Title: Gifted (The Hayven Series #1)
Author: J. A. George
Published: 13th April 2016
“Never interrupt someone who is reading because they’re no longer in your world.”
There is no chosen one in this story.
Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.
Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
Thank you to the author for sending me a free copy of Gifted, in exchange for an honest review!
I loved this book!
The main thing that gripped me from the beginning, and stuck with me throughout, was how this is not a story about a chosen one. It’s not about a particularly special person, with any specific predisposition of heroic tendencies; but of a girl who was in a specific place at a certain time. It is about the decisions we make, and how it is these that determine the course of out lives.
Ava’s character was very real. I think I could relate to her a lot as a 19 year old University student in England (just like her), but I think many can relate to her insecurities, self-esteem, worries and struggles. I found I was able to connect with her in so many ways, and connecting to the main character makes reading a story so much more enjoyable.
I loved that friendship was such a big aspect of this story. I read plenty of romance-driven YA fantasy, and it was nice to read a book about friendship first. There are so many side characters in Ava’s friendship groups, and all had such distinct and interesting personalities. They all had their own story, but also had a connected story too. I loved learning about these characters, and I have a feeling we will learn a lot more in the coming sequels.
The writing is so lovingly crafted in this book too. At times, the description is almost poetic…
“The breeze was soft and warm on my skin and the rustle of tree branches swaying and their leaves kissing, melodious.”
And the world of Hayven was so magical and wonderful. I found myself longing to be there! I have definitely recently been enjoying urban fantasy a lot more – with the idea of an unknown world within our own. I’m intrigued to see whether there is any more of a connection between the world of Hayven and the normal world in this story.
I felt that we didn’t quite see enough of the villain in this book for me to form enough of an opinion on her, but I am sure she will make a bigger appearance in the next books. She sounds pretty creepy, so I’m very intrigued to see more of her!
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, with some great characters and wonderful writing, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!