Series: The Hayven Series #1
There is no chosen one in this story.
Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.
Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
Where to Find Toni
Despite the Authors bad habit of mixing her tense’s and the bad guy’s names being as predictable as the sun rising in the morning (Nyx and Damien, really?) I quite enjoyed myself reading Gifted.
Sure it has faults, which I will delve further into later because one of them activated my Rage Mode, but none of them take away from the fact that AUTHOR is a really solid writer and Ava, our protagonist, is the first character I’ve read in ages who was brilliant yet flawed, and I actually believed in her. Any recurring reader of my reviews will know that realistic character development will usually get a gold star from me, Ava really delivers, she’s a giant push over and would rather make nice and smooth a situation out than express herself. Of course, she has good qualities, she’s level-headed and smart and a good friend but the flaws were original and gave Ava an extra flavour that made her not only likable but memorable.
Despite appearances the supports are still written well, they manage to stand up and not look flat next to Ava’s sublimely written character at the very least. You can feel a ‘but’ coming? Yeah, Ava’s love interest can go suck on a Bratwurst quite frankly. He’s just a douche, he talks to her like he’s trying to patronize a three-year-old, I can’t name a single good quality of his and to top it all off he does something really horrible that the books tries to excuse with a good quality but in my eyes it only made him look worse. I don’t want to spoil, but if you read this book then you’ll know what I mean when you get there.
But (again), the romance is not the be all and end all of Ava’s life, it just rear’s it’s ugly head once in a while. This is another massive point in Gifted’s favour, Ava goes through so many changes in the book and she spends most of the time thinking about them, rather than pining after Captain Bratwurst, like what an actual human being might do. It was nice, depressing that it was refreshing, but that’s another conversation.
So what about the parts of Gifted that aren’t character related. Well, there’s a point that I usually hate in books that really worked in its favour. Gifted is slow, I mean really really slow, nothing plot related (after the initial intrigue) happens till about ¾ of the way through. But I was okay with that because I really enjoyed the bits about Ava adjusting to her new life and abilities and her perspective on a variety of normal situations. I was not so much inspired by what is evidently the overarching plot, it was fine, not particularly original, but fine. Yet I resented it because I wanted Ava to go back to figuring out these new changes and friends in her life. I didn’t care about this vaguely explained evil. To be honest I think I would have liked the book more if there was no big bad and the story was just about the difficulties Ava faces as her life undergoes a massive upheaval in every sense of the word.
It’s the first book in the series though so the big question is ‘Will I be buying number two?’ I don’t know, I would definitely recommend Gifted because I really did enjoy Ava. However, this big evil plot seems to be coming to fruition and I cared next to nothing for it, and I have a feeling the follow-up is going to be more about that now we’ve had the (very enjoyable) set up.
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Author Links: Twitter @JGeorgie_