Author: Kelly Ann Jacobson
A combination between a medieval fairytale and a young adult novel, The Zaniyah Trilogy captures the dynamic pacing of a fast and rollicking story and the old world details and flair that comprise the ethereal nature of fantasy fiction. The story opens with sixteen year old Zoey encountering a seer/witch who can see into the future through the dreams of people staying in her crystal covered house. Angela soon discovers that Zoey is none other than Zaniyah – the original White Witch. At the imitation of the world, two spirits were created, the spirit of good magic and her nemesis, the evil spirt Danger. Throughout the centuries, Danger has sought dominion over the world, killing Zaniyah in various ways. But each time she just comes back stronger, more determined. In this life, she is ready to face the ultimate battle, the one that decides whether light or dark shall rule the world. The problem? She’s in the body of a 16 year old girl with a rag-tag crew including two dragons, a mystical cat, and her immortal husband from a past life. Danger, on the other hand, has the armies of darkness at his control and one very special link into Zoey’s life that just might be her undoing.
The Zaniyah Trilogy is a fantastical YA novel with magic enough to enthrall readers of all ages and emotion enough to keep us riveted and returning. The adventure is quick and breathless, like a roller coaster ride, yet the world is fleshed out and ephemeral. The characters are vibrant and real, the mystery of their pasts unfolding, dare I say it, magically. Teen love, good and evil, loyalty, justice, revenge, and compassion – the characters represent a dynamic shifting world that is gripping, heart warming, and at times heart rending. Who says YA novels are just for teens?
The novella is split into three parts (the first two originally sold separately from a different publisher – you can read specific reviews of Part I here and Part II here). Each part, indeed each chapter, is fashioned in a suspenseful mode, oscillating cliff hangers with resolutions to give that unique dash of the thriller genre in this compact, yet elaborate story. Result? It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s surprisingly deep.
Zoey and entourage (specifically my favorite – Red the dragon) are lovable and so very real. The fantasy elements add eye candy, but all the emotion and interaction is so real that there is no way that we can go through this story without being on the collective edges of our reader seats. Zoey and crew are our friends now and we are along for this ride.
Oh, and while I’m going on, I must give a nod to the writing which keeps the preferred conciseness of the modern yet adds in the literary elements of just good-old fashioned story telling. This is a cozy world that we can see, taste, feel, and touch. Despite the high stakes and danger (haha, get it?) there is something delightfully pure about this world – something that is simply goodness.
The novella ends and we, the readers, hate to part from this cast. Yet the ride feels complete, all those cliff hangers still making our blood sing while we sniffle happy tears over the last page and know that this is a world our hearts and minds will just keep returning too. Highly recommended.
- Frances Carden