Sunday, February 24, 2013

Arbiter, by Elisa A. Bonnin, A Book Review

Great great story, with a timeline that keeps you reading.

I really have to say, I didn't know how good this story was going to be by just the title.  From the moment I started reading it though, I was hooked.

Elisa Bonnin is apparently adept at many things, and from what I have read, she is pretty darn good at writing a story that keeps you involved, from whooping for the heroine, enjoying the other characters and still guessing at what is going to happen next.

Rae Miller the lead character starts out as an emotionally closed off, depressed, scared and yet spit fire determined college student.  When her tormentor throws down a gauntlet of challenge, she accepts because of who she is at her core, what she believes in, and even though it seems to go against her other beliefs, her want of revenge.  From this challenge, she enters into a different realm; one she had never heard of before, let alone seen, and she has seen things that most others can't see, let alone even imagine.

What Rae finds there is not only surprising and in some cases daunting, it also changes her character in ways she had never thought could happen.  She develops not only new skills, but the emotional barriers she had drawn around her start to crumble.  Her need to save someone, and revenge for another propelled her here, but now she isn't even sure she can complete the task the challenge requires.  Her will, determination and new skills just don't seem strong enough to win.  Finding the strength within is a fight she has everyday as she encounters more challenges, obstacles, and skills on her journey to complete the task.

Being in a different realm where things are not what they seem, and things that may look the same really aren't, I expected Rae to be more surprised/scared for herself.  Instead, I got the feeling that she just accepted it as no big deal, I'm assuming because she had to accept her ability to see things others couldn't in her own realm.  That helps her in the story short term, but I felt it would have been more intrinsic to the character development had she reacted a little more real to what someone in our realm would have.

This is still a really great story, well written, and I would really enjoy reading the sequel(s).  The lead character is memorable, but the others don't have all the writing on the wall yet, so you have to keep reading to find out all about them too.  Well done Elisa, please let me know when the sequel is out.