Apologies for not posting this review sooner. I have just finished Arianna's Choice Immortal Reborn I by Natalie D. Wilson. This is the first book in a series, and I must say, I would very much like to read the next one!
Mythology/Concept: This is the first book I accepted that was significantly longer than my usual page limit, and I decided to review it because it sounded so intriguing. The story revolves around the concept of the Nephilim, who are half-human and half-angel. Arianna is one such being, in fact, the very first Nephilim. This novel (and series) revolves around her journey and her battle against evil. I thought this was a very unique and well-executed idea. As someone who is admittedly a little unfamiliar with various aspects of Christianity (as it is not my religion), I was able to understand the complex mythology surrounding the Nephilim. I feel that the author presented it very clearly.
Pacing: I have to say, the beginning of the novel really sucked me in! I was very engrossed in the prologue about Ganymede and Arianna, as well as Alexandria's early life and her journey towards discovering her true identity. After this introductory part, however, I do feel that the pacing stalled slightly. I think that this sometimes happens with certain books in a series. In an effort to divide a story arc evenly into several books, some parts may feel too slow, and others too rushed. After Alexandria discovered who she was, she traveled to meet others who were like her. She also began training and rediscovering parts of her past life. This is a good chunk of the book, and I felt that after the fast-paced first section, this felt like it was a little too long. After this portion, the story again ramped up, and a battle occurs. This occurs very suddenly towards the end of the novel, and it felt a little jarring.
Characterization: I thought that the main character of Alexandria was well-developed and interesting. I also liked many of the supporting characters, especially John, Rohan, Sabina, and Alex's two brothers - Wallace and Conner (who I wished I had seen more of!). I was a little more neutral towards the characters of Jackson and Gaius, the two love interests. Of the two, I think that Jackson was better developed, as was his friendship with Alex. I liked the friendship, and was warming up to the romance, but felt that this could have been introduced later in the book (or in a later story). This is because I felt that they hadn't known each other long enough. Gaius, I think, was introduced a little suddenly, and so, I think, was not as well developed. For this reason, despite the fact that the two had known each other for so long, it didn't feel that way to me. One other point that I would like to bring up is that I wanted to see Alex struggle a little more with re-discovering her talents. I did like the fact that the effects of her training took their toll, as they reminded us of her "human-ness", but I did wish her powers didn't come back to her as easily as they did.
Other Points: I thought that the flashbacks were beautifully written. The author's wonderfully descriptive language made me feel like I was experiencing the events firsthand. It was almost as if I was in Ancient Egypt or better yet, the Library of Alexandria! I also felt that the battle was well written and exciting, and that the character of Kronis was very intimidating. I think that the book ended at a good point. Sometimes individual books in a series have an ending that leaves me feeling like the story is incomplete. A good book in a series should function as a stand-alone novel and also leave the reader eager to read more. I think that the author of Arianna's choice did this perfectly, and I can't wait to see what happens next to Alex and her friends. All in all, a fun read, that I would definitely recommend to all lovers of fantasy and mythology, as well as faith-based fiction.
My Rating: 3.5 stars