June 30, 2014

Savant's Series - Joss Stirling

Okay, for a start, I'm not entirely sure what this series is called. If anyone has a clarifying answer, please help me! But for now, I'm calling it the Savant Series. 

Secondly, unbeknown to me, the author, Joss Stirling, has three pen names. And I have previously read books from each of her other two persona's before I read Finding Sky. Julia Golding, whom I know from reading Dragonfly and The Glass Swallow, is a multi-award winning author who has sold over half a million copies across the world in multiple languages. As Eve Edwards, she has written historical novels including The Other Countess.

Thirdly, I can't remember how to write a book review. And all the "how to write a book review" articles on the Internet either seem to be at either primary school level, or university level. I just want to write a general review, and so I'm winging it here people.

Fourthly, I don't actually own these books. They are borrowed from the library. I did own Stealing Phoenix at one point, but I have had to seriously cut down my book ownership, and so it had to go. Not because it wasn't great or anything, but I just didn't have room for it. But it doesn't really matter if I don't actually own the books does it? As long as I have actually read them?

Okay, so here goes:

Um... I'm stuck.

Okay, so here goes attempt two:

These stories are about the trials and tribulations of being a Savant, most notably those that go hand-in-hand with finding your Soulfinder; your predestined other half, which completes you in a way that no other partner can. Your one true love times a gazillion, in a nutshell.

Yeah, that intense.

The series follows the stories of the Benedict brothers, Trace, Uriel, Victor, Will, Xav, Yves and Zed. Well, if you're gonna have seven children, it might be a good idea to name them alphabetically. But most people would start with A. You know- Arthur, Ben, Callum, Doug, Ed, Fred and Gus. But hey ho.

The first book, Finding Sky, starts of the series off with a bang. As with the following books, the story is written from the point of view of the Soulfinders, in this case 17 year old Sky Bright. Who has some issues. Yeah, big issues. Think being abandoned on a service station and then not talking for years. Oh, yeah, and she used to see peoples 'colours'. Which is a perfectly normal thing to do, right? In their infinite wisdom, her adoptive parents decide to uproot her and move away from all Sky's friends in Richmond, England, and spend a year in the snow capped Rocky's of the USA. Culture shock or what? You don't have to answer that one, btw. And I mean, if that wasn't enough, she gets tortured by the cheerleader teacher, oh, and there's this boy. Like, the most annoying boy this side of Justin Beiber. And she can hear his voice in her head. The whole town is telling her that getting together with bad boy Zed is a bad idea, and it turns out true when they get into gun wielding, mind mugging trouble, but is love that strong worth it, or does it just lead to disaster?

The Community, lead by bad guy The Seer, is not a place that you want to be. However, that is where life has lead to Phoenix ending up. A Olympic grade thief, Phoenix is given a mark. But that mark fights back. And then turns out to be her Soulfinder. Life just got complicated. For a start, is this Soulfinder thing really true, or is it just a load of baloney? Then, it's not that easy to leave the Community. Even worse, it's not that easy to bring the bad guys of the Community down. Especially, when the Seer can literally, tell you to kill yourself. And you would do it. Phoenix can't go back to the Community, but how can she be with Yves without hurting anyone?

When dud savant Crystal's big sister falls head over heals for Trace Benedict, Crystal gets stuck with the most annoying brother, Xav, the healer with the worst bedside manner. He just never stops. She's trying to find her own way outside of the savant community, and he always puts a damper on things. And if that isn't enough, she's trying to organise her sisters hen party. But when an evil savant tries to get her revenge on the Benedict's buy kidnapping their Soulfinders; well, what help can a dud savant be? And do people really believe that annoying Xav could really be the one?

As a girl who's concentration is next to nill, these books are engaging. Actually and really engaging. I've read them a few times now, and I still find them page turning. The core theme of the stories is something most teenagers can relate to - boyfriends/girlfriends. Okay, it's blown out of realistic proportions by the whole 'special gift' thing, but the base of it is something familiar. And then there's the whole 'fitting in' thing that the Soulfinder's face in the books. Most people are familiar with that.

Relate-able, with page turning storyline's? Hmmm... what else? Well, the core characters remain consistently present in each book, and their characters gently unfold and develop. They each in turn step forward to take the limelight and then recede to let another brother have a go, depending on which Soulfinder is the centre of the book. But each book has a new Soulfinder, and each wanders into the Benedict's life and has their own journey of discovery/journey of trying to stay alive despite the best efforts of evil Savants. And so, you don't really have to read them in order. Because Phoenix doesn't know what happened between Sky and Zed, you don't have to know either. So if you see one of these books on the shelf, and you haven't read any of the others, don't worry, go for it!!!! (Although it might involve some spoilers).

These are all written in the first person, of Sky, Phoenix, and you guessed it, Crystal. Coincidentally, they are all brought up in England. Whereas the Benedict's are all American born and bred. I mean, isn't it good to have a book that crosses international boundaries.

I like how these books are written in the first person, as well as generally liking books written in the first person, because I feel that there is so much more emotion! You have a real insight into what the character is feeling, and I feel that this draws you into the books, as you have a deeper 'relationship' with the characters. I mean, there are millions of good books written in the third person, but I do think that the first has been used very successfully here.

In a nutshell, I like these books for lots of reasons. They storyline's are great, the characters fully developed and have clear emotions that you can relate to, you can read them as a series or just pick one up. They are very well written. And they're different. They're not just another bit of vampire fiction (sorry Twilight) nor are they another 'girl meets heart breaker but it all works out in the end' kind of book. Yes, they have aspects of both, but with the Savant series, I feel like they have been written because this is what the author wants to write about, and not just what she thinks the market wants. Which, I think, makes them grate. Oh, and it isn't just 'I think', Finding Sky has got 4.5 stars on Amazon UK.

And if that isn't enough for you, a) Challenging Zed is a free ebook available for Amazon Kindle (and you don't have to have a Kindle, you just need to download the app) which tells the first part of the Finding Sky story from Zeds point of view and b) Misty Falls, the next book in the series, is coming this October. Yippee!!! Christmas? Please Santa Claus if your listening? If I can wait that long, of course. Here, I can't wait to 'meet' Misty, Crystals cousin, (What is it with Savants and big families? Anyone?) a perpetual truth teller, at a time when young savants are in danger.... Ooohh... October, please come soon, please!


  1. Amazing review! These books are really my favourite :) I also wrote something about Finding Sky (on my blog which has had a little hibernation recently :D)

    1. Aw... Thanks!!! I know, these books are just soo good you have to write about them!