The Healer (The Healer #1) – C.J. Anaya
The book blurb:
‘With the support of her father, the fiery loyalty of her best friend Angie, and the child-like love of Kirby, a ten-year-old patient, Hope must fight against the forces of a relentless demon god while unwinding the tangled pieces of her past, proving to herself and those she loves that destiny isn’t determined by some cosmic reading of the stars, but by the individual choices one makes
A girl, a prophecy, and two warring gods equals destiny!’
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Hope Fairmont is your usual high school girl, her father is the local hospital’s lead surgeon and she has a best friend, Angie, who is the more ‘streetwise’ of the two. The only strange thing is that Hope can heal people, like, magically heal people. She can access their ‘life force’ and instruct it on how to heal the body.
What I like about this book is the fact that Hope’s ‘secret’ is known by her father and suspected by a couple of other characters and so the reader doesn’t have the whole ‘oooh, who’ll find out?’ section of the book. I think this is positive as that can become the focus of the storyline rather than the actual storyline.
The book starts to become really interesting when two boys – Victor and Tie – turn up at Hope’s school. They somehow know that she has healing abilities and this hints that there are others from Hope’s magical world. This always intrigues me as I wonder as to what powers they will have.
As the book progresses we learn about hope’s past at the same time she does and this really entrenches the reader in Hope’s world and at this point the pages really do start to turn! Angie plays and understated yet fantastic role as the sarcastic best friend with more than a dashing of cynicism to her (I think she’s the hidden gem in this book).
Tie and Victor are two immensely interesting characters and their pasts are features that make you want to just keep on reading. The author has created a world where gods and demons are brought to the forefront and are individually shaping the futures of those around them.
Hope’s character is one that does have some of the usual YA clichés; her prettiness is understated (and we only hear of this through other characters’ views), she is intelligent, she is torn between two male characters, oh, she also sings at the local stand up bar. However, Hope is not like all other female lead characters in the YA, romance genre, she is much more cynical and grounded and I really like this about her. How she feels is (probably) exactly how any reader would feel should they ever be in her situation. She doesn’t take everything at face value and she is funny!
Hope’s relationship with Angie is complicated but they are fiercely loyal and the dialogue between the pair of them is absolutely spot on; sarcastic, self-deprecating and insulting; exactly what real friendships are, right?! For those who love the romance element to their stories will not be disappointed; there is plenty here and there are some tough choices for Hope to make.
The mystical element to this book is great, my only gripe is that it took so long to get there. However, I do realise that this is the first book in The Healer trilogy and so there does need to be some world building.
The action in the book is built up really well and the monsters sent from hell are fantastic and are a real threat. The weaponry on show is mystical and exciting and the action scenes are detailed very well. The relationship between the various characters are not straightforward and you will find yourself wondering as to who exactly is on the ‘right’ side in this.
The romance element is well thought out and, again, is complicated; we are given a ‘destiny v free will’ dilemma and it is brilliant, it always keeps the reader questioning the character’s decisions.
YA romance lovers will really enjoy this book. Those who love a mystical and ‘godly’ element will also find this to be a great read. If you like a ‘darker’ side to your romance and more blood to your action then this book is probably not for you.
Rating: 3.5/5. I would recommend this to readers of YA romance and fantasy who enjoyed the ‘Twilight’ series (but with a stronger female lead!)
Where to find CJ Anaya;