Ever since her sixteenth birthday, strange things keep happening to Seraphina Parrish.
The Lady in Black… burns Sera’s memories.
Unexplainable Premonitions… catapult her to other cities.
The Grungy Gang… wants to kill her.
And a beautiful, mysterious boy… stalks her.
But when Sera moves to Chicago, and her aunt reveals their family connection to a centuries old, secret society, she is immediately thrust into an unbelievable fantasy world, leading her on a quest to unravel the mysteries that plague her. In the end, their meanings crash into an epic struggle of loyalty and betrayal, and she’ll be forced to choose between the boy who has stolen her heart and the thing she desires most.
Wander Dust is the breathtaking fantasy that will catapult you through a story of time, adventure, and love. (Goodreads summary)
Seraphina Parrish’s 16th birthday promises to be an extremely underwhelming event, until a mysterious Lady in Black causes her to see and feel things that shouldn’t be possible. Ever since that strange night, Sera’s world has slowly taken a turn for the weird and unexplainable, especially when she realizes that she herself can do the impossible… wander through time. Confused and uncertain of what her ability means and entails, she fears she may be losing her grip on reality. Then her dad, with whom she’s never been particularly close, decides to send her to finish out the school year with her aunt in Chicago. Chicago just may hold the answers she’s looking for, as well as many dangers she never anticipated.
Slightly reminiscent of X-Men, channeling some of the ancient, historically significant feel of Harry Potter but with an interesting Egyptian/Judeo-Christian mythology that’s all her own, Warren has created a fascinating world that exists beneath our very own. In this world, some people are born with super human abilities that allow them to be one of three things: protectors, seers or wanderers. What that entails I’ll leave you, Dear Reader, to discover for yourselves, but I will say that I found the rules of Warren’s universe to be original and creative. The world of the wanderers feels grand in scope, has a good foundational, historical weight to it and an appealing overall aesthetic.
Seraphina. Though she is definitely an independent individual, she’s not really what I’d consider a rebel, despite the lengths she may go to to secure her dad’s attention. I found Sera’s relationship with her dad to be very revealing about her character as a whole, and Warren’s introduction to Sera in the context of her relationship to her dad laid a good foundation as to what she really wants and why she does the things she does. It’s also interesting to see her character develop as she becomes more of her own person and as she finds a place of her own in her new situation in Chicago. While I had a little difficulty pinning down aspects of Sera’s personality, there’s no denying that she’s brave, intelligent, determined, perhaps a bit impulsive and has admirable sense of honor.
Bishop. After her frightening encounter with the Lady in Black on her sixteenth birthday, Sera receives a cryptic envelope with only the photograph of an unknown boy tucked inside. She’s never met him, but she feels an unexplainable instant connection to him. When she discovers the living, breathing version of the boy at her new school in Chicago, she determines to find out more about him. Though Warren keeps him a largely mysterious character in terms of his back story and personal history, she reveals enough about Max Bishop for the reader to know the important aspects of his character – the things that truly matter. Bishop is level-headed, compassionate, also honorable, loyal, a bit on the quiet side and manages to ride that fine line between being protective but not overbearing. All in all, he’s decidedly dreamy, and though he and Sera have this immediate connection, it makes sense within the context of the story – there is a satisfactory reason behind it.
Though I really did enjoy Wander Dust, there are a few things that nagged at me. One in particular being that while the mystery is compelling, Sera makes two specific logical leaps to keep the plot progressing that I just wasn’t able to easily follow. It seemed a bit of a stretch. Also the character of the Lady in Black. I just couldn’t get a bead on her, and maybe I wasn’t supposed to, but I just wish that there had been a bit more development done with her character, mostly because I just wanted to find out more about her and her motivations.
On the other hand, there were certain things I really enjoyed about this story, particularly the clever way that Warren handles certain events, and the reasoning behind why those events occur. I apologize, Dear Reader, that I can’t be anymore specific than that. I also love that the characters in this book travel to different places. Weird personal preference, but I prefer movement in my stories – characters on the move, instead of statically remaining in one place. The climax of this book was also worthy of the build up leading up to it, it was exciting, a bit shocking and forces Sera to make some extremely hard decisions. Maybe I’m just a mean person, but I love when characters I root for get backed into a corner, it’s interesting to see how they’ll react or get out of their circumstances — those situations do a lot for character building. The world building and the potential romance already had me hooked, and these few things are several more big points in Wander Dust’s favor.
Overall, with wonderful characters and a curious underlying mythology, Wander Dust boasts an alluring and mysterious world full of intrigue, romance, danger, betrayal and beauty.
Title: Wander Dust
Series: The Seraphina Parrish Trilogy (Book #1)
Published: November 30th 2011
Format: Paperback, 374 pages, Kindle; Nook
Source: E-ARC provided by author for blog tour