Hope Found
by Jackie McMillan
BookVenture Publishing

"She started shaking her head and moving back away from them. She felt her foot hit the last stair and she felt her body falling backwards."

The dreams, or more often nightmares, were so vivid, almost as if they were memories or some sort of supernatural visions. Jenna had started having them about a year ago, and each time they came they seemed more and more realistic. Deep down she felt that life was about to change for her, but was she truly ready for what was coming?

What was on the horizon was potentially world-changing. Humans had ruled without rival since the dawn of history as the only intelligent life on the planet, or so they believed. They were wrong. Dwelling among them were other supernatural races, but their existence had remained hidden for centuries. True, legends had been spread about their kind, and some, such as those who hunted them, knew for a fact that such beings existed. Yet the general populace had remained blissfully ignorant of the fact that the person in the office cubicle next to them at work might not be quite what they seemed. The secret was so closely guarded that even the vampires and shape-shifters, former allies who had turned into bitter enemies and then separated themselves centuries ago, had come to believe in each other’s extinction. But the isolation of the races could be coming to an end. It had been foretold in the distant past that One would come who would change everything for all of the races. Could Jenna be the fulfillment of a legend?

Blending intrigue, infighting, and paranormal prophecy, McMillan has crafted a unique entry into the urban fantasy genre. This is achieved not by the unusual nature of the characters. After all, stories with witches, vampires, shape-shifters, and slayers of the undead are fairly common. What sets the Scottish author’s book apart, though, is her intense focus on the interior lives of her players, rather than relying primarily on their exterior actions to move the plot forward. For example, throughout much of the book she delves into the mind of Josh, Jenna’s new boss and secret subordinate to Alex, her eventual love interest. Good authors frequently spend some time in the heads of supporting cast members to help develop their characters and to create entertaining love triangles, but McMillan’s persistent probing into Josh’s thoughts and emotions give a depth to him rarely seen in secondary figures. The author also devotes a significant amount of time in depicting the way her characters, both heroes and villains, interact and relate to others around them and especially in the workplace. The result of these areas of emphasis is a heightened sense of realism, a retention of the narrative in the commonplace that is often absent in novels of a similar vein.

While the characters are engaging and the overall storyline is interesting, the book requires better editing, making it difficult to read, at times. As a whole, however, the author’s novel is a nice start to her series and a competent entry into a demanding and evolving genre with a highly discriminating fan base.

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