Book Review: RADIANT / Fantasy

RADIANT (Towers Trilogy Book One)

                               RADIANT    Author: Karina Sumner-Smith

Gold StarsRating: 5 out of 5 Stars.

Highly Recommended Reading.

Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy / Post Apocalyptic / Paranormal .

Xhea is an anomaly – she somehow exists in a place of magic without any of her own. Stuck in the lower city living a bare existence long after the decimation of a forgotten world, her only trick is an ability to see and speak with the dead. Unfortunately, her latest job leaves her tethered to a ghost who’s not truly dead and is caught in the midst magical politics Xhea wants nothing more than to do without… until something changes and she decides to help someone besides herself for the first time in a very long time.

From the moment I cracked open Radiant my eyes were glued to the page. My skin tingled with anticipation as the story was not only immediately personable but extremely well-written. The language and vocabulary fit perfectly into the YA readership and yet I could feel Sumner-Smith’s devotion to her craft and passion for showing us this story. As a fellow author, I must say that reading her work is like being a child in Disney Land – the effortless nature of the magic in her tale just whisks you away on a wild adventure.

Sumner-Smith’s depiction of magic in a post apocalyptic urban setting brings a fresh take to an old, and much beloved, concept. The idea that all humans have evolved to produce magic as an energy source that translates into credit or money for a new society living high amongst the clouds, brings to the fore a dynamic hierarchy for life. The fact that her main character is bereft of the magic that everyone else has, to varying degrees, places her at an immediate disadvantage in this world. Add to that the fact that she can communicate with ghosts, and her likeability factor with the rest of the lower citizenry shrinks to near zero. The dynamics of this one idea, that the strength of your magic determines your wealth and prestige, provides a solid foundation for a story worthy of reading again and again.

I must admit that I faltered slightly in my love of this work when ‘strange night-walkers who ate people’ were suddenly introduced into the context of the story. However, my aversion for anything remotely related to Zombies was pacified when Sumner-Smith gave them a new identity, a new reason for their existence – ultimately making them her own. And while at a glance you might be tempted to call these beings ‘Zombies’ you would be utterly mistaken. Still, Sumner-Smith has found a way to touch on elements of the paranormal and necromantic without falling into pre-laid traps, and for that she deserves the highest praise.

RADIANT is easily a story for anyone, YA to Adult, who enjoys a good fantasy. The effortless precision of the tale ensnares your soul, preventing you from willingly putting this book down.

Review by M.J. Moores, Author of Time’s Tempest: The Chronicles of Xannia & other works

Categories: Book Reviews

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2 replies

  1. Great review. I’ve never heard of this book, but it’s on my TBR now!


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