Rating: 4/5 stars
Suitable for Fans of: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy
The first time it happened, Lali Yavari told herself it was just a dream. But when she starts flashing between realities during the day and seeing people disappear before her very eyes, she can’t deny that something is happening to her–something she’s sure is linked to her mother’s disappearance.
Then the unsettling Kai Awana shows up at school, and Lali discovers she has inherited her mother’s ability to astral project–with a surprising twist. Not only that, but Kai needs her help to get to a world she never knew existed. In exchange, Kai promises to help Lali find her mom using his own unique ability.
Now Lali must learn to control her budding power if she ever hopes to see her mother again. She’s not sure she can trust Kai, but with her mother’s life hanging in the balance, will she have a choice?
I am not a big fan of fantasy, never having my interest piqued at such a genre. I don’t know why, I’m just not bothered about it. Understandably, then, I was hesitant to read K.J. McPike’s XODUS when I was sent a copy. I did, however, decide to give it a chance. And God, am I glad I did!
XODUS is a young-adult fantasy novel circling the ability to ‘astral project’. A quick Google search taught me that such a thing is as follows:
Astral projection (or astral travel) is an interpretation of an out-of-body experience (OBE) that assumes the existence of an “astral body” separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it.
Just this little snippet of information managed to arouse the fantasy lover in me – who only really surfaces when reading Shadowhunter novels – and encouraged me to actually read this book. Again, good decision!
In the past, I have read 2 books concerning “out of body” experiences, both of which revolved around death. (They were If I Stay, and The Catastrophic History of You and Me.) Thus, I was expecting something similar. I was wrong, but I wasn’t disappointed.
OK, so on to the actual review!
XODUS is a roller-coaster for your emotions. You’re up, then you’re down again, and up, and down, and up, and down. This made for a really great book, because it meant I never precedented what could possibly come next. This book is full of delicious twists and turns that my bookish soul devoured – I have no criticisms for the pace, nor do I find fault with the writing style. McPike is a plot twist genius, and – as plenty of you know – I adore a good plot twist. So, if you’re the same, this is definitely the book for you!
The only critique I have for this book is that much of the romance erred on the cheesy side. Also, XODUS does not offer a romance the reader wants to root for – it’s unhealthy, and rather flat. Frankly, Kai and Lali had the kind of banter bouncing between them that came across really well for friends, but wouldn’t translate well into a romance. As a romance lover, I wasn’t impressed by this, but I was glad that it didn’t take away from the story as a whole.
Likewise, I could complain about the multitude of odd names thrown at the reader at the start of the novel, but at least they were unique! Just like this book!
Overall, XODUS is a fast-paced novel, with a vast selection of twists and turns that are endlessly surprising and entertaining. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and so it was consistently interesting, explaining as to why I awarded it 4/5 stars, and highly recommend you pick it up if you want to try something new.