Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Radiant (The Towers Trilogy #1) by Karina Sumner Smith

Release Date: October, 7th

Arc provided by Talos Press through Edelweiss

Radiant ups the game in the dystopian and post-apocalyptic story telling, joining the top authors with the most imaginative and well written stories on the subject.
Fans of Susan Ee's Penryn and the End of Days series will probably love this!

Radiant is such an amazing and complex story that I am afraid I won't be able to do it justice with my poor and basic review. In fact I'm fighting the urge to only say something as inane as: Wow...and wow...and go read it...and can I say wow again?

With traces of dystopia, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic (and I don't even know how to categorize the living, sentient AI (?) parts), horror (get ready for some zombie like creatures...) this is basically a story about survival and friendship. Of holding on to something, to someone who is finally there for you, and who won't leave you no matter what.
Not even dead.

With a background of abandonment and neglect, fifteen year old Xhea lives as best as she can on Lower City.
In a world in which magic is the most powerful bargain in the world, Xhea barely scraps a life for herself, not having any magic of her own.
The Lower City part of her world, is where people with little magic _or as in her case, no magic at all_ survive amongst rubble and decay.

By contrast, in the sky, in the City, there are the Towers, floating islands of wealth and privilege, in which people with the greatest magical abilities live.
These towers are fuelled by their inhabitants' magic... and especially by some very important people called Radiants.
Radiants are like magic generators. They have so much magic inside them that it can literally kill them.

Now, magic in Xhea's world is as natural as breathing: 
Magic gives you the magical signature you need in order to live a normal life. It allows you to buy everything you need by magically engraving coins with the value of their worth.
For Xhea, not having it, means accepting payments of small value that only children can use, or having to be as dependent on someone's good will to imbue her coins with someone else's magical signature...
Like I said, this is a complex world, and it takes a little while to get used to it. Maybe because it is so different of what we're used to! (at least in my case!) And that's a good thing!

This story is so different, so amazingly outstanding, and so prone to make our small grey cells work, that after awhile I'm telling you: You'll be like a fish on a hook. A very shinning and appetizing hook!
You won't be able to resist it!
So, please, please, just persevere and keep reading it, it will blow your mind!!
Of course, I wouldn't say "nay" to a glossary at the beginning of the book. :)

So, Xhea, an outcast in her own world, someone used to live as a city rat, has however a strong ability:
She can see ghosts.
So when one day a man approaches her, carrying with him a girl's ghost, Xhea's life will never be the same.
Shai is unlike any ghost Xhea has ever seen and, after awhile, these two very different girls start becoming friends.
But Shai has a very important role to play in her society despite being dead, and there are people who won't stop at anything until they get her back.

With cunning political intrigue, and moral dilemmas thrown into this plot, Xhea and Shai will have to rely on one another, and trust in their friendship to survive their ordeal.

As you can read, there's no romance in this story. *YAY!*
That means that if you're like I used to be, until about five years ago, a person that needed a romance thrown into the story to feel that things weren't too boring, then this book isn't for you... now.
In a couple of years _take my word_  you'll love it.

If... however, you like strong and intelligent characters, are sick and tired of cheesy romances, and are over and done with love triangles/quadrangles/... whatever, then this book is most definitely for you!

The plot is unlike any other I've ever read, and it kept me anxiously turning the pages to figure out what was going to happen next! The action and the visual setting that it gives us is so unique, that it is bound to make your head spin!
But if you're afraid that this is only about non stop action, forget about it!
This book deals with some strong abandonment issues. This means that the emotional part is as strong as the action one.
Xhea as been through so much in her life that you just want to give the girl a hug.
If she would let you.

You know... up until a couple months ago, reading arcs had the interesting development of steering me away from books that I would not, NOT, ever buy in my lifetime, because they were that bad!
Now, it has just the opposite effect! Because this is most definitely a book that I'll want to have in my bookshelf!
Go Read It!!

p.s- And luckily it appears that the second volume, Defiant, is going to be released in May 2015!! :)
Now I just have to get my hands on the author's short stories, and try to figure out which of them garnered a Nebula nomination!

Pre-order Radiant (With Free Wide World Delivery!)


  1. I can see you really enjoyed the book and I got excited by the way you talked but I don't really like post-apocalyptic worlds.
    "Of holding on to something, to someone who is finally there for you, and who won't leave you no matter what. Not even dead" - I really loved this part.
    It sounds interesting but I'm not sure I want to read it
    And I don't believe that a story is only "good" with romance. I must say I really don't like love triangles

  2. Yes, I really enjoyed this story. It was extremely well written and told..
    Well it is a apocalyptic word with traces of sci-fi, fantasy and magic in it.
    Have you read Angelfall?

    I understand.
    When I was younger, for me, if a story didn't have romance in it, I probably wouldn't read it. Now it is more likely to be the other way around...although I love to read great stories that have great plots, and with engaging romances. Different books, different styles.
    I like variety in my reads.
    Love triangles are a bore fest :/

    Regarding this story, Radiant?
    Maybe I am mistaken, but something tells me that there is going to be a romance in the next book.


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