By Nichole Giles
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Author Tour
Available for purchase at: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.
Blessed—or cursed—with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he’s a missing piece of her own soul.
Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she’s not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it’s not just Abby’s life at stake.
Under the tutelage of her beloved grandmother, Abby has been learning to use the natural Gifts of Healing and Sight that she was born with. Abby can see flashes of the past and visions of people in the present, and with herbs and crystals, heal people (and her pet dog). According to her mom and grandmother, those same Gifts make them hunted, so each time they think someone may have noticed Abby, they have to move. When something horrible happens this time, it’s time to say hello to Jackson, Wyoming.
At school, Abby gravitates to a small group of friends, including the ridiculously influential Rose, her friend Jen and Eric, a boy who has a perma-crush on her, but the one boy she feels compelled to talk to keeps his distance until they get stuck together on a bus trip. When Abby looks into Kye’s eyes, she feels like she knows him and during their bus trip, the two talk like they do. Something strange, almost supernatural happens, and Kye reveals why it seems like they know each other, why Abby’s been on the run – he knows a lot more about Abby’s life than she does.
Wow. Well, there turned out to be a lot more to this story than the synopsis said. It took me quite a bit longer to read, since I had complete information overload at times, but it was quite an interesting story. Abby really was in the dark about her Gifts and her heritage. The story started as something relatively simple – if you can call the ability to heal and see into the past and have visions simple- then it added sprites, demons, elemental gifts and curses. It covered a few states and a few realms and a few people were sort of, kind of dead. Even though I had to take a couple of breaks, it was still a thrilling ride.
I really liked Abby and how she managed to roll with everything Kye told her and she experienced through the Sight. She came up with some smart solutions when the two of them got into sticky situations and stuck with Kye, even knowing more than he did about the outcome of some things because of the visions she had. I thought it was funny that she was always waiting for him to put the moves on her and he was always literally dragging her around because she was tired – and eternally hungry – and they had to run. Kye was sweet and seemed much, much older than his eighteen years. In a lot of ways, he was almost too perfect for Abby. He had the platinum credit card, they did have that insta-connection, which blossomed into a fast love and because he knew things about the past before she did, it seemed like it was an excuse to be extra loving. Don’t get me wrong, it was very sweet and once it was combined with the action, a good amount of sweet, but he seemed to fall on the ultra-nice side of the boyfriend spectrum. I could just be reading too many jerk-boyfriend books lately too.
Rose, Jen and Eric all turned out to have their own little surprises, and were nice supporting characters. Eric in particular was a character who did things I didn’t expect. Kye had a sort of confusing list of people he lived with – I never could keep the names straight for some reason – that came in handy and his dad was funny in an absentee professor sort of way. I was sort of disappointed in Abby’s mom. She wasn’t as present as I’d hoped and Abby’s non-reaction to it bugged me too. I don’t really like this continuing trend of having invisible parents in YA.
Overall, I enjoyed Descendant a lot. It was hugely action-packed and had a big emotional past story that tied into the present story nicely. There was less focus on the Gifts than I expected from the synopsis and more on the fantasy elements, but the way it was put together worked well and Giles has a nice clean writing style that made everything easy to read. The ending tied the current story up nicely, the guy got his girl and although this looks like a standalone, there’s always room for more.
My Rating: B+
From Nichole: I tried to put these in order of scene—sort of. Obviously there’s not one for every scene, because that would be a ridiculously long list. So I tried to think of the story in terms of movie length, and these are some of the songs I came up with.
1. How Does it Feel by Avril Lavigne
2. Redemption Day by Sheryl Crow
3. Home by Philip Phillips
4. Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
5. Starlight by Taylor Swift
6. Naked by Avril Lavigne
7. Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay
8. Hold on to the Night by Richard Marx
9. Stranger by Secondhand Serenade
10. Catalyst by Anna Nalick
11. What I’ve Done by Linkin Park
12. Wait for Me by Theory of a Deadman
13. Far Away by Nickelback
Obviously, I have a wide range of taste in music. I hope my stories reflect that diversity as well. What do you think? Are there specific songs you’d add to this list?
Nichole Giles was born in Nevada, and moved with her parents to a number of cities in and around the West. Writing is her passion, but she also loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.
For the list of the awesomeness Nichole is giving away, click on the animated banner up top. You can also see the entire tour schedule there! The giveaway is US only and runs May 6th to June 5th.
Praise for DESCENDANT: “A hot new spin on paranormal, Descendant is refreshingly imaginative and powerful. I can’t decide which was best — piecing together Abby’s sinister past or keeping up with her heartbreaking future. If you like your YA laced with melt-my-heart romance and a good helping of heart-pounding suspense, you’ll love this book!” — Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of The Breakaway
“Nichole Giles has crafted a story that breathes from the pages. Her characters are authentic, the action intense, with powerful emotions that will keep Descendant on your mind long after the book ends. Open your eyes to another facet of our world in Descendant and you’ll be sucked into an adventure with Abby and Kye, that will explore the power of gifts, courage, and love. With top-notch writing, Giles has crafted a story that breathes from the pages.” –Rachelle J. Christensen, award-winning author of Wrong Number and Caller ID
“Nichole Giles brings a fresh new voice and flawless writing technique to the world of Young Adult fiction. I was swept away to another place and never wanted to come back.” –Tristi Pinkston, author of Turning Pages and the Secret Sisters mystery series
“This debut novel delivers in all the right ways, with heart-pounding action and a delicious romance that sweeps centuries. I loved it!” –Elana Johnson, author of Possession and Surrender