Friday, May 23, 2014

This Strange and Precious Thing

About the Book:
Annya, holidaying on the Island with her old friend Simon, a photojournalist, nurses dreams of becoming a world class reporter. Instead, she finds herself caught up in a nightmare when Simon is abruptly called away on a mysterious mission. He persuades her to stay on at their apartment, but limping home the next day, bleeding and shaken after her usual swim has gone disastrously wrong, she finds their place has been invaded. Yet there's no sign of a break-in. Who was the intruder? Was he waiting for her all along? Is he hiding? Bafflement turns to panic as a series of inexplicable events compel her to seek help from strangers. But who can she trust? And what manner of being is it that appears to be watching her from on high? Could he be real?

Her quest for answers leads to ever more disturbing questions, and when one of her new friends asks, "Do we exist elsewhere, in another time, another Universe? Or is time itself an illusion?" her grasp on reality begins to slip dangerously away. But this 'presence' is also on a mission - some impossible seeming task set him by Gaia, Mother Earth. The narrative deftly weaves the two destinies together into a richly sensual tapestry, while exploring, at the same time, the very nature of reality.

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The blurb about this book really piqued my interest. Time travel, mystery, and Gaia are interesting elements for a story. Author Esme Ellis uses these to create a unique story that will take readers through time and dimensions.

After finishing the book, I had to take some time to reflect on it and wrap my brain around it. Throughout the book, I kept trying to find the purpose. Is this a story about Annya or Finn? These two characters don't meet until readers are more than half way through the book. Then, when they do meet, their interactions are somewhat brief. It seems that they are drawn to each other, but they don't have a typical relationship. Annya loves her friend Simon who had to leave on a work assignment. Finn creepily appears into her life. I expected Annya to then build a relationship with Finn and forget about Simon, but that doesn't happen. So what's the purpose of the story? You have to wait until the final paragraph to discover it.

About that final paragraph, you will have to read it multiple times to work out all of the details. When I got to it, I read it a couple times, then had to read it out loud to my husband to understand it. It made me wonder, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Yes, this is cryptic if you haven't read the book, but when you do, this will make sense. I'll admit, it was a little weird.

Now, about the writing, Ellis creates a story with a classical feel. She gives attention to detail that is almost poetic at times. It was as if she were painting with some of her words. Readers are easily able to see Ellis' fictional landscape.

The storyline was very even paced. There wasn't a lot of dramatic action. It was focused more on Annya's interactions with the strangers on the island, and Finn's, what should we call it, "self discovery". The story also has some supernatural aspects throughout the story such as an astral being who interacts with mother earth.

On thing I found annoying is that Annya puts her trust into strange men's hands way too easily. She's very na├»ve and/or innocent. She goes with the flow and doesn't really have a backbone. She was like a damsel in distress who clung to any knight that came her way. But then, if I thought there was a phantom in my house and had an ominous premonition, I might do the same thing.

If you like the style of classical literature, then I would recommend this book to you. There's a touch of romance and sex, but the author isn't vulgar with it. This is good for some older teens and adults.
About author Esme Ellis:

Born in the steel town of Sheffield, at age 11, I was given a scholarship to the College of Art. Twelve years later I left London for Rome with an ARCA in my pocket eager, as I thought, to begin my brilliant career as a sculptor - but life was making other plans; hammers, chisels and oxy-acetylene welders were no longer featured: a miracle had changed my life.

This story is told in my first book; Pathway Into Sunrise. Clea and the Fifth Dimension followed. This Strange and Precious Thing in 2008 was my third book. Now, my latest, Dreaming Worlds Awake, a miscellany of New Consciousness Writings -'her best yet!' was published in April 2011. Read about it on my website