I recommend it to readers looking for fast-paced urban fantasy that isn’t reliant on tweaks to common supernatural creatures for it’s sense of freshness
Unelmoija: The Spiritshifter by Elle BocaBoca continues her exploration of a world neither quite our own nor populated by well-known supernaturals. Mixing easily recognisable concerns with political intrigue and mystical powers, she provides a fantasy thriller that offers significant threats without challenging plausibility.
This novel is the third in Boca’s Weeia series. There are mild spoilers ahead.
Aligned with, if not a leading force in, the Youth for Change movement, Amy accompanies Duncan, Kay, and a couple of other friends to a gathering of the Weeia. However, when Loi—the husband of an acquaintance—is found dead, her foray deeper into Weeia society takes on a more dangerous air. Loi’s power was allegedly to unlock the powers of other Weeia, offering a possible solution to the issue of most young Weeia not developing a power; when a previously powerless Weeia manifests his power shortly after meeting Amy, she realises she might have the same gift. The Weeia Elders claim Loi’s death was natural causes, but Amy isn’t so sure. If someone did kill him because he could unlock powers, then should she hide that she might be able to do the same? Or offer Youth for Change the possible solution to their biggest issue?
The novel opens with Amy and a couple of other characters standing over Loi’s dead body, followed—almost immediately—by an Elder arriving to take charge. Although the narration and conversations that occur after Amy and her friends are ushered out do fill in gaps, the lack of any context for the opening image both leaves readers without a reason to care that Loi specifically is dead and—while it does evoke confusion—diffuses the reader’s attention with unnecessary questions such as ‘where is Amy?’ and ‘why is she involved?’ As such, readers might feel somewhat distant from what, to the characters, is potentially a brutal murder.
Once past the initial scene, Boca provides a better balance of context and mystery, adding a desire to uncover the truth to the any continuing interest in Amy’s life that the reader has carried over from previous books. With both Amy’s investigation and the threats against young Weeia growing more complex as the book proceeds, readers who forgive any initial lack of immersion are likely to find their decision rewarded.
However, further moments in which the order of things is odd do occur throughout the novel. On several occasions, Amy narrates that a man speaks then mentions the man’s name a few lines later, or mentions a person doing something then describes their appearance later in the scene; while a single incidence might create a feeling that Amy had been so caught off guard her rational mind took a moment to catch up, repeated delays in identifying people she’s familiar with (including Duncan) weakens the tension by suggesting any missing information might not be significant and might be provided in a few lines.
As with the previous volumes, this novel introduces new aspects of Boca’s world and metaphysics. Viewed through the lens of Amy’s unfamiliarity with Weeia society and the relative rarity of the new powers and events, this feels like more like the mention of things that had always been there than the addition of new things to support a further book.
Amy herself continues to be a sympathetic protagonist. She is proactive rather than reactive when faced with a possible threat to either herself or Weeia as a whole, and her improved understanding of her abilities is counterbalanced by a very plausible set of uncertainties in both what that means and whether she can actually use it effectively.
The supporting characters, reoccurring and new, display a similar balance of ability or understanding, and complexity of character. This depth of personality provides a pleasing human note to the wider plot.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I recommend it to readers looking for fast-paced urban fantasy that isn’t reliant on tweaks to common supernatural creatures for it’s sense of freshness.
Dave Higgins, speculative fiction author
(see it and other reviews on his website at https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/unelmoija-the-spiritshifter-by-elle-boca/)
Another engaging urban fantasy that is both fresh and immediately accessible
This novel is the second in the series. As such this review might contain spoilers for Unelmoija: The Dreamshifter.
Amy is the daughter of one of the most feared killers among her people, the Weeia, required to keep her powers hidden from humans under pain of death; but she doesn’t see why that should stop her living an ordinary life. However, when her friend doesn’t come back from a night club, Amy discovers both another part of her past and that humans can be equally brutal as her father.
While it is perhaps somewhat ironic to mention plausibility when discussing fantasy, the Amy’s behaviour following her friend’s disappearance might strike some readers as out of character. Her initial decision to return to the nightclub rather than report the matter feels reasonable: she might have gone home with someone or other innocent reason for not returning, so it might be too soon to make a fuss; however, once there is evidence that something suspicious has happened, deciding to investigate herself with the aid of a Weeia friend rather than involve the authorities – while not utterly without reason – might feel more for the sake of the plot than a natural reaction to circumstance. Once this initial choice has passed, Amy’s continued involvement is, however, driven by entirely plausible motives and reactions.
With the majority of events occurring in human rather than Weeia society, the story is as much about Amy and those Weeia who agree to help her finding ways to use their powers without revealing their existence as it is about recovering her missing friend.
However, the novel also expands the magical world that Boca introduced in the previous book. Amy’s powers have developed in unexpected ways, giving her an unexpected advantage but also attracting the attention of both mysterious forces from her past and those who are concerned over the failure of many young Weeia to develop powers at all.
As with the first volume in the series, the narration has a slight tendency to list people’s clothing and appearance in detail, especially toward the start of the book; as such, the opening might give a false impression of what is a fast-paced story.
Similarly, the reader is presented with the occasional somewhat objective narration of certain past events; but – unlike in the previous book – these are fewer and usually come in direct response to present events, reducing the sense of a narrator providing a history lesson.
Freed of the soliloquies Boca used to set the scene in the first volume, Amy presents as a sympathetic – if somewhat naïve – protagonist. Despite the potential trauma of being a kidnap victim with a hated executioner for the father, she is not prone to fits of moping, making those moments when events do push her hard times readers root for her rather than recall that she has brought it upon herself by becoming a vigilante.
The supporting cast are – as with the previous novel – well-crafted and diverse, with powers and skills seeming parts of a coherent whole rather than bolted on for interest or convenience.
I enjoyed this novel. I recommend it to readers looking for a fresh and engaging take on urban fantasy.
Dave Higgins, speculative fiction author
(see it and other reviews on his website at https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/unelmoija-the-mindshifter-by-elle-boca/)
I recommend not only this novella but the Unelmoija series by Elle Boca, also.
I was worried I wasn’t going to like this book because my favorite characters weren’t going to be in it but I still liked it. I came to know weeia, as Duncan and Amy but I was so glad to hear that there was a little more to the story. I wasn’t quite finished being in the land of weeia yet. This is a novella, spin-off from The Unelmoija series. It was fast paced, short and a fun read.
Poor Ernie, his weeia abilities always seem to get him trouble. He gets punished for a crime he didn’t commit and basically sent to do military service and gets in trouble there too. Poor guy. I liked the Marshalls Academy, it made this book feel so much different from the other series. At first, I thought I wanted it to feel the same but once I started reading I realized that I was craving something different.
I recommend not only this novella but the Unelmoija series by Elle Boca, also. These magic filled books are awesome.
Ashley Tomlinson, reader, aspiring author, and host of hyperashley.com (see the original at http://www.hyperashley.com/in-the-garden-of-weeia-by-elle-boca/)
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I would recommend to all who love great series and writing!
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OOOOhhhh the last book in the series! Honestly, I take my time with the last book in every great series I love because I do not want it to end!
Thankfully this book has an amazing ending and perfectly wraps up the series. The writing is great and captivates you from the beginning of the story and takes you on a great journey with enjoyable characters! The originality is weaved throughout every aspect of this book from the characters to the ending. The timeshifting in most novels is a little difficult to follow for some readers but I feel like Elle did a good job with the aspect and I just think all readers should take their time reading this book to truly enjoy it. I would recommend to all who love great series and writing! I would like everyone to start with the first book in this series and read them all. You will not regret it!
T.M.B.A. Corbett, reader and host of TMBA Corbett Tries to Write (see the original at http://www.tmbacorbett.com/2016/10/book-review-unelmoija-paradox-weeia-5.html)
A great series
This is a series that I’m sad to see come to a close. I loved every book in this series so much. I know I’ve said this a million times but it’s just so easy to get into this world that Elle Boca created. The magic in this series is so unique and fun to read. So seriously can I be a Weeia? Pretty please.
This book takes place a few weeks from the ending if last book. With the way the previous book ended I knew this book wouldn’t be it’s super upbeat and cheerful self. There’s just no way to be cheerful after a tragic thing like that happens. Sorry, if you want to know the awful thing that happened you’ll have to read to find out. Even though it wasn’t all cheery it wasn’t depressing in anyway. I did kind of miss the carefreeness of the other books sometimes, this one was a tad more serious. I also kind of missed Duncan and Amy moments but I completely understand the reasons for that. Plus with the ending being that amazingly adorable, how can I say anything negative?
Timeshifting was explained a lot more thoroughly in this book. It was so easy for me to picture those scenes with Amy and her Grandma traveling through time. This family is seriously so amazing, I just love how close they are. Something that I don’t know if I ever commented about these books is about how passionate the characters are about their food. Not kidding, they make some amazing sounding food. Can I have some recipes, please?
Okay the only negative things I can say about this amazing book is that there were a couple of times that I felt like the story got a little slow. I highly recommend this book and this entire series to magic lovers everywhere.
Ashley Tomlinson, reader, aspiring author, and host of hyperashley.com