One of my favorite things about the holidays is guilt-free reading time. Moms never really go on vacation; we just experience a slight increase in our favorite leisure activities. Unfortunately, this means we sometimes mistake a really bad cold for vacation.
“I’ve been in bed for three days, and I’ve finished four novels. I must be on vacation!”
The best book I read this holiday season was Powers by John B. Olson. Check out his site here for a cool book trailer.
When I read the first book in the series, Shade, I felt like buying ad space—you know, TV, radio, Internet, billboards. The campaign concept was simple: a huge arrow pointing to the swirly shadowy cover of Shade with the words, “This is it!”
Olson wove all the elements together—suspense, action, mystery, romance—into a practically perfect package.
I anxiously awaited the sequel, and when Powers arrived in the mail, I got goose bumps. The book didn’t disappoint.
After a couple literary paragraphs that plunked me right in the middle of a Louisiana swamp and convinced me it was the most beautiful place on earth, the action slammed into high gear.
The story opens with Mariutza, a gypsy girl with Dorothy Gale’s innocence and Catwoman’s mad fighting skills. The man she’s known as her grandfather is murdered by mysterious evil forces, and Mari must leave everything she knows to follow his final instructions to find the prophet Jaazaniah.
If Mari is in touch with her inner Superwoman but a bit out of touch with reality, Jazz is the opposite. His harsh reality, scraping by as a musician in New Orleans, has squelched all but the instinct to survive. Until strange visions, and terrifying, hooded pursuers turn his life into a waking nightmare.
Jazz and Mari’s paths cross, twist together, and lead them further into danger, intrigue, and powerful attraction.
I loved the way the plot expanded to become bigger than all the characters yet still dependent on their choices. I was not ready for it to end, and now I have the bittersweet pleasure of waiting for the next installment.
My imagination lives on books like John Olson’s Shade series. Like Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, Olson’s books stoke the soul and feed those inner cravings we all have for something more than our cardboard existence.
If, like me, you’re tired and hungry and you need a vacation from your vacation, I suggest you self-medicate with the exciting, deeply-satisfying, and beautifully-written Powers. Better yet, take two—both Shade and Powers—and call me in the morning. Or whenever you wake up after reading them straight through.
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