Updated: Aug 16, 2019
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - 5 Stars
Lillian is a colleague of mine - a fellow writer and author, just starting out on this wild journey that, as a child, she more than likely has always dreamed of, just like me. Just like most writers. I met her on Instagram - I stumbled across one of her posts where she took a snapshot of a rejection letter she got from a magazine editorial, proud of it. She took her no's in stride, just like so many of us in this industry have to do, no matter how hard it can be.
I'll have to admit that I was initially skeptical about this book - not because I doubted Lillian's talent, but simply because I didn't think I would love it as much as I did. Here's why: my interests when it comes to reading, and when I say interests I mean what I'm a TRUE die-hard fan for, are extremely specific. When it comes to reading in general, I love it - I'll read anything. It's ALWAYS enjoyable to read something that someone else wrote, to see the world they see it, to envision the picture the way they painted it. That's always a really cool thing for me. But as far as books and novels that I truly LOVE, and CHERISH, and can proudly say I'm a huge FAN of... that list gets pretty small. They've all got, more or less, the same code; they're fantasy, usually high or epic fantasy, though I can respect a mixed-fantasy like The Magicians, and a good Sci-Fi like The 100. They're usually pretty long. They've usually got lots of characters with intense over-arcing plot lines. They're usually pretty mature, pretty intense. I tend to favor less action/combat, and more environment and character development. They're always beautifully written. Usually pretty descriptive (George R.R. Martin will write five pages worth of the way someone is dressed - and I love it). Some of my favorites are A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin - The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb - and The Kingkiller Chronicle, by Patrick Rothfuss, to name a few.
Here's the thing; Lillian's debut novel, on the surface, has none of that. It's just over 100 pages. It's got about ten or so characters pretty much throughout the entire book. It's pretty short and to the point, when it comes to actual writing style... which is not a bad thing AT ALL. One of my biggest inspirations, the legendary Ernest Hemingway, had a very similar writing style that he picked up when he worked for the newspapers, having to keep his articles trimmed and to the point. Devoid of much detail, but still written well enough to PORTRAY that detail UNDERNEATH. He coined this writing style the "Iceberg Theory."
Lillian's writing style, for me, was very reminiscent of that. And it was quite a breath of fresh air.
So, knowing this, I didn't think Lillian's book would find a permanent place on my bookshelf as a favorite. I didn't think I would become a fan, eager for the next in the series, drawn into her world.
How shocked I was.
I feel as if I've become part of Ignacio's family. I feel as if I've wanted to see Paraìso as much as they have - I've had a burning necessity to find it. And when I did find it, I was immediately opened up into an entire universe where, suddenly, ANYTHING seemed possible.
In itself, none of these feelings may be that unheard of... but in a book this size? With so many things going against it, for me, to ever assume I would become a true fan?
This woman has a stunning talent.
I mean, for me, perhaps what was most jarring about this book was the amount of emotion that was packed into it's small frame. I mean, just north of 100 pages? As a writer, more specifically a writer of Fantasy, a genre dominated by Bible-length sagas, I've always tried to make my books long and easy to lose yourself in. Somehow, Lillian has done that and more in a book a third of the size of mine. This book is packed with raw emotion, magical fantasy, mysterious mysticism, and an undeniably healthy dose of history. Honestly, what more do you need? If you don't check this out, you're just being picky. 😉 Definitely a must read.