Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Brittni Chenelle for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
Now, this is technically my second story from Brittni Chenelle, but this also happens to be one of the first stories written by Chenelle. In addition, she also mentioned that this is for her youngest audience, so I will treat it as such.
The premise of this story was very cute, and I enjoyed that we got to see how going into a fantasy world could affect two very different people in very different ways. We have Eliza Brooks, who is on the basketball team at school and is a pretty stellar athlete but also seems to be a little shy off the court. On the other hand, we have Milo Hawkins, supposed “goth” but also really great at video games. In fact, I feel like his prowess in video games may have been the tipping point on the outcome of this journey.
Somehow, both Eliza and Milo were sucked into a book called “Involutia”, which brought them into the world also called Involutia, where they run into a… let’s call him a nutty professor. From there, they spend what seems like a long period of time trying to find their way home, but also having some side adventures along the way. While Milo learns how to be a warrior in one world, Eliza somehow meets a group of Elves that try to teach her how to be an archer.
For an earlier novel of Chenelle’s, I believe that it was a great early novel. While there were some pacing issues that I had with the novel myself, I don’t think it took away from the story as a whole. A lot of the main action took place towards the ending of the novel, and I think I was more intrigued with that part of the story than the other parts. However, I do think that seeing Eliza and Milo on their own for a time was interesting because we were able to see how they would fare on their own in a dangerous world. Even though they weren’t alone in Involutia itself, they still had to learn how to battle, protect others and themselves in a strange land.
For the amount of time that we do get to see Milo and Eliza on their own, I feel like they were able to grow a bit on their own. Eliza was able to see how the effects of the events of Involutia hundreds of years ago left an impression on others like elves and their mistrust of humans. Milo was able to bond with other young men like him and come together to protect their land – even if it wasn’t his to begin with. When they came back together on their journey, they were able to learn how to read each other and trust each other more than they ever did before. Even with the professor as a wildcard factor throughout the entire journey, with a lost memory and seemingly sporadic mood swings, the story came together in the end.
I would say that one of my main issues with the book – and this is more for me personally – is how much Milo would focus on Eliza’s physical appearance. Legs, cleavage, legs, cleavage. I understand that he is somewhat young, and yes I’m sure that Eliza has a beautiful body especially since she’s athletic, but it also made me wonder whether or not it really was love that he had for Eliza for as long as he believed, or if he was just infatuated by her beauty. While it may have started off as a physical reaction, I believe that Chenelle was able to show the growth and development of what real budding love could be.
I’ve heard such great things about the audiobook from other reviews, and I’m curious to listen to it! Again, this is another Chenelle book that I enjoyed and I believe that others will enjoy it as well.