Gifted (The Hayven Series Book 1) by J.A. George

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It’s Julllllllllllllly and the month of my birth. I’m already having a little think about how to celebrate turning twenty-two but I think currently burritos with friends would be the perfect way to do that. Moving on from burritos today’s review is another fantasy despite my reprieve of the genre a number of reviews back. I just can’t seem to help myself I always seem to be falling back to this genre and the Amazon reviews were glowing so I settled back, gave this a read and found it rather wonderful. If a new fantasy story is what you’re searching for this may be the ticket.

“Why do birds fly? Why do lions hunt deer? Why does the sun shine and the moon glow? Because it must. I wish I could tell you why, I truly do. It mustn’t be easy, such pressure weighted on such young shoulders, but we do not always choose the lives we must lead.”

Avery Gray had no choice but to be different. She was not born that way; she was chosen.

After having met a special, silver-haired woman, and the handsome and enigmatic Theodore-James Connors, Ava finds herself in Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. With Theo, his friends, Hayven, her gift, and the ability to ‘travel’ in different colours, Ava must now accept that she can no longer classify herself as normal. As friendships develop, and Theo and Ava become closer than she anticipated, it turns out her new gifted life comes with a catch. With no choice or say on the matter, Ava must save a city she is starting to fall in love with; a city that has almost begun to feel like home.

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I adored this book because it had just the right healthy mix of both fantasy and magic. The problem I have with fantasy is that often it becomes too fantastical or fraudulent for me to truly revel in the writing. Some may find this a little odd knowing my adoration of Harry Potter as a series but there are so many clever quips that thousands of fans on their birthdays still joke, although tinged with a little sadness, about their missing letter to Hogwarts. Here I felt that the amount of fantasy interwoven into the story was measured and calculated as not to throw too much at the reader. We meet Avery who discovers that she has an extraordinary gift; the ability to read and hear minds . As we continue through the story we explore and meet more gifted characters and here we begin an emotional journey as Avery discovers who she is as her and her friends attempt to outrun the Cliders.

I thought that Jessica George’s writing style was so warm and candid. It enveloped me as a reader and pulled me deeper into the story. I found myself reading chapter after chapter barely noticing as my six o’ clock reading start quickly became seven and then eight o’clock. To have a book of this genre put me into a kind of reading stupor is so evocative of how much I enjoyed this book as a narrative. I thought what was really wonderful was the description of the powers; I don’t want to give too much away but this description was just, well, sublime.

‘He showed me his gift by simply holding out his hands, palms facing upwards, and I watched in deep fascination as he hands begun to glow a soft, sunset pink before turning into a crimson red, then a canary yellow, finally turning a molten orange, before his entire hand spontaneously ignited and went aflame. “It doesn’t hurt,” he assured me once he’d caught sight of my panicked expression.’

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I think for me it is the utter attention to detail that is relayed to the reader to help place them into this new exciting setting.  I thought the little details were lovely, the fact that no two ‘gifters’ can have the quite the same gift, I thought the Cliders were a little terrifying and helped to add suspense and danger whilst I really loved seeing Ava grow and the beckoning romance between her and Theo. I thought that every single one of the characters was really well fleshed out, Ava starts a little whimsical but she grows to really throw herself at things and she’s an exciting character throughout. I had a real soft spot for Theo, he’s at times terribly infuriating and then wonderfully sweet. Each of the powers is described with gusto and creativity. It’s really wonderfully done and I loved the intertwining love/friendship stories that carried on in the background. Additionally a little odd comment but I loved the length of this book, it was slightly longer and allowed for so much more description which made the book so much more enjoyable.

Overall I adored this book and I hope I’ve left enough for you to really get your teeth into and explore as a reader. This is a fantasy book with a fantastic set of characters, powers, skills and relationships and one I am very happy to recommend to you wonderful readers




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