Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: A Singular Gift by Sue Santore

Author: Sue Santore
E-book: 224 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Jean Ryan has inherited a singular gift, the gift of magic. She must quickly learn to use her magic gift before the opposing dark magic forces destroy her world. Jean and Wayne, her friend, work together to discover why her gift has attracted the attention of an evil circle of magic users and how to combat them.  
As she learns to use her magic, Jean finds revenge bites backwards, friends are not always what they seem, and that magic is not a toy. In the end she has to stand alone against an evil worse than any she has ever imagined.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Had A Singular Gift been labeled as a children's or middle-grade book rather than young adult, I probably would have given it a higher rating. The plot and characters are lacking in complexity for what I expect out of a young adult novel. I thought Jean acted significantly younger than fourteen -- even after learning her age, I found it hard to believe. However, that isn't to say that this is a bad novel. On the contrary, I thought this was a great story about growing up and taking responsibility.

This is a classic coming of age story with the good vs. evil theme thrown in for good measure. Jean has to face a lot of obstacles, including herself, to fight off the evil that is threatening her town and her friends. There is a lot to like in this story -- the friendships, the relationship between Jean and her sister, and the way magic is portrayed.

I would have liked to see more development in terms of Jean actually learning the magic. It seems she goes from being clueless to performing very difficult acts of magic fairly quickly. I wish more time were spent on her practicing, trying to do things and failing, and studying the book a little bit more.

I thought it was great how Sue Santore kept the traditional features of witches and magic, yet put her own unique spin on them. Reading about the different ways authors interpret the rules of magic and such is my favorite part of reading fantasy and paranormal. I also liked that magic could be awakened in a person with latent powers. The different sorts of powers were pretty cool, especially the part about being able to visit different places/worlds just be opening a certain door.

A Singular Gift is a story that most can appreciate, what with sibling rivalries, friendship drama, and realizations about family and parents. I would recommend it for those who have an interest in magic and witches.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*