in another reality?" Obviously, he has some real feelings for the girl. That emotion, I did indeed feel.
Things were left hanging in a few spots, with the reader wondering how things were going to turn out, so I smell a possible sequel in the near future. The plot overall isn't a new concept to Young Adult Dystopian novels, but there were a few unique twists to keep you turning the pages. I read this novel in one night... in one sitting! I didn't even get up to get a snack, so that's saying quite a bit, right there. It held my interest.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the way Madeline entered her dream world and the people that she met along the way, in both worlds. I enjoyed reading about the struggles she encountered as she was learning how to explore, fight and hunt. I was expecting her to be a pro right away, so watching her fail, was satisfying. Nothing makes me want to put down a book more, than when the author makes the main character an amazing, gorgeous chick who has no flaws. That's a definite turn-off. Mara did a great job at making the reader feel sympathy for Madeline. We were her cheerleader and we wanted her to succeed. We supported her, encouraged her and admired her even trying to fight and hunt. Some girls are just not made for things like that... like me!
Overall, it was a fun read, but I feel the story has yet to finish. Hopefully, Book #2 will be published soon!
My rating: 3/5 Stars