This is a review of Karen E. Hoover's book Two Souls are Better than One, Book one in the Adventures of a Teenage Wizard series. Reading this book was a new experience for me because, for one, I don't read YA Fantasy. Ever. Secondly, this was my first experience reading on a Kindle. I haven't even wanted one. I like the heft of a book in my hand, the tactile feel of paper, even the smell of a book. However, I needed a copy right away, so I borrowed my husband's Kindle and took the plunge.
I found this a positive experience with both the Kindle and the fantasy. It took me a while to get drawn into caring about what was happening to a teenage boy, but when I was hooked, reading became a pleasure rather than a chore.
I won't try to outline the plot, as it's convoluted, twisted, intricate and full of cliffhangers. At the core, it's about the battle between good and evil and about a boy, Jeremy (also known as JJ), rescuing his father who has been taken prisoner in a parallel universe.
What worked for me:
I'll say this for Karen Hoover, she has an inventive mind. JJ no more than saves himself from one tight spot than he is thrust into another.
The title, Two Souls are Better than One (I'll call it TSABTO for convenience) was enegmatic to me at first, but fit the premise of JJ sharing his body with a Mage (singular of Magi). The souls of both are imprisoned in the teenager's body. This premise makes for lots of physical and verbal humor.
TSABTO is written in first person, and Hoover's voice is spot on for a teenager.
What didn't work for me--very nit-picky. Almost insignificant. I hate to even mention them.
First, the flying car incident wasn't explained as to how it was possible. Every other bit of magic or unexpected ability or happening was explained very well, except for how the car happened to take on almost personality and superpowers. I kept waiting for it, because Hoover had done such a good job of making everything else believable--as much as a fantasy can be believable, anyway. But, it's a short passage and the flying car isn't pivotal. Like I said, nit-picky.
The other thing that pulled me out several times was the improper use of the verb "to lie," meaning to recline and the verb "to lay," meaning to place or situate. I'm the lie/lay lady in my critique group, and I'm sensitive when the wrong verb is used. However, it's such a common error that I fear the day may soon come when the words will be used interchangeably, and probably few readers would be pulled out as I, the nit-picky one, was.
This would be a great book to read aloud to kids. I can just picture stopping at the end of a chapter and having everyone moan and beg for just one more chapter so they can find out what happens next. I can visualize that because I was doing the same thing.
Two Souls are Better Than One is available in several e-formats at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/110865
You can find it in Nook format at Barnes and Noble, as well and for Kindle at Amazon. Wherever you buy the E-book, you'll find it a bargain at less than $3.
For those traditional souls like me who love the tactile feel of a real book, Two Souls are Better than One is available in paper-and-ink format at Amazon.
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