Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Sapphire Flute
Take a blue flute, a white wolf, a green-eyed girl, and a black-hearted villain, throw them all together in a broken world with plenty of mayhem and you have the Sapphire Flute by Karen Hoover. In her debut YA fantasy novel, Hoover begins the tale of Ember Shandae, a young girl breaking free to follow her dreams, and Kayla Kalandra Felandian, a debutante forced to leave her dreams behind to fulfill the call of destiny. As expected these two girls run into adventure and Kayla even meets the arch villain C'Tan, who is determined to stop them both.
Hoover does a good job of relating authentic family struggles in Ember's storyline. She alternates between Kayla's and Ember's perspectives with a few dips into C'Tan's point of view. However, don't let the cover fool you, the meeting of the storylines is not destined to occur in this first book of 'The Wolfchild Saga.'
I love fantasy and have always been a fan of romance. Having read some of Karen Hoover's award winning first chapters from her works in progress, I couldn't wait to get my hands on her debut novel. While her adventurous prologue captured me immediately, the switch to Kayla's storyline felt stilted and awkward. This impression stayed with me throughout the book. I just felt Kayla's storyline lacked the depth and fluidity of the Ember Shandae plot line.
Both girls have great potential and Hoover sets the foundation for an interesting series in this first book, however, it is clearly a first book. Be prepared to wait for the second installment. The good news is that “The Sapphire Flute” is the first of a series of seven novels. Valor plans to publish a new book in the series each spring.
Teens and fantasy readers will find interesting magic and a creative mythology in this book and readers of all ages will find appropriate content. It is a fun, safe read in a market where that is not always the case in YA fiction. Both girls face difficult decisions morally and ethically. Though they are not perfect, they learn from each mistep and are supported in each right choice.
Find out more about Karen Hoover at her blog and for more information on The Sapphire Flute see the Valor Publishing website.