Matilda Seer
by M. D. Allen

"You possess the power to break the hold that dark magic has on your mind by focusing on what you have, and not on what you lack."

Seven young people have been abandoned by society, shuffled from foster home to foster home and left without hope of a better life. All seven long for something better, and all seven get their wish when they are transported unexpectedly to a new world known as the Inner Realm. Here they are given new names and, with them, new powers. For example, there is Matilda, who has visions of the future, Ethan, who is blessed with extraordinary strength, and Kari, who can control the winds. Known as the Chosen, these seven frightened, uncertain teenagers suddenly find themselves entrusted with the protection of this magical new realm from vicious dark forces. However, to fulfill their destiny, they will need more than magical powers; they will need to overcome their differences and haunted pasts and learn to have faith in one another and themselves.

Overall, this novel offers readers a dynamic narrative driven by sympathetic characters and set within an intriguing alternate reality. By avoiding the clich├ęs of the fantasy genre, Allen creates a world that is fresh and interesting, juxtaposing talking rats and fairy guesthouse keepers with sandwich shops and public restrooms. A particular strong point of the narrative is that Allen resists the temptation to resolve tensions between the main characters too easily; these seven young people have more differences than similarities, and they neither bond nor adjust to their new lives too quickly. The result is a group of protagonists who feel real and plausible. The dialogue and descriptions feel strained in places, and hopefully elements of the backstory and plot will be developed in future installments of the series. Nevertheless, Allen has produced an original and gripping story that is sure to appeal to young fantasy enthusiasts and have them reaching for the sequel.

A 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Award Sci-Fi/Fantasy Honorable Mention

Return to USR Home