~ Summary ~
Ethan is plagued by all too realistic dreams of trying to hold on, against all odds, to someone he can’t bear to lose. Hauntingly, he meets this person and finds that she can speak to him in her mind. Lena warns Ethan to stay away from her, because on her sixteenth birthday, like all Casters, she will be claimed either back the Dark or the Light. She is haunted by suspicions that she will go Dark, and become more of a danger to him, the closer they become. However, Dark Casters are already attacking Lena, and Ethan seems to be the only thing that can protect her. He fights to hold on and do whatever he must to save her from being taken by the Darkness.
~ Plot ~
Suspense and mystery are introduced early on and the action builds at a gripping pace. I was fascinated from the start by the psychic bond of dreams and telepathy between the main character and his love interest. The author instilled an itchiness to solve the mystery of the visions that bind them together. Every moment holds rising tension of what might happen if they don’t succeed in finding a way to break Lena free from an ancient curse to enable her to choose Light rather than doing evil. The only thing that would have made this novel better would be at least a subtle temptation to go Dark in the first two thirds of the plot, and also more development of how Lena’s magic works and what all it entails. However, the latter may be delved into during future installments. The ending catered to my preferences in delivering a well-finishes closer rather than a trailer for the sequel.
~ Characters ~
The characters were all quirky and believable, with not a single cookie-cutter among the main cast. The author couldn’t have picked a more perfect setting than Gatlin, nor developed it more intricately. This small town, closed-minded to anything new or extraordinary, harbors secrets beyond what any of its inhabitants could fathom. Lena was intriguing and compelling, along with her family of Casters, all with unique abilities. At times it felt like Ethan too easily accepted all Lena’s strangeness, but it’s believable that having so many dreams of losing someone who evokes such strong feelings, and then meeting that someone in person, can build immediate an immediate bond. It was immensely more likable, interesting, and compelling than the vast majority of cases of insta-love.