Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review: XODUS (Astralis, #1) by K.J. McPike

(Astralis, #1) 
K.J. McPike
Genre: Young-adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

"One of those rare literary treats that truly has something for everyone." -- Apex Reviews

The first time it happened, Lali Yavari told herself it was just a dream. But when she starts flashing between realities during the day and seeing people disappear before her very eyes, she can't deny that something is happening to her--something she's sure is linked to her mother's disappearance. 

Then the unsettling Kai Awana shows up at school, and Lali discovers she has inherited her mother's ability to astral project--with a surprising twist. Not only that, but Kai needs her help to get to a world she never knew existed. In exchange, Kai promises to help Lali find her mom using his own unique ability. 

Now Lali must learn to control her budding power if she ever hopes to see her mother again. She's not sure she can trust Kai, but with her mother's life hanging in the balance, will she have a choice?

This, I think, is the first ever book I've read about Astral Projection, and I must say that this is a breathe of fresh air in all of the paranormal fantasy book I've read lately.


I did enjoy reading the imaginative take on astral projection in this book, but I also found myself frustrated at times, no scratch that, a lot of times reading XODUS so it was quite a bit hard for me to rate this book.

The story practically revolves around the disappearance of Lali's mother and her quest to find answers why. I would've admired Lali's bravery and loyalty to her family. Her determination to find her mother even after believing that they abandoned them for good.

"Maybe it was naive, but I still believed she had a good reason for leaving."
It could have been really touching. However, reading from Lali's perspective, to put it mildly is frustrating and exhausting.

I want to understand her distress, the pressure of being the eldest among the 5 children, to act like a mother now that the position has been vacated.. but I can't and I did try. Her recklessness and to assuming attitude was so frustrating I would've slap reason on her face if I could. All of the responsibilities force upon her on the disappearance of her mother should've matured her a little bit, would've made her thought things over, be cautious. Oh but no, she did everything the first thing that came out of her mind, I have no problem thinking she would've been long dead if there was no Kai Awana to save her.

I can't help but think that the main reason of Lali's desperation to save her mother was so the responsibility can be lifted out of her, so she didn't have to act parent anymore. I don't really think that was a bad thing- i would've wanted the same thing if it was me, Lali should've atleast admitted it from the start, I guess it will make it less frustrating and a little bit realistic. I guess in someway, it should've been a good thing. I mean, the MC having a flaw and everything for her to have room to grow, I however, just didn't see that happen until the end of the book. Maybe on the sequel?

The world building was quite lacking, I don't know if it was just me but after all the information about this whole new world about Astralis, I just can't seem to envision the world and the more information there is the more confusing it gets to me.

"Great. Every time I felt like I was starting to grasp things, something else popped up that I didn't understand."
Funny, that exactly what I was thinking about.

"For obvious reasons, don't tell anyone else. Not even your closest friends. No matter how much you think you can trust people, there's always the chance they'll slip."
On the other hand, I did enjoy the unexpected twists and turn of the story. Although I didn't quite like the MC, Kai Awana, the love interest, is a different story. Kai is somewhat the exact opposite of Lali. I love how we notice the exact same thing I thought of Lali but still manage to love and care for her in his own way. One of the best thing as well in this book was that there wasn't unnecessary and annoying romance in the book. Both of them knows how to sort out their priorities - which was to saved their loved once. All the side characters in the story was also charming, and can we all take a moment to appreciate the creativeness of their name?

X - Xitlali Marie Yavarie
O - Oxanna Yavarie
D - Dixon Yavarie
U - Ulyxses Yavarie
S - Salaxia Yavarie

I don't know with you and it probably doesn't matter to the story, but I liked it anyway. Also, believe me, the title of this book doesn't just stand on the main characters name. It stands waay more than that which adds up to the creativeness of the book.

All in all, XODUS was a great and entertaining read regardless of the fact that I didn't quite like the MC. The pacing was also great - a plus point. I would definitely anticipate the next book and see where the story goes as I believe that this book has potential to be more than a great read.

Thank you to the author for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

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K.J. MCPIKE grew up in rural Virginia, where she started writing stories as a way to escape small-town horrors like Drive Your Tractor To School Day. (Yes, that was an official part of her high school’s spirit week.) Since escaping said small town, she has made a habit of moving across—and out of—the country. Despite her nomadic tendencies, she spends at least a few months out of every year in Seattle, where she regularly consumes too much caffeine and spends more time in coffee shops than her own apartment.

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