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Winter Is Coming

A review of Winterborne by Augusta Blythe, in which the inheritance of special powers and the narrival of a British boy come between two best friends.

Winter Is Coming

BOOK REPORT for Winterborne (Universe Unbound Book 1) by Augusta Blythe

Cover Story: Love It! But It's an Ebook!
BFF Charm: Yay?
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factors: Mutant Powers
Relationship Status: Do You Remember the Time?

Cover Story: Love It! But It's an Ebook!

Seriously. This cover is wasted on an ebook. It's stark and beautiful, and the artist at least read SOME of the book. Publishers, I would carry this book around without the least amount of shame, 'kay?

The Deal:

Loie Bryce and Mia Winterborne have been best friends since they were born. Literally. Because they were born in the same hospital room on the same night (A story they love to tell.). Loie is a self-proclaimed Season 1 Willow to Mia's Buffy, because Mia is destined for greatness. See, on her 17th birthday, she's going to receive her inheritance from her father in the form of special powers. Sadly, the two girls don't have much in the way of insight into just what this mutant trust fund will be, since Mia's dad disappeared one night many years ago. Coincidentally, the same night that both of Loie's parents were killed in an auto accident. Yeah. Enter Andreas: unbelievably gorgeous BRITISH BOY. Who just happens to be the first boy that both girls like like. Will their friendship survive? Or, more importantly, will Mia and Loie survive, since more and more strange things keep happening the closer their 17th birthday draws nigh?

BFF Charm: Yay?

The question this book makes me ask myself is this: Would I give my BFF charm to my 14-year old self and my 14-year old self's BFF? Because although Loie and Mia are 16, their relationship is very much like ours at that time. I was the awkward shy one to my BFF's popular extrovert. I definitely played second-fiddle--and was happy with that role MOST of the time--while my BFF accepted her role with with the same naive presumptuousness that Mia has. And while I believe these two girls will both grow into two strong and fantastic women, it was sometimes torturous to relive those feelings through their relationship. I totally felt Loie's feelings of inferiority and of wanting to break out from under Mia's shadow--all while still loving her BFF--even if as an adult I just wanted her to GET THERE already.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Not to give British boys any further inflated egos, or encourage the assumption that all American girls go gaga for the accent, but I like a YA novel with a British love interest almost as much as I like a cold champ can on a hot day. Or a cloudy cool day. Or a day where the sun rises. But most of the swoon in this book comes in the form of longing, and not necessarily the kind of longing that comes with the cherry on top of a happily-ever-after ending. So if pining after someone who may or may not have feelings for you, (or who may care about you, but not in the way you want them to) isn't your bag, then you might rate the swoon a little lower. For me personally, this book hit the nail on the head with the complicated feelings that arise when two besties fall for the same boy. Mostly, I think it's about personal growth, and how you deal with being and becoming.

Talky Talk: Straight Up

I had no trouble buying into Blythe's voice for Loie, even if I feel that it will appeal more to a younger reader than myself. While I grew impatient at times with the characters, I don't think my 16-year old niece would. I was pleasantly surprised by the world Blythe created--it felt both like a classic fantasy throwback and a fresh take on an already-tired genre. I was expecting it to be all hard-core mutant stuff, but liked the way Bythe tied her mythology into the more traditional. This book is the first in a series, and I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the fantasy aspect of the story in future installments.

Bonus Factor: Mutant Powers

This book comes at an excellent time, as I await the release of X-Men First Class, or as I like to call it: James McAvoy plus Michael Fassbender plus Nicholas Hoult, which means that even if this movie is as big a disappointment as the last couple of X-Men movies, I'll still enjoy it. Anyhoodle, I remember the rush my friends and I got after seeing the midnight release of the first X-Men movie, and how we spent the next day at work coming up with our own mutant powers/X-Men names, so any book that includes a plotline where humans are evolving and developing special abilities gives me a happy in my brain.

Casting Call:

Mia Wasikowska as Loie

Poor Mia, if I was a movie director, she'd be sitting me down and telling me that she needed a break, for crying out loud! But Mia, you're just SO GOOD!

And who can pull off over confident/vulnerable/lovable like Ms. Pearson? So:

April Pearson as Mia

One of my favorite things about Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince was naughty Cormack McLaggen, so as soon as Andreas appeared in this book, I pictured:

Freddie Stroma as Andreas

Relationship Status: Do You Remember the Time?

This book inspired such an onslaught of both positive and negative nostalgia for me, as well as the happy new feelings you get when you first start hanging out with a potential BFF, that my feelings can best be described in (condensed) song verse and bridge:

We were young and innocent then, do you remember how it all began? It just seemed like heaven so why did it end? Do you remember back in the fall, we'd be together all day long? Do you remember us holding hands? In each other's eyes we'd stare. Tell me. Do you remember how we used to talk, ya' know, we'd stay on the phone at night 'till dawn? Do you remember all the things we said like 'I love you so, I'll never let you go'? Do you? Do you? Do you? Do you? Do you remember the times in the park, on the beach? Remember the times? You and me in Spain? What About, What About...

As an ebook, Winterborne is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBookstore.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
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