REVIEW: When You Believe by Jessica Inclan
Dear Ms. Inclan,
I just happened to pick up “When You Believe” at the bookstore and vaguely remembered that it got decent grades at a few other review sites and was in a “what the hell” mood. I’ll be honest and say that up to page 70, I had serious doubts that I’d finish it. I pulled up those other reviews for clues as to whether or not the rest of the book would click for me. I even went to Amazon.com and it was all those reviews urging readers to “keep at it” and “not give up because you will be rewarded in the end” that kept me going. So I thought, “50 more pages and I hope it picks up or it’s return time.” Luckily for me, it was around the page 70 mark that things started to fall into place.
Miranda Stead’s journey into the world of the Croyants begins on the night she accidentally stumbles into a high level meeting that is focused on stopping a rogue member from taking over the world. These people are beyond weird and appear to be able to read minds among other neat little “magical” tricks. And one Croyant in particular attracts Miranda and seems to be attracted to her.
Sariel Valasay knows Miranda is no spy sent to infiltrate their meeting. Over the next few days, he can’t stop himself from contacting her and their initial attraction quickly explodes into passion. But his fellow Croyants fear that Sariel, who they think is the only one of them who might be able to stop the madman Quain, could be rendered vulnerable by his feelings for Miranda. What they and Miranda don’t know is that secrets from her past mean that she might hold the key to stopping the end of life as we all know it.
As I mentioned above, this book takes a long time to take off. It’s the first in a trilogy (book two, “Reason to Believe” which seems to be a prequel to this book is already out) and bears the load of world building but still, it’s a long row to hoe to get past the initial inertia. I’m not sure how long term fantasy/SciFi fans would receive it. The world building is OK for a romance book though.
One thing I wasn’t crazy about was how quickly Miranda and Sariel fall for each other. If I was suddenly grappling with the information Miranda learns, I think I’d be in shock or too stunned for such immediate shagging. Then Sariel keeps thinking to himself how amazing and wondering and fabulous Miranda is. Later in the book, yeah, she helps save the day, but early days….nope, I don’t see it.
Another niggle is how the villain ends up raving like a bad Hollywood TV movie and gives our A Team just the information needed to nix his dastardly plans. And once all the dust settles, we get two chapters of ooey-gooey when one with the required information to wrap up the book would have done nicely.
Yet, once the book got going for me, I read very steadily to find out what would happen next. I did care about the characters and the world that had been created. One thing I did like was the character names. Not a hyphen or apostrophe in the bunch and usually that’s the first thing authors try to do to make the environment for their book “other-worldy” and usually I loathe it. Brava for that. And for readers desperately looking for a paranormal with something different from the usual vampire/werewolf/insert-other-overused-plot will certainly find this world to be new and different.
So, I ended up glad that I had stuck it out yet I’m not sure I’d want to read another book set in this world. This one does get a C+ from me though.